Bezos’ drones may be flying soon

→unincorporated part of San Joaquin County, about 50 miles south of Sacramento.←→unincorporated part of San Joaquin County, about 50 miles south of Sacramento.←
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2013 Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said drone deliver by 2015

2022 deliveries to Lockeford, California by Prime Air UASs

All the regulatory hurdles needed for safety completed

Bezos on 60 MinutesAmazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, on 60 Minutes in 2013, pronounced that his company would be delivering packages from his company’s massive inventory via drone by 2015. A bold prediction befitting an entrepreneur unfamiliar with regulatory processes.




Here are a few of the aviation hurdles that the Amazon team had to clear:

  • Seven years later, Prime Air holds a Part 135 FAA certificate for drones (AFS-19-129270-E). Not an easy feat, particularly given that the aircraft to be used was beingPrime Air P135 developed simultaneously PLUS the FAA has approached UAS flight authorizations. Over time and after individual demonstrations of capabilities such as flight over people, night time flight, BVLOS, see-and-avoid, control of multiple UASs from a single, navigating a community, competence of the pilots, their training, safe loads (contents and weight), weather, SMS, management qualifications, manuals and more.


Airworthiness Conditions

That document defines what the applicant must show to determine airworthiness; that can be an iterative process with the TC applicant submitting the data for review, the FAA then examines all of the data and frequently requests further tests and/or detail. If and only if all of the criteria have been met to the ACO’s satisfaction, then the MK27-2 may be operated under the FAA certificate.

  • Proof of airworthiness leads to review of the applicant’s capability to recreate the approved model. A production certificate is another predicate to flight.
  • REGISTRATION is the final step. Basically it is a ministerial action issuing each aircraft a discrete N number to identify it.

Amazon Logistics has 71 drones registered, none of these MK-27s shows a TC.

Amazon MK-27 registrations


It is unclear the status of several of these predicates, but it looks like Mr. Bezos’ drone delivery prediction may be a reality, SOON?





















Amazon Prime Air prepares for drone deliveries

MK-27-2 drone
Amazon Prime Air prepares for drone deliveries

Amazon customers in Lockeford, California, will be among the first to receive Prime Air drone deliveries in the U.S.

The promise of drone delivery has often felt like science fiction. We’ve been working for almost a decade to make it a reality.

The challenge: How do you get items to customers quickly, cost-effectively, and—most importantly—safely, in less than an hour? And how do you do it in a way that can scale? It’s relatively easy to use existing technology to fly a light payload a short distance that’s within your line of sight, but it’s a very different challenge to build a network that can deliver to customers across large communities.

California map with LockefordOur teams of hundreds of scientists, engineers, aerospace professionals, and futurists have been working hard to do just that—and later this year, Amazon customers living in Lockeford, California,[1] will become among the first to receive Prime Air deliveries.

Lockeford has historic links to the aviation industry. The community boasts one of the early pioneers of aviation—Weldon B. Cooke,Weldon B. Cooke who built and flew early planes in the early 1900s—as a former resident. Now, over a century later, residents will get the opportunity to sign up for free drone delivery on thousands of everyday items.

Lockeford residents will play an important role in defining the future. Their feedback about Prime Air, with drones delivering packages in their backyards, will help us create a service that will safely scale to meet the needs of customers everywhere—while adding another innovation milestone to the town’s aviation history.

MK-27 build

As we launch the service in Lockeford, we’ll also be investing in the community, creating new jobs, building partnerships with local organizations, and helping reduce carbon emissions—all thanks to this futuristic technology that could one day become just as common as seeing an Amazon delivery van pull up outside your house.

“Lockeford residents will soon have access to one of the world’s leading delivery innovations,” said California State Assemblyman Heath Flora, whose district includes Lockeford. “It’s exciting that Amazon will be listening to the feedback of the San Joaquin County community to inform the future development of this technology.”

We are working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials in Lockeford to obtain permission to conduct these deliveries and will continue with that collaboration into the future.

What’s different about Prime Air?

Heidi Schubert, Amazon hide-and-seek engineerThe logistics industry is abuzz with all-things drones. But not all drone systems are equal. For example, most drones do not have the capability to sense and avoid other aircraft and obstacles—and it’s easy to understand why that could pose problems. Those systems will require visual observers along the route of every flight to help the drones avoid hazards. That type of drone can be deployed relatively quickly, but it limits delivery operations to a small radius.

We’re building something different. We’ve created a sophisticated and industry-leading sense-and-avoid system that will enable operations without visual observers and allow our drone to operate at greater distances while safely and reliably avoiding other aircraft, people, pets, and obstacles.

We designed our sense-and-avoid system for two main scenarios: to be safe when in transit, and to be safe whensense and avoid team approaching the ground. When flying to the delivery location, the drones need to be able to identify static and moving obstacles. Our algorithms use a diverse suite of technologies for object detection. Using this system, our drone can identify a static object in its path, like a chimney. It can also detect moving objects on the horizon, like other aircraft, even when it’s hard for people to see them. If obstacles are identified, our drone will automatically change course to safely avoid them. As our drone descends to deliver the package into a customer’s backyard, the drone ensures that there’s a small area around the delivery location that’s clear of any people, animals, or other obstacles.

Since the inception of Prime Air, we have designed, built, and tested many drones. In fact, we’ve created more than two dozen prototypes. Below are some of our designs, including our latest version, which we’re excited to now use to make customer deliveries in real-world environments.MK models

We’ve worked closely with the FAA and other regulators throughout. Prime Air is one of only three drone-delivery companies[2] that has gone through the rigorous process to earn a FAA air carrier certificate, which will be required to operate drones using these advanced capabilities.

It took years of inventing, testing, and improving to develop these breakthrough technologies, and we’re excited to use them to make customer deliveries.

What’s next?

Once onboarded, customers in Lockeford will see Prime Air-eligible items on Amazon. They will place an order as they normally would and receive an estimated arrival time with a status tracker for their order. For these deliveries, the drone will fly to the designated delivery location, descend to the customer’s backyard, and hover at a safe height. It will then safely release the package and rise back up to altitude.

sense and avoid


[1] As of the census of 2000, there were 3,179 people, 1,099 households, and 856 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 379.7 people per square mile (146.6/km2). There were 1,136 housing units at an average density of 135.7 per square mile (52.4/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 77.41% White, 0.25% African American, 1.04% Native American, 1.42% Asian, 0.38% Pacific Islander, 16.07% from other races, and 3.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.66% of the population.The median income for a household in the CDP was $43,750, and the median income for a family was $55,750. Males had a median income of $37,759 versus $24,353 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $19,533. About 10.5% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.5% of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over.

[2]  UPS Flight Forward and Wing Aviation LLC, which is owned by the parent company of Google


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