Pie in the sky: Williamsburg pizzeria delivers by drone

Taking flight: Maxwell Cohn, right, operates a pizza-delivery drone as Bruce Besse, center, and Williamsburg Pizza owner Charles Walters, left, look on.
Photo by Paul Martinka

It was one small step for pizza, and one giant leap for pizza delivery.

The mad genius behind Williamsburg Pizza made history on Nov. 6 when he launched pizza delivery into the drone age with a test drop-off by remote-controlled helicopter. The customer whose yard served as a landing pad for the pie and its daring delivery mechanism said the pilot program is ready for takeoff.

“It was a really fun experience, and delicious pizza,” said Phyllis Brody, a neighbor of the pizza shop’s owner, Charles Walters, in Prospect Heights.

Like the Wright brothers’ inaugural 12-second flight at Kitty Hawk 111 years prior, the pizza’s history-making trip was short, from the top of Walters’ four-story home into Brody’s outstretched arms next door.

There are some kinks to work out before large-scale drone delivery becomes a reality. The first delivery flight of the evening ended in tragedy when the unmanned device crashed, losing its precious cargo in the process, according to a New York Post report. And of course, drone flight is a legal gray area, and piloting the devices in busy areas in New York carries potential legal penalties. But Williamsburg Pizza, undeterred by such terrestrial concerns, is offering a drone delivery option on its website (punching in an order this way gets you a lengthy disclaimer full of caveats that make it unclear if or when your pie might take to the sky). Whenever the kinks get worked out, Brody is ready to receive her pepperonis from on high.

“I would definitely get my pizza delivered by drones once it’s perfected,” she said.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhuro‌witz@‌cnglo‌cal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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