FAA Clears Amazon To Start Testing Delivery Drone Flights

amazonprimeair2Amazon is getting one step closer to the company’s dream of delivering packages by air, as the Federal Aviation Administration has given the company the go-ahead to start testing drones outside.

The FAA issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to Amazon Logistics, Inc., for what it calls an “unmanned aircraft design” that the company will use for research and development of its proposed Amazon Prime Air service, as well as crew training, the FAA says.

Lest anyone thinks drones will just start whizzing through the sky willynilly, there are some restrictions and conditions set in the certificate that Amazon must abide by in testing its fliers: All flights must stay below 400 feet and happen during the daylight, in clear skies.

The drone has to stay within the pilot’s line of sight at all times, as well as an observer. And whoever is flying the aircraft has to have at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.

From here, Amazon will have to provide monthly data about its test to the FAA, reporting the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers’ instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links.

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