FAA Puts The Kibosh On Thirsty Ice Fishermen’s Dreams By Banning Beer Delivery Drones

Have you ever been ice fishing? There you are, out on the frozen expanse, huddled in a shack and focuses all your attention on a hole in the ice. Well, half your attention. The other half is all about talking to your friends and throwing back a beer. But one local brewery got in a spot of trouble for trying to make the beer part easier with a drone that delivered frosty cold drinks right to your ice fishing shack.

The Federal Aviation Administration frowns on people sending out their own drones into the skies, but the owners of Lakemaid Beer figured they were just doing thirsty fishermen a favor by ferrying drinks through the air so they wouldn’t have to leave their toasty shacks.

The company — which calls itself the fishermen’s lager — had just started the local deliveries near Stevens Point, Wis., but the Minnesota-based company had its eye on a bigger slice of the ice fishing pie, reports NPR’s The Two Way. It’d hoped to use the drones to shuttle beer to ice shacks from bait and beer shops all over the wintry north.

Though it had only recently arrived in the skies, the FAA told the company its drones had to be grounded afer this first test.

“We were a little surprised at the FAA interest in this since we thought we were operating under the 400-foot limit,” one of Lakemaid’s managing partners said. Everyone at the company “figured a vast frozen lake was a lot safer place than [what] Amazon was showing on 60 Minutes.”

Drones aren’t allowed for commercial delivery, however, and as such the brewery can’t go on with its plans to use American airspace to bring thirsty fishermen (and woman, don’t you doubt it) a cold one.

The FAA told Lakemaid in an email that it “recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding” that their actions are legal. But those rules only apply to people flying model airplanes.

The partner says he can see where the FAA is coming from (until someone from the FAA goes ice fishing and runs out of beer).

“I understand their concern,” he says. “Drones whizzing around piloted by any knucklehead is probably not the Jetsons future we all imagined.”

Watch the test video below:


Beer Drone Can Buzz The Skies No More, FAA Says [The Two Way]

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  1. CommonC3nts says:

    If they formally apply for a airworthy certificate they should get it.
    The FAA would have no reason to not allow them to do this over the frozen lake area. There is few things to run into or to hit.

    Also, they knew they could not do this legally and just played dumb. The FAA has been 100% clear on this since the early 90s. Any business that wants to fly drones must apply for FAA airworthiness and then the FAA will review and approve if their craft is safe enough and for flying in areas where they feel it is safe to operate.

    Some businesses that have the certificate to operate are realtors who use drones to take arial photos of property. I believe so far there is less than 1,000 permits issued so either the FAA denies alot of them or not that many people actually applied for them so far.

    Congress is going to force the FAA to create standard rules and critera for commercial drones to get permits because as of right now every permit is 100% unique and the FAA can approve one and deny another when they both are the same.

    • Xenotaku says:

      There’s always the problem, though, in that this is alcohol, which is prohibited to anyone under 21. How do they prove that the person the drone is delivering to is legally allowed to buy/possess/drink the alcohol? I can’t see the FAA approving this group’s.