Press release

AiRXOS Participates in Historic Unmanned Aircraft Delivery of Organ for Successful Transplant in Maryland

Sponsored by Businesswire

AiRXOS, part of GE Aviation, participated in the world’s first
unmanned aircraft (UA) flight that delivered a donor kidney to surgeons
in Baltimore, Maryland for successful transplantation into a patient
with kidney failure. The momentous flight was a collaboration between
transplant physicians and researchers at the University of Maryland
School of Medicine (UMSOM) in Baltimore; aviation and engineering
experts at the University of Maryland (UMD); and collaborators at the
Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (The LLF). While organ transport by
drone has been previously tested successfully between medical facilities
by the University of Maryland UAS Test Site in St. Mary’s County, this
is the first time the flight operation was used to deliver an organ for

The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flight operation was monitored by
AiRXOS’ Air MobilityTM Platform, a rich, cutting-edge grade
framework enabling unmanned traffic management applications, operations
and services. The Air Mobility Platform manages the volume, density, and
variety of unmanned traffic data, while coordinating and integrating
that data within a secure, FAA-compliant, gated cloud environment to
ensure safe unmanned operations.

Among the many technological firsts of this effort include: a specially
designed, high-tech apparatus for maintaining and monitoring a viable
human organ; a custom-built UAS with eight rotors and multiple
powertrains to ensure consistently reliable performance, even in the
case of a possible component failure; the use of a mesh network radios
to control the UAS, monitor aircraft status, and provide communications
for the ground crew at multiple locations; and aircraft operating
systems that combined best practices from both UAS and organ transport

Flight Operation Details

On Friday, April 19th, at approximately 12:30am, a human
donor kidney was loaded onto the UMMC drone. The flight, led by the
University of Maryland UAS Test Site at St. Mary’s County, commenced at
1:00am. The vehicle traveled 2.6 miles (4.3 km) and flew for
approximately 10 minutes. The human kidney was successfully delivered to
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and was scheduled to be
used for a transplant surgery at 5:00am.

“AiRXOS is honored to have taken part in this landmark moment in medical
and aviation history,” says Ken Stewart, CEO, AiRXOS. “This flight
demonstrated how air mobility can transform the delivery of medical care
in ways that can have significant impact on lives. It lays the
foundation for future advanced drone operations. AIRXOS is privileged to
have worked closely with the UMD team in helping perform this historic

“Having a robust and highly capable partner like AiRXOS teaming with us
not only gave us a greater confidence for this particular operation, it
really sets the stage for future Unmanned Traffic Management and Beyond
Visual Line of Sight research efforts,” said Matt Scassero, director of
the University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft System Test Site in St.
Mary’s County.

Maryland faculty and researchers believe this prototype organ transport
blazes a trail for the use of UAS to expand access to donated organs,
improving outcomes for more people in need of organ transplants.
Currently organs are transported by commercial aircraft or charter
flights. Organ transplants have a limited window of cold ischemia time
(CIT) in which an organ can be chilled and then have blood supply
restored. As of January 2019, almost 114,000 individuals were on the
national transplant waiting list and every day approximately 80 people
receive organ transplants, according to the United Network for Organ
Sharing – the nonprofit that manages the transplant system. For
sensitive medical deliveries, reducing the amount of travel time in
urban settings, as well as vibration during travel can help lead to
better outcomes.

AIRXOS’ Air Mobility Platform is a digital infrastructure for unmanned
traffic that supports and benefits advanced operations like medical
delivery by providing a unique, agnostic, single point of responsibility
to manage and connect heterogeneous sets of operations, applications,
and devices – giving enterprises the freedom to manage operations &
communications, deploy applications and expand operations as air and
ground mobility needs evolve.

About AiRXOS

AiRXOS is making a new way of moving possible. From people, to cargo, to
delivery, inspections, and public safety – we’re taking on the global
challenge of the digital drone economy and changing the future of
transportation. AiRXOS, part of GE Aviation, is digitizing today’s
airspace, infusing next generation air traffic management technology and
services with world-class aviation expertise and execution, AiRXOS is
shaping a new era of transportation through global, commercial Unmanned
Aircraft (UA) solutions. Learn more at:,
or follow us on LinkedIn.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine
(UMSOM) was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the
United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing,
top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world—with 43 academic
departments, centers, institutes, and programs and a faculty of more
than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals,
including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National
Academy of Sciences and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E.
Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than
$1 billion, UMSOM works closely in partnership with the University of
Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide
research-intensive, academic, and clinically-based care for more than
1.2 million patients each year. UMSOM faculty, which ranks as the 8th
highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an
innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24
start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally,
with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world.

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state’s flagship
university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research
universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and
innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000
faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top
producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel
laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national
academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and
secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more
information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit