“It’s not like were just cutting 30 or 40 drones loose and sending them out to attack people you know”
February 13, 2014
A floral company preparing a new drone-delivery service in Michigan was shut down by the Federal Aviation Authority this week after the agency discovered the shop’s test flight on YouTube.
Wesley Barry, CEO of Flower Delivery Express, carried out the company’s first successful test flight Saturday afternoon, sending flowers from the Wesley Barry Flower Shop in Commerce Township to a customer’s home more than half a mile away.
“The company is recruiting for their consumer focus groups to beta test drone delivery services,” a statement on the company’s YouTube channel reads. “Participants will receive products for free and, at, or below cost products in exchange for providing valuable feedback that will help drive future floral products and services.”
Shortly after the video was posted, the FAA contacted Barry and ordered all drones to be grounded immediately, pointing to current regulations that ban commercial drone use.
“We did get call today from the FAA and we talked to them, and we really have to fully digest what they said,” Barry said. “And, to be honest with you, I’m a little unclear of what they said.”
In an official statement to Fox 2 News, the FAA defended their decision, stating that Barry would have to meet specific criteria in order to use any drones, noting that only one company has ever done so successfully.
“Commercial operations are only authorized on a case-by-case basis. A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval,” the FAA said. “To date, only one operation has met these criteria, using Insitu’s ScanEagle, and authorization was limited to the Arctic.”
Although Barry believed the flights would be legal due to the fact that they would merely be test runs, not directly part of his company’s commercial operation, he confirmed that he would work with the FAA in order to reach an agreement.
“I’m not doing anything that’s hurting anybody you know, and were closely observing it and it’s a test scenario,” Barry said. “It’s not like were just cutting 30 or 40 drones loose and sending them out to attack people you know.”
Just last month, a Wisconsin-based beer company attempting similar drone deliveries was shut down by the FAA as well, also discovered by a YouTube video.
While few American’s would argue against having some rules pertaining to private drone use over US skies, unsurprisingly, the FAA seems to have little worry over the government’s.
Several police departments across the country have publicly announced their support for arming drones with rubber bullets and tear gas, although the FAA has said little about each incident.
While the FAA seems unwilling to address these real issues, states across the country are taking action. Most recently, representatives in Washington state introduced two pieces of legislation to protect citizens from government and private drone surveillance.
This post originally appeared at Story Leak