from Biz Journals
The Federal Aviation Administration released guidelines for recreational drone use this week, and at first it appeared the interpretation would put an end to Amazon’s proposed drone delivery plans.
Not so fast. Turns out, reports that the ruling affects Amazon’s plans were incorrect, including one in the PSBJ that has since been removed from our website.
“Monday’s interpretation applies only to the rules and guidance on operating model aircraft/unmanned aircraft for hobby or recreational purposes,” said Les Dorr, a spokesman for the FAA’s unmanned aircraft systems division.
The FAA’s ruling explained that using drones for business purposes doesn’t qualify as a hobby or as recreation, so it would require FAA authorization. The FAA authorizes commercial operations on a case-by-case basis, Dorr said, and right now commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed drone pilot and operating approval.
“To date, two operations have met these criteria and authorization was limited to the Arctic,” he said.
That means Seattle-based Amazon’s drone plans are still on, assuming the company can get the FAA to agree them. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has hired lobbyists to do just that and, as far-fetched as drone delivery may seem, it’s clear Amazon is serious about this.
Amazon was also quick to respond to the FAA’s ruling. The company sent me the following statement this morning:
“This is about hobbyists and model aircraft, not Amazon, and has no effect on our plans. Our plan has always been to operate as a commercial entity to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less through Amazon Prime Air and this has no effect on that.”
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been adamant that the company’s plan to deliver small packages via unmanned aerial vehicles isn’t science fiction and could be a reality sooner than people think.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com