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  1. Hardware
July 20, 2015

FAA backs drone delivery while Aussie wins first drone race

US FAA backs healthcare supplies delivery as Brisbane Aussie wins first drone race in the US.

By Joao Lima

Drones have hit the headlines twice in one day with the first US government backed drone delivery approved by the FAA coinciding with the first US National Drone Racing Championships.

Australian Chad Nowak, won the first US National Drone Racing Championships on Friday, taking home a $15,000 cash prize.

Nowak won all the competition’s events including individual time trial, team trial squad and the freestyle event in which the devices reached up to 100Kph.

With a $99 admission fee, the event saw 100 registered pilots, with total cash prizes topping $25,000.

Drone Nationals said: "For the inaugural US race, we want to accelerate the spirit of international competition and camaraderie so please come race with us. It will most likely be the only time that you can race as a non-resident or citizen."

On the same day, a pop-up health clinic in rural Virginia became the first organisation to receive a US government approved drone delivery.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) backed a Flirtey flight that took medical supplies to an hospital in the state.

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Two aircrafts were used in the operation. One larger device transported the supplies to Lonesome Pines Airport in Wise County, VA and a second device flew six times to the clinic to deliver the goods.

Frank Jones, deputy director of NASA Langley’s Research Services Directorate, told the WSJ: "What we’re trying to do is not only develop the technology, but [develop] the public’s trust in the technology."

The FAA granted Flirtey, NASA and Virginia Tech a special permission for the mission, but it has a national ban on drones in place.

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