Amazon Closer to Delivery by Drone | Courthouse News Service
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Amazon Closer to Delivery by Drone

(CN) - can begin experimental air testing of its unmanned, commercial delivery drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Its subsidiary Amazon Logistics was issued an experimental airworthiness certificate on Thursday for research, development and crew training.

The company announced its Amazon Prime Air service two years ago, feeding speculation that packages would be delivered by a fleet of drones.

"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 FAA said in a statement. "The (drones) 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."

Amazon must provide monthly data to the FAA, reporting the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight and any unusual hardware or software malfunctions.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

The certification comes a year after a National Transportation Safety Board judge ruled that the FAA lacks authority over unmanned, commercial drones .

The FAA sued photographer Raphael Pirker and sought a $10,000 fine after he flew an unmanned model glider around the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 2011. Pirker had been hired to take overhead video and photographs for the college's medical school advertisements.

Judge Patrick Geraghty concluded the FAA's 2007 ban is not binding law on the public. He noted the FAA Modernization Re-Authorization and Reform Act, which Congress passed in 2012, reflected that no effective laws on drones were in place at the time.

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