Press Releases

Warner Applauds Success of FAA-Approved Drone Delivery of Medical Supplies

Free health clinic in Wise County received first-ever federally-approved drone delivery of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies

Jul 17 2015

WASHINGTON – Today, some underserved Virginia patients were among the first to be officially helped by drone delivery to a medical clinic in Wise County.

In accordance with research flight plans authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a full-sized aircraft operated by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton and hexacopters operated by Flirtey Inc., a drone startup company, delivered pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies to the annual Remote Area Medical outdoor free clinic in Wise County.

“Today’s successful delivery was a win for Virginia's test site, and a landmark moment for the unmanned systems industry,” said Sen. Warner. “These flights highlight the humanitarian possibilities of this technology and I'm looking forward to additional successes that will position Virginia as a leader in this burgeoning field.”

Sen. Warner has long advocated for the testing and development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technology, having worked with his Virginia and Maryland colleagues to urge federal officials to select the mid-Atlantic region to host a UAS test range for researching the safest and most effective ways to incorporate UAS into the existing airspace. The UAS test site at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg – one of six such sites across the country – became operational last year. The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech oversaw today’s FAA-approved test flights as part of an event called “Let's Fly Wisely.”

In his support to establish Virginia as a center for development of this burgeoning technology, Sen. Warner also believes that we can improve integration of UAS, or drones, into the nation’s airspace through a focus on new safety technologies.  Sen. Warner recently urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to take a leading role to defend sensitive airspaces against possible threats posed by rogue UAS.