The Sparrow, developed by Zipline in 2016, was initially operated in Rwanda. It is an autonomous aircraft that flies to remote medical clinics delivering life-saving blood, vaccines, and medications safely to the ground via parachute.
- The Sparrow can transport a weight of up to 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
- With a 60-mile (100 km) service radius, the aircraft can fly 120 miles in one trip.
- The aircraft flies at an altitude of roughly 300 feet (90 m), briefly lowering to 65 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters) as a package is released.
- The electric-powered aircraft can travel up to 60 mph (97 km/h).
We are excited to be one of the few museums in the United States exhibiting this amazing aircraft,” said Michael Smith, director of the National Model Aviation Museum. “The aircraft represents the cutting edge of successful autonomous aerial delivery, providing lifesaving medical supplies to remote locations.The Sparrow will be on display in the museum’s “Model Aircraft at Work” gallery, joining research and development aircraft from NASA, military target drones, and the aircraft that flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 2003.
Zipline is the global instant logistics leader that designs, manufactures, and operates the world’s largest automated on-demand delivery system. Currently the company’s system operates on three continents, completes a delivery every 90 seconds, and reduces delivery emissions by up to 97% compared with traditional methods. Zipline is a partner to governments, global companies, leading healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, restaurants, and retailers.
About the Museum
The National Model Aviation Museum is operated by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a nonprofit community of aeromodeling enthusiasts who come together to celebrate model aviation. With the foremost collection of flying model aircraft in the world, visitors of all ages can experience the exciting history of flying model aircraft, from aircraft that predate the Wright brothers to modern Radio Control, Control Line, and Free Flight models.
Read more about Zipline drones in this article from the September 2016 issue of Model Aviation.