Skyfarer, a UK aerial co-ordinator company and Medical Logistics, a specialist healthcare courier organisation, have commenced a Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) drone trial, delivering “vital time-sensitive medical supplies” to hospitals via a special flight corridor 20 miles long, reports a press release.

This airspace has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is called “The Medical Logistics UK Corridor”. It connects the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Trust’s hospitals in Coventry and Rugby.

The trial will last for three months during which a record-breaking number of routine and ad hoc medical drone deliveries will occur.

(Alex Landowski, Elliot Parnham and Lucy Gilbert of UHCW)

Founded in 2017 by Elliot Parnham, an Aerospace and Engineering graduate from Coventry University, Skyfarer is a Coventry based start-up that has set out to use ‘drones for good’ in society.

Georgia Hanrahan, the company Project Manager, commented, “There are no potholes in the sky, nor is there as much congestion and without the need for heavy infrastructure to land, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can add to the fleet of logistical transfers and provide a faster, more sustainably friendly and cheaper solution.”

This first-of-its-kind trial is sponsored and made possible by London-based Medical Logistics UK. The company is a leading provider of time-sensitive medical deliveries and personalised on-demand medical tests.

Alex Landowski, the company MD, said, “I welcome our new partnership as an opportunity to revolutionise the UK medical supply chain. We are planning to take medical deliveries to the next level.”

The trial is the first of its kind as it is over land, between two NHS Trust hospitals, in a Hub-Centric Network operating 24 hours a day, meaning that all operations are controlled from one central location and flown BVLOS.

Flights will be conducted in all weather conditions, at varying times of day, so that the Flight Operations team can work with the Trust to determine how this technology can be permanently integrated. The consortia want to ensure that it is accessible to each department whenever it’s needed.

A series of routine and ad-hoc emergency flights will also be conducted to determine the reliability of the Skyfarer service and future-proof the NHS integration. The trial also kicks off the first leg of the Future Flight Phase 3 project’s corridor called “Skyway”, led by partners and UTM industry leaders Altitude Angel.

Skyway is a drone superhighway connecting 165 miles of the UK by the sky, for operators like Skyfarer to fly BVLOS safely and routinely. The Medical Logistics UK corridor is the first stage of this drone flight project that will take two years to complete.

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(top pic: Skyfarer)