The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has completed certification of UPS Flight Forward, a US-based drone operator, a division of the UPS courier company, in accordance with Part 135 of the Aviation Rules. According to Flightglobal, as a result of certification, the company received the official status of an unmanned air carrier, which is allowed to fly throughout the United States.
Part 135 of the United States Airline Rules describes the requirements for airlines that provide short-haul commercial transportation services, as well as arranging flights on request, rather than on a schedule. Traditionally, certification in accordance with this part of the aviation rules passed only airlines that organize mainly business transportation in the United States.
UPS Flight Forward is certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in accordance with part 135 on September 27, 2019. Now the company can carry out several unmanned flights simultaneously outside of line of sight, and for such flights it no longer needs to receive special permission – they can be carried out in a notification manner.
It should be noted that a similar certificate has a division of the American company Alphabet – Wing. This company also passed certification in accordance with part 135 of the aviation rules, but in its case, the validity of permits applies only to the city of Christiansburg in Virginia. Here, in test mode, the Wing delivery service works.
In March 2019, UPS Flight Forward launched a permanent drone lab and drug delivery line. The line operates in the city of Raleigh in North Carolina. Now, having received the status of an air carrier, the company plans to organize similar delivery lines in several other American cities.
The unmanned carrier uses Matternet M2 drones for delivery. They can carry payload weighing up to 2.3 kilograms at a distance of up to 20 kilometers. These devices are equipped with an emergency system for stopping electric motors and releasing a landing parachute. In the near future it is planned to equip them with collision avoidance systems in the air.
In the summer of this year, the American companies Uber Eats and ModalAI tested the drone with food delivery in urban conditions. The checks were carried out as part of a larger program of the US Federal Aviation Administration to develop systems for dispatching drone flights and to develop rules for finding drones in common airspace.