Residents and visitors of Ocracoke Island prize the calm and seclusion its remoteness affords. Yet that distance from off North Carolina’s coast also makes getting supplies to locals facing emergency extreme weather difficult – a problem drones may help Ocracoke solve.

Emergency drone supply flights to North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island

Last week North Carolina officials undertook two successful test flights of drones to Ocracoke carrying symbolic payloads of emergency supplies and water. The Volansi fixed-wing craft made the eight-mile roundtrips from nearby Otter Banks island Hatteras in around 18 minutes, using a Federal Aviation Administration waiver for beyond visual line of sight restrictions. Those trial runs added a new transport option for Ocracoke, which had only been accessible by boat or small plane.

Authorities eventually hope to start testing 20-mile flights across the Pamlico Sound from the mainland.

“This is a tremendous first step in better…