The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the initial test flight of a NASA-operated unmanned aircraft system and a drone designed to deliver medical supplies to a remote medical clinic in Wise County, Virginia.
NASA said Saturday the research flights involved the use of its Cirrus SR-22 UAS and a Flirtey-built hexacopter drone and were conducted Friday as part of Virginia Tech’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.
A team at NASA’s Virginia-based Langley Research Center remotely piloted the SR-22 from a ground station toward the Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise County, where a crew from startup firm Flirtey separated the medications and other medical supplies into two dozen packages in order for its drone to deliver the supplies to the clinic.
“This first unmanned aerial delivery gave us the chance to do some critical research and mission exploration with our Cirrus SR-22,” said Frank Jones, deputy director of Research Services Directorate at Langley.
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia), Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands were among the officials who attended the Let’s Fly Wisely event.
Let’s Fly Wisely is a research initiative of Langley Research Center that aims to promote and incorporate the use of unmanned planes into the national airspace system.