The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Wing Aviation LLC as the first delivery drone operator in the US by certifying the Alphabet-owned company as a commercial airline.
The announcement came after months of implementing safety measures at the recommendation of the FAA. Before they could be certified as an airline, Wing was required to write safety manuals and training routines as well as develop a safety hierarchy. The process for commercial drone approval is expected to be significantly quicker for future companies, however, since the FAA has now established which guidelines drone companies must adhere to.
Wing, which began as an offshoot of Google, plans to start making deliveries to rural Virginia towns in the next few months. Currently, Wing has approval to deliver goods from local businesses to communities in Christiansburg and Blacksburg. However, Wing may be able to expand its services to other areas with the FAA’s approval.
Can Drones Transport Hazmat?
With the FAA’s approval for the first commercial drones, the next question on our minds is, “What can drones transport exactly?” For now, it seems drones won’t be carrying hazmat at least. According to the FAA’s Final Rule addition to the 14 CFR on June 28, 2016, “No carriage of hazardous materials” shall be permitted via drone.
So, if you see a drone overhead, rest assured that it won’t be carrying hazmat anytime soon.
IATA Training for Hazmat Air Shippers
If you need to ship hazmat by air, it seems a traditional airplane is still your best bet! Be confident you know the latest IATA DGR rules for hazmat air shipments at the Hazardous Materials Air Shipper Certification Workshop. Covering the latest IATA requirements, this workshop will help you build on your 49 CFR knowledge to master the unique, additional rules for hazmat air shipments.
Workshops are starting May 8 in Chicago, Dallas, Boston, and more! Can’t make the workshop? Check out all of your IATA air shipper options—like a 24/7 online course and a live, instructor-led webinar.