New Avenues Opened by FAA’s Licensing Decision for 3D Printing and Drones.


Recently, the US regulators made a groundbreaking decision by granting licenses to operate unmanned aircraft for long distances. This move is seen as a significant step towards mainstream commercial drone use, and it has sparked excitement within the drone market and the related 3D printing applications.

Prior to this development, commercial drone flights were limited to the pilot’s line of sight, even if the drone was capable of autonomous operation. Companies had to employ ground staff to monitor drones and communicate any potential obstacles every few miles. However, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has now issued exemptions to three companies: UPS Flight Forward, Phoenix Air Unmanned, and uAvionix, allowing them to operate beyond the pilot’s line of sight.

– Phoenix Air Unmanned is headquartered in Cartersville, Georgia, and is a company that offers solutions for air transportation and related aircraft services globally. With the license to operate drones for longer distances, Phoenix Air Unmanned can now expand its charter flight system that includes unmanned aircraft.

– UPS Flight Forward is a well-known multinational shipping and receiving company that specializes in supply chain management. With the FAA certification, UPS can now operate commercial drone usage through its Flight Forward subsidiary. UPS has been using its drone technology for medical supply deliveries, and this license approval will enable them to expand their drone operations further.

– uAvionix, headquartered in Bigfork, MT and Leesburg, VA, is another company that has received the FAA license to operate unmanned aircraft for longer distances. uAvionix’s subsidiary, Flight Forward, got the approval, and this will allow the company to showcase the capability and safety of their technology.

The approval of these licenses is a positive development for the drone industry, and we can expect more companies to follow suit. This expansion of commercial drone usage will also have a significant impact on 3D printing drone applications.

Other major delivery companies are also actively pursuing advancements in drone technology. Matternet, headquartered in Mountain View, CA, specializes in drone logistics networks for transporting goods using efficient drones. Their M2 drone can carry payloads up to 4.4 pounds and travel distances of up to 12.4 miles, making it a valuable asset for drone deliveries.

Amazon, a global leader in e-commerce and technology, has been working towards delivering products to customers using drones. With their certification from the FAA, Amazon plans to implement drone deliveries for various segments, including prescription drugs.

Zipline, headquartered in San Francisco, initially focused on delivering blood and medical products using drones but has expanded into other industries such as food, retail, and agriculture. Although they were the only operator to apply for the license and were not granted it, they remain optimistic about future FAA actions.

Alphabet’s Wing Aviation LLC, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, has been using drones to deliver take-out food since 2014. They were the first drone delivery provider to receive an Air operator’s certification from the FAA, allowing them to operate as an airline in the US. FedEx is also utilizing their drone delivery expertise in their operations.

Overall, the recent approval of licenses for long-distance drone flights marks a significant milestone for the commercial drone industry. It opens up numerous possibilities for the use of drones in various sectors, and we can expect even more innovative applications of 3D printing in this evolving field.

3D Printing: Boosting R&D Tax Credits in the Drone Industry

In our previous blog post, we highlighted the innovative use of 3D printing technology by Swoop Aero, a company that specializes in creating drone parts seamlessly. Today, we want to delve further into how this technology can not only revolutionize the drone industry but also help companies like Swoop Aero take advantage of Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits.

During the pandemic, Swoop Aero made history by becoming the first drone company in the world to remotely pilot commercial drones from another country. This achievement, coupled with their use of 3D printing technology, puts them in a prime position to explore the benefits of R&D Tax Credits.

The now permanent R&D Tax Credit is a government incentive designed to support companies developing new or improved products, processes, and software. This credit can significantly reduce a company’s tax liability, providing much-needed financial relief.

So, how does 3D printing tie into this? Well, using 3D printers for prototyping and production processes can qualify as R&D Credit eligible activities. For example, the wages of technical employees who are involved in creating, testing, and revising 3D printed prototypes can be included as a percentage of eligible time spent for the R&D Tax Credit.

Moreover, the time spent integrating 3D printing hardware and software to improve existing processes also counts as an eligible activity. This means that companies can incorporate 3D printing seamlessly into their workflow and still claim the R&D Tax Credit for the time invested.

Additionally, when used for modeling and preproduction, the costs of filaments consumed during the development process can also be recovered. This further incentivizes companies to adopt 3D printing technology, knowing that they can recoup some of their expenses through the R&D Tax Credit.

In the rapidly expanding drone industry, innovation is key to staying ahead of the competition. By utilizing cutting-edge technologies like 3D printing, companies can create and test prototypes efficiently and cost-effectively. This not only saves time and resources but also signals to the government that R&D Credit eligible activities are taking place.

Moreover, the recent advancements in drone regulations, such as being awarded licenses for flying beyond the pilot’s sight, have opened up new markets and expanded the possibilities for drone delivery. With drones now able to reach more destinations and serve a wider range of customers, the opportunities for growth are immense.

The 3D printing industry can play a crucial role in supporting this trend. Its ability to rapidly produce customized drone parts and streamline the prototyping process makes it an ideal technology for the drone industry. As more companies embrace 3D printing, they should also consider leveraging the benefits of R&D Tax Credits to further boost their innovation efforts.

In conclusion, the marriage of 3D printing and the drone industry holds immense potential. Not only can it facilitate the creation of cutting-edge drones and their components, but it can also help companies like Swoop Aero take advantage of R&D Tax Credits. As the drone industry continues to soar to new heights, it is imperative that companies explore all available avenues to fuel their innovation and stay ahead of the competition.

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

Like it? Share with your friends!


Meet the mastermind behind GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube and Vimeo Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format