The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Special Class Airworthiness Criteria for the Wingcopter 198 US unmanned aircraft, which defines technological requirements under title 14, Code of Federal Regulations that must be met to have an aircraft type-certified for regular commercial operations in the US.

The Wingcopter 198 was developed to leverage over five years of operational experience in various geographical settings, from the Arctics to the Middle Eastern desert, and from remote islands in the South Pacific to San Diego Bay in the US.

Since applying for the Special Class Type Certificate in March 2020, Wingcopter of Germany has collaborated closely with the FAA, and the approval allows Wingcopter to focus more development on what the FAA deems necessary to receive certification quickly and efficiently.

Wingcopter Co-Founder and CEO Tom Plümmer said: “We are proud to be among the first delivery drone companies worldwide to get Airworthiness Criteria approved by the FAA.

“This is a very important milestone for us, not only in our Type Certification Process in the US, but also for our international expansion efforts and for achieving our vision of building logistical highways in the sky.”

Once type-certified, Wingcopter will be able to fly conventional routes through airspace and over populated areas, ultimately providing the basis for scaling commercial drone delivery operations across the US.

Certification is also expected to have a positive impact on Wingcopter’s further certification efforts, including Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC) in Brazil and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).

In February, Wingcopter and Spright, a subsidiary of leading American air medical service provider Air Methods, announced a new commercial agreement worth over $16 million.

Spright will acquire a fleet of Wingcopter 198s to meet the increasing demand for medical drone delivery solutions throughout the United States, making Wingcopter the exclusive provider of fixed wing eVTOLs to Spright for use within the US.

In turn, Spright became the exclusive provider of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services for the Wingcopter 198 to third parties in the US, thanks to its infrastructure across the country.

Last December, Wingcopter secured investment from Synerjet, a leading business aviation specialist in Latin America with operations in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Panama.

Synerjet made the investment shortly after joining Wingcopter’s Authorised Partner Program, which allows companies to act as a distributor and local technical support provider for the Wingcopter 198.