- Drone-maker Workhorse Aero looks to put its WA4-100 drone, known as Horsefly, on UPS Flight Forward’s Federal Aviation Administration drone certificate, according to an Oct. 18 press release.
- For the FAA to allow Horsefly to operate on UPSFF’s part 135 certificate, which would allow the company to operate as an air carrier, the drone manufacturer must complete an intensive flight test program. Workhorse said it is preparing to complete the requirements.
- Workhorse aims to have Horsefly approved for FAA part 135 operations by the end of 2023.
Approval to operate under UPSFF’s part 135 enables Workhorse to scale faster towards its last-mile delivery goals.
Workhorse’s Horsefly drone is an electric uncrewed aerial system for both commercial and industrial services, and can transport up to 10 pounds for as far as 10 miles, according to the release. UPSFF personnel are trained to operate and maintain the drones, and the two companies have already completed hundreds of flights using the aircraft.
“Our Aero team is building safe, reliable, dependable drones, and we have the ability to scale,” John Graber, Workhorse Aero president, said in a statement. “We’ve flown thousands of tests over hundreds of hours across numerous aircraft in our fleet.”
Workhorse Aero also has a heavy-duty uncrewed aerial system intended for high-volume operations, called WA4-200 or Falcon, according to the company website. In addition to drones, Workhorse also designs and builds battery-electric trucks and cloud-based telematics performance monitoring systems that integrate with its vehicles.
Although current U.S. regulations make it challenging for drone companies to expand their operations, many operators have been making progress on their service goals.
UPS, for instance, has been looking to scale its drone operations, and in September was granted FAA exemption to operate its Matternet M2 drones beyond visual line of sight regulations. Similarly, Zipline also received an FAA exemption in September to operate commercial deliveries beyond the visual line of sight.