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Amazon announced on June 13th 2022 that it is preparing to start deliveries of its retail products to its US customers by drone.1 The first areas chosen are Lockeford, in California, and College Station, in Texas.2
Amazon said that after receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Lockeford officials, it would launch its drone delivery service using their 'MK27-2' drones in Lockeford and scale it based on customer feedback. Amazon said it's already been working with the FAA and has acquired an air carrier certificate. Basically, this means it's run almost like an airline.
Note that Amazon is one of only three companies given air carrier certificates by the FAA to operate drone deliveries, the other two being Walmart and Alphabet Wing Aviation (owned by the same parent company as Google).
This is an important milestone in drone technology, and a gamechanger when it comes to logistics for package delivery to consumers... In fact, the logistics industry is abuzz with all-things drones these days.
Let's dive deeper into how Amazon Prime Air is doing this and what we know about their drones and their drone operations... I'll also make predictions about how delivery drones zooming overhead will become a ubiquitous reality for all of us by 2025.
2021-06-07 21:15 (Edited 2022-07-28 08:32)
In Canada and the USA and most other jurisdictions (the European Union being the only big exclusion), Small drones (weighing at least 250 grams) must be registered and flying them requires a pilot certificate. That's why the market has been innundated with "Micro drones" ( 249 grams and below). Simply said, pilots of micro-drones are not bound by the same requirements as other drones, however there is an expectation that the pilot of a micro-drone use good judgment, identify potential hazards, and take all necessary steps to avoid any risks associated with flying your drone.
So does that mean you can fly your micro-drone safely near people or property?
Or maybe you're a small drone pilot that is certified to fly your drone near people (e.g. you're in Canada and you have a pilot certificate in Advanced Operations and your small drone is certified by Transport Canada for such operations)?
In this blog post, I propose the right attitude and the right approach to making this key decision, as well as key considerations all drone pilots should be aware of when deciding to fly their drones near people or property...