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FAA kills Amazon’s dream of drone deliveries

Memo from FAA boss bans the use of drones for commercial purposes until further notice.


The idea that drones may be the delivery trucks of the future has been put on hold, for now.

In a memo published by the US Federal Aviation Administration this week, the agency’s chief administrator said drones and hobbyist aircraft are prohibited from being used for commercial purposes.

“Any operation not conducted strictly for hobby or recreation purposes could not be operated under the special rule for model aircraft. Clearly, commercial operations would not be hobby or recreation flights,” the memo reads. “Likewise, flights that are in furtherance of business, or incidental to a person’s business, would not be a hobby or recreation flight.”

The memo specifically targets drone delivery, as  “delivering of packages to people for a fee” is prohibited.

Ars Technica, which published the memo first, reports that commercial operation of drones has been illegal since 2007. However, the FAA has said that it is reviewing its rules and will formally update them in 2015.

Model Aircraft Spec Rule

Amazon, for its part, does not believe the memo pertains to it.

In a statement Amazon said that the FAA ruling only pertains to model and hobbyist aircraft — which is how Amazon’s may be categorized legally speaking — and not to its aircraft.

“The FAA filing 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 said.

Regardless of whether the FAA finds Amazon’s drone delivery service to be legal or not, the company’s drones won’t be taking to the skies anytime soon.

Via: Ars Technica

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