Today’s event, called Let’s Fly Wisely, marked the first FAA approved delivery of medical supplies by drone in the U.S.
This research mission was overseen by the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, one of only six groups across the U.S. that won FAA approval to conduct Unmanned Aerial System research at sites across Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland. MAPP is headquartered at Virginia Tech’s Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Sciences.
The mission began when NASA Langley Research Center flew about twenty prescriptions from Tazewell County Airport to the Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise, Va., in an SR22 aircraft. The plane was operated remotely, but had a pilot on board for backup and safety purposes.
The prescriptions were then transferred into smaller packages, flown in 10-pound drones provided by Australian company Flirtey Inc. and delivered to the Remote Area Medical tent at the Wise County Fairgrounds. Remote Area Medical has served the people of Wise County for more than 15 years.
This project demonstrates one of the humanitarian outcomes of UAS technology could include delivery of medical supplies to underserved or remote areas.
Flirtey Inc. Founder and CEO Matt Sweeney called this a “Kitty Hawk moment” for Wise County and the UAS industry.
The success of this event and its location in the Commonwealth furthers Virginia’s leadership position in the aerospace industry. To learn why more than 260 aerospace companies have chosen to operate in Virginia, click here.
Governor McAuliffe holds one of the first medical prescriptions delivered by drone in the U.S. at the Let’s Fly Wisely event in Wise, Va. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech College of Engineering.