LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – A drone made history in Las Vegas when it completed the longest flight on record carrying human organs. It was one of two test flights to be carried out in Nevada.
The first took off from Southern Hills Hospital and landed a few miles away at St. Rose Dominican San Martin Campus. The second, historic flight left from McCarran Airport and landed about 10 miles away in the Las Vegas desert.
“The reason that flight is 10 miles is that that puts within 90% of the hospital systems within Las Vegas,” said MissionGO CEO Scott Plank. MissionGO is the creator of the Unmanned Aircraft System, or drone. They teamed up with the Nevada Donor Network to make the flights a reality.
The first flight carried a human cornea and the second a kidney. Both did not have intended patients and were donated for the use of medical research.
“This is not just an interesting idea, this is a quality transportation mode,” said Plank.
The company claimed that drones are not only more efficient and low-risk than a ground medical transport, they also cut costs.
“The cost of the helicopter, which has two pilots, 800 lbs. of gasoline, moving parts and it’s moving over your head. What is the cost of that per hour? Compared to a machine that weighs under a hundred pounds,” said Plank.
The Las Vegas flights were the second set of flights tested by the company. In April 2019, MissionGO delivered organs to a Baltimore hospital. Las Vegas was specifically chosen given that a majority of organs donated in Las Vegas have to be shipped to recipients in other states due to limited transplant programs locally.
MissionGO has several more flights scheduled for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.