FAA approves drone testing

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Online retailer  Amazon has been issued an experimental airworthiness certificate by the US government’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for research and development into unmanned aircraft, also known as drones.

The FAA says the test must take place under 400 feet altitude, during daylight hours. The drone must remain within the line-of-sight (LOS) of the pilot and observer, while the pilot must have at least a private pilot certificate and a medical certificate. Under the test programme, Amazon must provide monthly data to the FAA and must report issues such as hardware and software malfunctions, deviations from air traffic controller instructions and unintended loss of communication links. Neither Amazon nor the FAA were able to provide Air Cargo Week with more information about the testing.

The FAA has established an interim policy to speed up authorisation of commercial drones with section 333 exemptions. The 333 exemptions apply to aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds (25 kilogrammes), operating during the daytime, within LOS.

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