The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to an Amazon Logistics, Inc. unmanned aircraft (UAS) design that the company will use for research and development and crew training.
The FAA typically issues experimental certificates to manufacturers and technology developers to operate UAS, otherwise known as drones, that do not have a type certificate. A 'type certificate' is something issued by the FAA to signify the airworthiness of an aircraft manufacturing design.
Under the provisions of the certificate, all flight operations must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours in visual meteorological conditions.
Additionally, the UAS must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer, and the pilot actually flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot's certificate and current medical certification.
The certificate also requires Amazon to provide monthly data to the FAA. The company must report the number of test 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.
Last month, the FAA proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small UAS in today's aviation system.