Feds Shoot Down Drone Delivery of Valentine’s Day Flowers

Your red roses and blue violets just got grounded.

Pakistani women set fire to a Valentine's card during a protest against Valentine's day in Karachi on February 14, 2012.
National Journal
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Alex Brown
Feb. 12, 2014, 7:10 a.m.

Your Valentine’s flowers will not be ar­riv­ing by drone this year.

A Michigan flor­ist’s pro­mo­tion­al stunt may have ex­cited flight-lov­ing lov­ers, but the Fed­er­al Avi­ation Ad­min­is­tra­tion says it’s shut­ting the op­er­a­tion down.

“Com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions are only au­thor­ized on a case-by-case basis,” FAA spokes­wo­man Eliza­beth Cory said in an email. “A com­mer­cial flight re­quires a cer­ti­fied air­craft, a li­censed pi­lot, and op­er­at­ing ap­prov­al.”¦ Any­one who wants to fly an air­craft, manned or un­manned, in U.S. air­space needs some level of au­thor­iz­a­tion from the FAA.” The only op­er­a­tion meet­ing those stand­ards so far is in the Arc­tic.

That’s bad news for Flower De­liv­ery Ex­press, a De­troit-area com­pany that had hoped air­borne roses and carna­tions would raise its pro­file come Feb. 14. Be­fore the FAA’s shut­down, com­pany CEO Wes­ley Berry hailed the de­liv­ery plan.

“Drones are an emer­ging tech­no­logy that will provide an eco­nom­ic­ally vi­able ship­ping op­tion for our cus­tom­ers,” he said in a state­ment. “We be­lieve the use of drones will be­come com­mon prac­tice in the near fu­ture.”

Flower De­liv­ery Ex­press did not re­spond for re­quests for com­ment Wed­nes­day, but the com­pany’s Face­book page prom­ises it’s test­ing “oth­er guarded secret meth­ods” for flower de­liv­ery.


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