FedEx Express and Wing Aviation on Oct. 18 completed the first scheduled package delivery by drone to a house in Christiansburg, Virginia, FedEx announced.

The delivery by Wing’s Hummingbird aircraft made use of the first Part 135 air carrier certificate granted by the FAA for a drone operation. The agency awarded the certificate to the Alphabet subsidiary in April.

A FedEx spokesperson said the first package contained a vest the resident ordered from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“The package originated in a warehouse elsewhere in the country and was transported via FedEx Express overnight to our local Christiansburg [Virginia] station, where it was sorted and routed to Wing’s Nest for last-mile delivery by drone. The package touched down at approximately 2:32 p.m. ET,” the spokesperson said.

Other major package carriers are advancing drones as a solution for “last-mile” deliveries. On Oct. 1, FedEx rival UPS announced its Flight Forward drone subsidiary received a Part 135 Standard certificate from the FAA, which does not limit the size or scope of an operation in advance.

UPS has been delivering medical samples by drone at WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina, under conditions of the FAA’s Part 107 regulation for commercial drones weighing less than 55 lb. With the Part 135 approval, it plans to expand the operation to other hospital campuses around the country.

The US Postal Service also has served notice that it is studying using drones for residential deliveries and aerial imagery.

Wing is making deliveries in Christiansburg, a town of 22,505, under the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP). FedEx Express, Walgreens and local gift and confection store Sugar Magnolia are participating in the pilot effort.

FedEx Express also is operating drones at its headquarters at Memphis International Airport in Tennessee under the UAS IPP.

“For our customers in Christiansburg, this collaboration will test the latest innovation in the last mile of a residential package delivery,” FedEx Express president and CEO Don Colleran said.

“We hope that this latest addition to our delivery options will enhance the last-mile service for urgent same-day deliveries for customers in rural or semi-rural areas and other exceptional delivery needs.”

Bill Carey, bill.carey@aviationweek.com