Cargo Carrier Gets Drone Delivery Approval


Cargo airline Ameriflight has been given the go-ahead by the FAA to integrate drones into its operations and says it will soon be offering drone deliveries throughout the U.S. “Moving forward with the future of our newly operative UAS division allows us to expand into a largely untapped delivery market with a lot of room for speed and safety logistic improvements,” said company owner Jim Martell. The drones will be used to drop off high-priority shipments of small packages in urban and suburban areas. The first shipments will be medical samples and pharmaceuticals.

The company says the drone operation is an expansion and will not affect the crewed side of the business, which uses about 100 aircraft. The drones are made by Matternet and will be controlled from a central facility. The drones were type certified by the FAA in September of 2022 after a four-year review. The quadcopter can carry 4.4 pounds about 12 miles and is in constant contact with the central control facility and cloud-based software system that creates all the routing and flight profiles. It’s not a beta test. “This partnership enables us to offer our customers turnkey access to fast and reliable on-demand delivery capabilities today. This is not a test program or a future deployment concept—this is the real, scalable, and safe drone-based solution that customers are looking for.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I assume that they will have ADS-B out?
    Just curious how we will tell which “drug delivery” drones in urban areas are legal drug deliveries.

  2. I don’t know. I’m sure it has all been carefully scoped out. But I just don’t see what a 12 mile, 4 pound max load drone can do that a delivery van couldn’t do. Ask Prime.

  3. 12 mile in straight line vs roads is usually shorter. One person “driving” several deliveries simultaneously vs one per truck.

  4. Great now when I order my lunch online it will still be warm when it gets here.

    We have become a society of instant gratification. Go to any hobby store (if you can find one) and try to find an airplane KIT. If it’s not RTF people don’t want it. Like a 2 year old saying I WANT IT NOW.
    I for one am worried about ADSB in on planes due to making people NOT look out the window. I fly two planes one with ADSB one without and like to fly into uncontrolled airports so please look out the window for planes like mine, we are out there and now with drones also buzzing around it’s getting to be scarier.