First drone parcel delivery takes place


The first Irish Aviation Authrority (IAA) approved parcel delivery by drone took place this weekend.

The flight. organised by 10-year old student Belle Moore student of Alexandra College Junior School, Milltown, was organised as part of her research for her project on drones for the Intel Mini Scientist Competition.

The flight took place at 5pm on Saturday and took two minutes to complete from take-off to parcel drop, with the drone taking the parcel, weighing 250g from the shoreline to a boat at sea almost 200m away.

The parcel contained medical supplies: an emergency thermal blanket, an Epi-pen, bandages, plasters, thermometer, first aid leaflet, gloves, wipes and burn dressings. It also contained food and a drink in the form of a high-energy bar and water. The supplies were attached to the underside of the drone in a waterproof container.

This flight is the first parcel delivery drop by drone that the IAA has sanctioned in Ireland.

"We’re delighted with the success of the first official parcel delivery in Ireland via drone under controlled conditions which met all regulatory requirements", said Ralph James, the IAA’s Director of Safety Regulation. "The application of drone technology is vast and the IAA will continue to foster, promote and encourage its use with the emphasis, as always, on safety."

Drone legislation

Ireland was the first country in the world to introduce mandatory registration for all drones over 1kg.

There are now over 6,000 drones and model aircraft registered with the IAA and the number continues to grow. The legislation prohibits users from operating their drones:

  • if it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
  • over an assembly of people
  • farther than 300m from the operator
  • within 120m of any person, vessel or structure not under the operator’s control
  • closer than 5km from an aerodrome
  • in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others
  • over 400ft (120m) above ground level
  • over urban areas
  • in civil or military controlled airspace
  • in restricted areas (e.g. military installations, prisons, etc.)
  • unless the operator has permission from the landowner for take-off and landing
Fionnuala Jones, 

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