gets FAA clearance to test Prime Air


WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to an Amazon Logistics unmanned aircraft design that the company will use for research and development and crew training. 


The ruling breathes new life into's proposed 30-minute Prime Air drone delivery option that had been grounded in February following an FAA proposed framework of regulations governing small unmanned aircraft systems. 


Under the provisions of the certificate, all flight operations must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours in visual meteorological conditions. The UAS must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer. The pilot actually flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.


These provisions fall within FAA's proposed framework of regulations issued earlier this year. 


The certificate also requires Amazon to provide monthly data to the FAA. The company must report the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers’ instructions and any unintended loss of communication links. 


The FAA includes these reporting requirements in all UAS experimental airworthiness certificates, the FAA stated.


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