‘Sparrow Aircraft’ on Display at National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie

Sparrow aircraft photo provided by Michael Smith, National Model Aviation Museum.Sparrow aircraft photo provided by Michael Smith, National Model Aviation Museum.

By Rob Kurek—

MUNCIE, IN— The National Model Aviation Museum invites visitors to view an exciting new aircraft, the Sparrow, on loan from Zipline.

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.

  • Can transport a weight of up to 4 pounds (1.8 kg).
  • With a 60-mile (100km) service radius, the aircraft can fly 120 miles in one trip.
  • The aircraft flies at an altitude of about 300 ft (90 m), briefly lowering to 65-100 ft (20- 30 m) 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 & development aircraft from NASA, military target drones, and the aircraft that flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 2003.

About Zipline

Zipline is the global instant logistics leader and designs, manufactures and operates the world’s largest automated on-demand delivery system. Currently their system operates on three continents, completes a delivery every 90 seconds,and reduces delivery emissions by up to 97% compared to traditional methods. Zipline is the trusted partner for 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. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Saturday through August, and Monday – Friday in September, closing for the 2023 season September 29.