FAA grounds beer drone that would have served ice fishers in Minnesota and Wisconsin

“Our concern is the safety of people on the ground and the safety of people in the air,” says FAA spokeswoman.
By Evan Bleier   |   Jan. 31, 2014 at 10:43 AM   |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has grounded a beer drone that a brewery was hoping to use to deliver beer to ice fisherman on lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Lakemaid Beer Drone was inspired by Amazon's announcement about its plan to use drones to deliver packages, and the plan had really gotten off the ground before the FAA stepped in.

“Our tests are on vast, wide-open frozen lakes free of trees and power lines. Our drone can fly as the crow flies, straight to our target…It’s the perfect proving ground for drone delivery,” Lakemaid Beer president Jack Supple said in a release. “Our initial tests on several mid-size lakes have been very successful. We’re looking forward to testing the range of our drones on larger lakes.”

Supple tested his drone by plugging in GPS coordinates and getting it to deliver orders. When a video of the unmanned craft at work went viral, he was contacted by the FAA and emailed “a stack of documents that broke his printer.”

“Our concern is the safety of people on the ground and the safety of people in the air,” FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory told the Star Tribune.

The FAA is expected to create new regulations about commercial drone usage by 2015.

“I see what they’re talking about. When you think of all of the people who are going to come up with ways to use these, the regulation of it is going to be important, so they’re learning as fast as we are,” Supple said.

[Star Tribune]
[Lakemaid Beer]

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