The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has reportedly nixed a brewery’s plan to use an unmanned aerial system (UAS) to deliver six-packs of its winter lager to ice-fishing shacks in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. According to media sources, Lakemaid Beer posted an online video advertising its drone delivery service, prompting FAA to notify the company that the scheme allegedly violates as many as five different regulations, “ranging from the operator’s rating to the use of airspace.”The agency apparently intends to issue regulations concerning the commercial use of drones in 2015, as larger companies like Amazon investigate the feasibility of UAS local delivery services.
Although Lakemaid has started a petition on WhiteHouse.gov asking FAA to issue an airworthiness certificate for its beer drones, the agency has since reiterated its decision to ground the program. “The FAA’s prime directive is safety,” an FAA spokesperson told The Hill. “While we are evaluating many potential uses of UAS as we move toward their safe integration into the nation’s airspace, commercial operation of such aircraft is not yet allowed. When we find out about an apparent commercial UAS operation, we have several different enforcement tools available, including a warning phone call, a warning letter and an order to cease operations.” See NPR, January 30, 2014; The Hill, February 5, 2014.