How the FAA ruined Valentine's Day

How the FAA ruined Valentine’s Day

Agency nipped drone flower delivery service in the bud

Written by
Edited by Beryl Lipton

Shortly before Valentine’s Day 2014, the Detroit-based Flower Delivery Express announced that it had a secret weapon to set it apart amid a glutted market: drones.

Because after all, you can’t spell love without BLADE FPV Nano RTF QX (TM).

The novel idea of having a robot hand-deliver intimacy generated a fair amount of media attention which ultimately proved to be the flying florist’s undoing - when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) caught wind, they put an end to the promotion pretty quickly. Commercial UAS use was a no-go, so unless somebody at Flower Delivery Express was able to run out and get a pilot’s license in the next couple days, those drones were going nowhere.

Curious about what a crushed dream looks like, Shawn Musgrave filed a FOIA for the FAA for their cease and desist order. When he heard back nearly a year later, he discovered the unkindest cut of all - the FAA had dashed the hopes of Michigan’s last-minute Lotharios with nothing more than a post-it note and a phone call.

The FAA has since loosened its restrictions on commercial use slightly, but sanctioned drone deliveries are still some years off. So, if you’re looking for a convenient excuse for why you’re lacking in the romantic gesture department this evening, you can always blame the federal government.

Image via FAA