German aerospace company Wingcopter announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the Special Class Airworthiness Criteria for the Wingcopter 198 US unmanned aircraft, marking a critical milestone in the certification process for the delivery drone.
With the Airworthiness Criteria, the FAA “defines technological requirements under title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), § 21.17(b) that must be met to have an aircraft type-certified for regular commercial operations in the US,” the manufacturer explained in a statement dated May 11, 2022.
The approval means that the eVTOL delivery drone secures the right to provide regular commercial services across the US, meaning that Wingcopter 198 will be able “to fly conventional routes through airspace and overpopulated areas” of the country, where it aims to provide services.
“Since applying for the Special Class Type Certificate in March 2020, Wingcopter has collaborated closely with the FAA. The issuance allows Wingcopter to focus its development efforts even more on what the FAA deems necessary for this particular aircraft to receive certification quickly and efficiently,” the manufacturer said.
According to chief executive officer, Tom Plümmer, Wingcopter “is among the first delivery drone companies worldwide to ever get their Airworthiness Criteria approved by the FAA”.
“This is a very important milestone for us, not only in our Type Certification Process in the U.S. but also for our international expansion efforts and for achieving our vision of building logistical highways in the sky”, Plümmer added.
Designed to conduct commercial and humanitarian delivery missions, the Wingcopter 198, also known as W198, is the company’s latest commercial triple drop delivery drone.
According to the manufacturer, the drone, which was launched in April 2022, is equipped with automated sensors and software, which helps the eVTOL to avoid obstacles and drop parcels at designated areas. The drone is also capable of carrying up to three packages per flight with up to 5 kg of weight.
The manufacturer also said that once it receives an aircraft type certificate, it will apply for further certification in other countries, such as Brazil and Japan.