Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), commonly known as drones, have become increasingly popular in a number of industries, and now the United Parcel Service (UPS) has started to test drone deliveries.
And, although the company stated that drones have a long way to go before they replace truck deliveries, this could be an important step in the commercialization of drones.
UPS plans to mainly use drones to make deliveries in areas that are otherwise hard to reach. For example, the company recently used a drone to deliver an inhaler to an island 3 miles off the Atlantic coast.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently released regulations to govern the use of UASs for commercial purposes:
- Drone operators must maintain a visual line of sight with their drones.
- Drones cannot fly within 5 miles of an airport, and must remain clear of all manned aircraft and obstacles.
- Drones must fly below a height of 400 feet above ground level and weigh 55 pounds or less.
- Operators cannot fly a drone over anyone who is not directly participating in the drone’s operation.
- Commercial drone operators need a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating, or they must be under the direct supervision of a person who holds such a certificate.
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