First Drone to Complete Medical Delivery Goes to the Smithsonian

April 29, 2016
The first drone to complete a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved delivery in the U.S. last year is was accepted to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

The first drone to complete a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved delivery in the U.S. last year is was accepted to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.  

The Flirtey F3.0 hexacopter was used to deliver medial supplies to the Remote Area Medical Clinic in Wise, West Virginia on July 17, 2015. 

"Conducting the first drone delivery in an urban setting is a major achievement, taking us closer to the day that drones make regular deliveries to your front doorstep,” said Matt Sweeny, CEO of Flirtey, in a 2015 news release. “Drone delivery by Flirtey is set to save lives and change lifestyles." 

Smithsonian currently has more than two dozen other unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the collection, and is now preparing this six-propeller drone for display. However, due to the number of items in the museums collection the drone won't make its debut right away.  

"Though no date for display has been set yet, the Flirtey hexacopter will eventually join other significant drones on public display at the museum to help demonstrate the remarkable ways in which this technology is shaping society today,” Alison Mitchell, museum public affairs specialist, told The Roanoke Times.  

The Nevada-based company, Flirtey, beat out several others in the race to be the first including, Amazon and Walmart.  

NASA, in partnership with FAA, is working to create a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) program to enable low-altitude airspace operations which are not currently in place. The Senate also recently approved a bill that would require a regulatory framework for drone deliveries within the next two years.  

"Now people feel this as an inevitability,” Sweeney told Quartz. “This is now just a question of when, not if.”