Drone completes first freight flight to Isles of Scilly

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image copyrightFlylogix Drone
image captionIts hoped that drones could transport a range of items to and from the islands

A drone has successfully carried supplies from the mainland to the Isles of Scilly for the first time.

It completed the 60-mile (97km) round trip, delivering an NHS supply box to St Mary's airport.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG) said the flight "paves the way" for a "new lifeline connection" with the remote islands off Cornwall.

The unmanned vehicle returned to Land's End airport with local produce including gin and flowers.

Currently most freight is carried to the islands by ship, with some being taken alongside passengers on planes.

Drones could carry items including medical supplies and urgent vehicle parts.

image copyrightFlylogix Drone
image captionThe drone carried an NHS package within its fuselage

The project is a collaboration between the ISSG, which provides boat and plane transport to the islands, and Hampshire-based company Flylogix.

Following the successful flight there are plans to introduce a daily drone freight service between the mainland and Scilly next summer.

image copyrightFlylogix
image captionThe flight was monitored from a room at Land's End airport

If this three month trial is successful, a "full commercial operation" using a "bespoke" drone could be up and running within two years.

Stuart Reid, chief executive of ISSG, said "we've shown that a drone freight service is not only technically feasible but that there is demand for its potential to deliver time-sensitive and high value items for the island community".

He added that the "aircraft have 98% fewer emissions than a manned equivalent".

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