The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken what it calls a crucial step to enabling the expanded delivery of packages by drones with the publication of airworthiness criteria for the proposed certification of 10 drones as special class aircraft.
The FAA said in late November that the 10 sets of airworthiness criteria, published in in the Federal Register, provide for a safety level equivalent to that required by existing standards for the airworthiness of other categories of aircraft.
Dr. Michael C. Romanowski, the FAA’s director of aircraft certification service policy and innovation, added, “The development of airworthy, durable, and reliable unmanned aircraft is a crucial step forward for this innovative sector. Type certification will help increase both public and regulatory confidence in drone technology as operations become more advanced.”
The airworthiness criteria apply to drones manufactured by 3D Robotics, Airobotics, Amazon, Flirtey, Flytrex Matternet, Percepto, Telegrid, Wingcopter and Zipline.
The affected drones range in weight from 5 lb to 89 lb (2.3 kg to 40.4 kg). All vehicles are electric, and they include both fixed wing and rotorcraft drones.
The FAA emphasized that publication of the standards is “a step in the certification process and does not imply these applicants have earned type certificates. Final determination of whether a specific drone meets FAA safety requirements will occur after the applicant demonstrates they have complied with these requirements.”
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