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The Latest News From the IAA

IAA Welcomes Ireland’s First Approved Parcel Delivery by Drone

29 Jan 2017

Sunday 29th January: The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) welcomes the first IAA approved parcel delivery by drone, which successfully took place on Saturday 28th January, in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

The flight was organised by Belle Moore (10 years old), a student of Alexandra College Junior School, Milltown, as part of her research for her project on drones for the Intel Mini Scientist Competition. The flight took place at 5pm and took two minutes to complete from take-off to parcel drop, with the drone taking the parcel, weighing 250 grams from the shoreline to a boat at sea almost 200 metres away. The parcel contained medical supplies: an emergency thermal blanket, an Epi-pen, bandages, plasters, thermometer, first aid leaflet, gloves, wipes and burn dressings. It also contained food and a drink in the form of a high-energy bar and water. The supplies were attached to the underside of the drone in a waterproof container.

The IAA helped Belle with her research, providing her with details on the safety regulations for drone flight in Ireland. This flight is the first parcel delivery drop by drone that the IAA has sanctioned in Ireland. “We’re delighted with the success of the first official parcel delivery in Ireland via drone under controlled conditions which met all regulatory requirements. The application of drone technology is vast and the IAA will continue to foster, promote and encourage its use with the emphasis, as always, on safety,” said Ralph James, the IAA’s Director of Safety Regulation. “A significant amount of research is taking place all over the world to design systems which will enable drones to safely integrate with manned aviation. Drone delivery systems is one such application. Whatever procedures are introduced in the future must guarantee the safety of manned aviation and the safety of people on the ground in urban areas,” added Ralph James. Mr. James said “We’d like to congratulate Belle on her great achievement and well done to all in involved. We wish Belle the best of luck at the Grand Finals of the Intel Mini Scientist Competition”. The event takes place in the Helix in DCU on Friday the 3rd February.

Also helping Belle with her research and the flight were FlyRyte Drone Academy who train commercial drone pilots in Ireland (Gearóid Ó Briain, Head of Training at FlyRyte helped Belle by controlling the delivery drone), as well as Pony Express Couriers , Dublin’s largest courier company.

Ireland was the first country in the world to introduce mandatory registration for all drones over 1kg. There are now over 6,000 drones and small aircraft registered with the IAA and the number continues to grow. The legislation prohibits users from operating their drones:

  • if it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight;
  • ·over an assembly of people;
  • farther than 300m from the operator;
  • within 120m of any person, vessel or structure not under the operator’s control;
  • closer than 5km from an aerodrome;
  • in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others;
  • ·over 400ft (120m) above ground level;
  • ·over urban areas;
  • in civil or military controlled airspace;
  • in restricted areas (e.g. military installations, prisons, etc.);
  • unless the operator has permission from the landowner for take-off and landing.

You can find lots of information on the safe operation of drones on our website and register your drone via You must be at least 16 years of age or older and drones operated by those under 16 years of age must be registered by a parent or legal guardian. There is a nominal €5 fee to register.

First Approved Drone Parcel Delivery