Lakemaid Beer, a Wisconsin microbrewery, got into some trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration after the agency saw a video of a drone being used for ice fishermen. The brewery posted a video onto YouTube showing the first test flights of a drone flying cases of beer over to thirsty fishermen, who were also Lakemaid employees. The video that demonstrated the beer drone caught the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration because the act broke one of their codes.
Less than a week after the video was posted, the federal agency called the company to tell them to stop flying the unmanned drones. Les Dorr, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that the company’s main goal is safety and while they are evaluating many different possible uses of unmanned aircraft as they are moving towards integrating them safely into the nation airspace; the commercial use of unmanned air crafts is not allowed. The group is currently reviewing a list of guidelines and is expected to publish the proposed rules for small, unmanned aircraft that are less than 55 lbs. later in the year and regulations that govern commercial drones will not be issued until 2015.
Jack Supple, the president of Lakemaid Beer, knew it was illegal to use drones for commercial sales but thought he could get around it. He also thought the act would get him some free publicity. The YouTube video got 25, 000 clicks and got the attention of journalists and technology reporters who did several stories about it. This is how the beer drone caught the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration. Supple said that he wanted to use the drones to get ahead of larger companies such as Amazon. In December, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, said in December that the company might use drones to drop packages at people’s houses. FedEx might also be in on the action as well; the drone-like machines are already being used in Germany to deliver medicine and China is using them to deliver cakes.
Supple also said that he tested the drones on a lake because it is the perfect testing ground for the drones. He explained that the first tests on many medium-sized lakes were successful and plans to test more of the drones on larger lakes. The Federal Aviation Administration contacted Supple twice last week to tell him he was in violation of the agency’s regulations. Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that the federal agency is concerned with the safety of people in the air and people on the ground. Supple said that the drone is grounded for now; he also said he understands why the aviation group is so strict. He said that he knows that when people come up with ways to use the drones the regulation of them is going to be important and that they are learning as fast as they can.
The Lakemaid Beer company was caught by the Federal Aviation Administration after they posted a video on YouTube showing a drone flying a case of beer over to a few ice fisherman. The video of the beer drone caught the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration because it got 25, 000 clicks as well as some attention from journalists and technology reporters. Supple said the aviation group called him twice to tell him he broke a specific code and sent him 74 pages about the code he violated. Until the beer drones get approved, Supple said that the project will be put on hold.
By Jordan Bonte