Amazon to begin testing its drone program after receiving ‘experimental airworthiness certificate’ by FAA

On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an ‘experimental airworthiness certificate’ to e-commerce company Amazon to test its drones under strict conditions.

The certificate will allow Amazon to test a delivery drone outdoors, as the company wants to deliver packages to customers by air.

The FAA has issued the certificate to an Amazon business unit and its prototype drone. The test flights are allowed to Amazon over private, rural land in Washington.

The drones can be tested near Seattle, where one of Amazon’s research and development labs is developing the technology.

However, Amazon has to abide by certain rules with the approval. The company can only operating flights at 400 feet (120m) or below in the daylight. However, the company has asked for permission to fly at altitudes up to 500 feet (150m).

The FAA said that the certificate seeks pilots to acquire a private pilot’s certificate, as well as medical certification. Amazon will have to supply monthly data, such as the number of flights conducted, to the regulators.

Furthermore, Amazon has to obtain a new certification in case it wants to modify the aircraft or wants it to fly in a different version.

Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has planned for a program dubbed ‘Prime Air’. Under the plan, Amazon is developing drones that can fly at speeds of 80km/h, operate autonomously and sense and avoid objects.