back to article Amazon fires rocket up FAA for dithering on drone approval

Amazon has been complaining to US Congress about Uncle Sam's Federal Aviation Authority dragging its feet over rules that would allow commercial drones to operate in America's skies. Last week the FAA gave Amazon permission to carry out drone test flights, which the cloud giant hopes to use for ferrying small packages for its …

  1. dan1980

    I'll have a sausage and one of those steaks, thanks

    Am I the only one who thinks this drone looks like a flying BBQ?

    On a semi-related note:

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge


      Take LOHAN across the border into Mexico for a stratospheric good time.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge


    Maybe the LOHAN paperwork should be revised to describe it as a "test for a commercial delivery rocket"????? Gets it out of the drone area and also puts a hint of commercial activity. That activity will generate taxes and lobbyists.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad planning

    Choosing to go to the US was clearly a mistake for the LOHAN launch. Not only is is bogged down in bureaucracy, you didn't fleece the El Reg readership enough to be able to bribe those in power to make it happen.

  4. big_D Silver badge

    Welcome to the real world...

    Protoyping a web site or server software and making rapid iterations until the product is released is one thing.

    Air safety is something else. Airborne vehicles generally have to be submitted to hundreds or thousands of hours of test flights, before they can be used commercially.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Welcome to the real world...

      Agreed. One the one hand we have professionals who preside over a highly successful regulatory regime in terms of aviation safety. On the other we have a retailer throwing its toys out of the pram and pressuring politicians to override their assessment process. I know which side I'd want to come out on top here.

    2. Bunbury

      Re: Welcome to the real world...

      Couldn't agree more. It might be frustrating for Amazon that the latest version is not approved but air safety needs to be a very cautious arena. The downside of getting it wrong is very large - an air accident. This is surely analagous to pharmaceutical companies who need to go through lengthy trials to make sure drugs are safe.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. DropBear


    Please do not conflate "you're allowed to make test flights with this here new thingy" with "by all means, go nuts freely over the entire US"...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If they weren't allowed to make test flights in the US, how has the model approved for the test flights already become obsolete? If they could more quickly did test flights in other countries with that model to the point that it evolved, why the need to do the iterative test flights in the US at all - just do the testing outside of the US to work out the bugs in the system, then bring their "final" model in for US testing.

    1. CaptainHook

      Re: So

      "If they weren't allowed to make test flights in the US, how has the model approved for the test flights already become obsolete?"


      I believe no approval is needed for indoor flights, presumably the data gained from those flights which didn't need approval were enough to move the design forwards but eventually outdoor flights/real world flights will be needed

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazon can go pound salt

    We certainly don't need or want a bunch of drones flying around delivering goods. That's why courier services exist. The insanity of allowing a fleet of drones to be airborne is a serious safety issue for aviation and society.

    1. ItsNotMe

      Re: Amazon can go pound salt

      I agree 100%.

      Amazon "threatened" the US government to take their drones to another country for testing.

      So big fu(&ing deal...fine...go...right now. And this potential "loss" to the US government is what exactly?

      As I live in an area with far too many trees for them to be able to fly their drones, I'm not worried, but if I lived somewhere where they could use them, and they wanted to send one to my home, I would find another company to do business with. Even if it meant spending more money.

      There is no good reason for these to be used. Just about as asinine as "self-driving" cars.

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: Amazon can go pound salt

        I was going to upvote you until I read 'Just about as asinine as "self-driving" cars.' then I changed my mind.

    2. kiwimuso

      Re: Amazon can go pound salt


      In most countries, my observation is that courier drivers themselves are a safety issue!!!!!

      Not sure whether the icon is apropos or not!!

  8. ITBloke

    Cheap drone parts, get 'em whilst they're hot!!

    Won't people just nab these drones when they arrive? Order a 1.99 item and grab yourself a few hundred £££ worth of drone parts for free! I bet hundreds will go missing. Yes they will know it was at your address, but proving it was half inched by someone at that address is something else entirely. "I delivered my parcel then flew off officer, it was fine when it left...."

  9. Stevie


    Amazon should just take a leaf from the Patent Office Experience and claim their drone runs on perpetual motion.

    Unrestricted flight permission is just one incomprehensible sheaf of paper away!

  10. JustWondering

    Limited use

    In the US at least, these will be of limited use, restricted to areas where these drones aren't considered skeet shooting with prizes.

  11. Conundrum1885

    Two words

    Optical stealth.

    Uses gridded array of WS2812B's or the newer version which is barely larger than a SOIC transistor and still emits enough light to be seen miles away in moderate light, so one camera on top and Mr Drone will be very hard to see especially at low altitude.


    (scuttles off to Patent Office)

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