First Drone Earns FAA Type Certificate


The Matternet M2 has become the first non-military unmanned aircraft system (UAS/drone) to earn its FAA type certificate. In an announcement on Wednesday, drone delivery system developer Matternet stated that the M2 underwent four years of evaluation by the FAA prior to certification. The company noted that the M2, along with several other drone models, has been used in the U.S. for Part 135 on-demand air carrier operations under an exemption while being evaluated.

“This is a victory for not only Matternet, but for the whole UAS industry as it indicates a maturing of the industry and a shift away from exemptions and waivers towards more standard regulation,” said Jim O’Sullivan, Matternet vice president of regulatory strategy. “Matternet would like to thank the FAA, as well as our advisors at End State Solutions.”

The Matternet M2 is designed to carry payloads of up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) and 4 liters over distances of up to 20 kilometers (12.5 miles). The company partnered with UPS to launch the first revenue drone delivery operations in the U.S. in 2019. As previously reported by AVweb, the FAA published airworthiness criteria for the proposed certification of ten unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drone) models, including Matternet’s M2, in 2020.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I can envision using UAS’s in rural and exurban environments, in limited usage. But not in cities, especially with high rise apartments and office buildings. As for areas with single family and town homes, I’d prefer not to see these things operating.
    I don’t think that most people want more intrusions into their spaces.
    As evidence, just look at car ads: the vehicles are always seen driving in gorgeous country roads with no other vehicles present, and secondarily on urban streets totally devoid of other traffic and congestion.
    While I look up to see if I can identify the occasional GA aircraft that might fly by, I in no way wish to see anything more than a rare, as in maybe once a week, UAS fly by anywhere near me.

  2. Four years to evaluate a glorified toy? What did this cost taxpayers? No wonder our local drone operator certification instructor says the industry is way ahead of the FAA. If they stay below 400 feet and away from airports there should be no problem. It’s been that way for decades with R/C modellers and there have rarely been issues with aircraft. Bird strikes must be far, far more common and we can’t regulate where they fly.