Tests would be carried out over Amazon’s “own private model airplane field“, on isolated Amazon private property well away from airports or any aviation activities.
Currently Amazon are testing outside the US – Drone test flights within US borders are banned barring six government approved test areas in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Seattle is way outside the designated test zones.
Amazon say that they share “Congress’s goal of getting small aerial vehicles flying commercially in the United States safely and soon“. They argue that “Congress directed the FAA “to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system”” and “gave the FAA power to grant innovators “expedited operational authorization” to do so“. “Amazon is seeking its first such authorization, in order to conduct additional research and development for Prime Air“.
The letter reveals that Amazon are on their eighth‐ and ninth‐generation aerial vehicles and they’re capable of travelling over 50mph carrying 5lb payloads.
Amazon also revealed their safety precautions which include automatic return to a specific location on Amazon’s private property if the communications link is lost and observers having the ability to press a physical button, that reduces power to the vehicle to force a controlled landing.
It would very much appear that what many originally thought could be an elaborate publicity stunt may one day soon become reality and your Amazon deliveries will literally drop from the sky.
You can read Amazon’s full letter to the FAA in a PDF document hosted on Regulations.gov