Amazon Prime Air Becomes Third Drone Delivery Company in the U.S., No Plans Shared Yet on When It Will Launch


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Big news on the drone delivery front—the FAA recently issued Amazon Prime Air a Part 135 certificate for drone delivery, making it the third company in the U.S. to have official FAA approval for conducting drone deliveries in the U.S.

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Prime Air joins Alphabet's Wing and UPS' Flight Forward in receiving this coveted certification, allowing it to operate as a drone airline. 

Despite getting the Part 135, Amazon has yet to share specific plans for when it will launch drone delivery services, saying only that it plans to do more testing.

Read this article to learn more about Prime Air's Part 135 certification and the current drone delivery landscape in the U.S.

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What I'd like to know is how the FAA intends to dictate separation between deliveries, Part 107 flights, and recreational flights. See and avoid is fine for plane sized objects but say a Part 107 pilot is filming and a Prime Drone comes buzzing in at 40 miles per hour right through your flight operation area. You won't have time to reasonably "see and avoid" Amazon's aircraft. 

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I still tend to feel that it will never prove to be a cost effective method of package delivery. The amount of money it would take to start and maintain a fleet of delivery drones would be tremendous. Batteries and engines will have to be replaced often and those costs are climbing more and more. Plus they will have to keep the traditional methods of delivery available for bad weather days. I just don't see it happening.

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Agreed with both of you @BuddyFriendly and @Cajun, the logistics still have to be figured out (Remote ID will help but that is really just about accountability, not dealing w/ the busy skies scenario BuddyFriendly is talking about). And Cajun, agreed that the math kind of seems dubious. It is really telling that Amazon isn't launching a delivery program right away after getting approval, and that the two other companies w/ approval haven't scaled aggressively. Drone delivery is fascinating, in my opinion, but it may never actually happen.

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