Matternet M2 quadcopter
With Part 135 approval in hand, UPS can fly an unlimited number of drones and can fly them at night.

UPS Gets OK To Deliver With Drones

UPS Flight Forward has received the first full FAA Standard Part 135 air carrier and operator certificate for commercial unmanned deliveries by a dedicated drone delivery company, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao recently announced. Certificate in hand, UPS made the first revenue flight with it using a Matternet M2 quadcopter late last week. UPS’s certificate permits the company to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of remote operators in command, enabling the company to scale demand, operate aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds, and fly at night.

UPS received the certificate via the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP). It allows the company to operate multiple drones under a single certificate and conduct beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flights. UPS initially plans to use drones to deliver high-priority medical supplies on the WakeMed healthcare campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company is partnering with the North Carolina Department of Transportation in the IPP. UPS said the company will “initially expand its drone delivery service further to support hospital campuses around the country and to provide solutions for customers beyond those in the healthcare industry” and will “regularly fly drones beyond the operators’ visual line of sight.”

“This is a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina, and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Program to maintain American leadership in unmanned aviation,” said Chao.