Drone Certification TestHutchinson hospital selected for medical drone delivery pilot project

August 19, 2021by helo-10

Hutchinson Regional Medical Center will be the first test site in the U.S. for a new drone-based delivery network of healthcare resources such as medicines and lab samples.

German drone manufacturer Wingcopter and Denver-based air medical service provider Air Methods announced the partnership in a release this week.

HRMC Vice President Chuck Welch then discussed some details about the pilot project, dubbed “Spright.”

“About a year ago we were contacted by a representative of Air Methods, which is the company really driving this drone initiative partnership,” Welch said. “They are a world leader in medical air transport, including helicopters and airplanes. Because of our prior relationship with them in the air medical business, they were looking for a site to test, and we met all the criteria.”

Those criteria, Welch said, included wide open spaces and a relationship with surrounding hospitals and laboratories for items to be flown between.

“There are not many overhanging structures (on the hospital grounds) and not too many obstacles (in-flight paths),” he said.

Hutchinson Regional Medical Center

Initially, the flights will be just demonstration flights for the Federal Aviation Administration, to qualify the agencies to perform flights unguided by a pilot. Welch didn’t know how long the certification would take to allow actual delivery flights.

“The drone will use GPS and cell towers essentially to fly themselves with onboard instruments,” Welch explained. “What we’re going to do will eventually be the modality for these flights.”

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