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A Potential Giant Step Forward For US Drone Regulation!

Published: 16/02/2016
By: larry

DJIPhantom3Peter Sachs has an article last week over at and on (Peter's site) explaining the new amendment to the AIRR Act which is the latest FAA Reauthorization Act.

Peter's article says:

On February 11, 2016, Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis introduced an innovative Micro Drone amendment to the AIRR Act, which is the latest FAA Reauthorization Act. The amendment creates a new “Micro UAS Classification” of unmanned aircraft systems, and would permit non-hobbyists to operate the smallest and the safest drones under regulations that are safety-oriented, but contain simplified and streamlined requirements and restrictions. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee voted to accept the Micro Drone amendment and approved the entire AIRR Act, as amended.

Read the rest of the article here.

The significance of this development to real estate UAS flyers is that this new "Micro UAS Classification" will apply to UASs 2 kg (4.4 lbs) or less, which from the research that I've done is the majority of Drones being used by real estate photographers/videographers (except for large UASs carrying full-size DSLRs). That is, apparently all DJI's are all 1280 grams (2.8 lbs) or less, well within the Micro UAS classification. Thanks to Greg Utton for straightening me out on DJI weights - I was looking at weights from Amazon which are not correct or are shipping weights and are all over 4.4 lbs.

However, this potential giant step forward for small drone pilots is just a small piece of HR 4441 (the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (AIRR) act of 2016) which is legislation that would privatize and modernize the US air traffic control system and redefine the FAA as we know it. This bill has yet to pass the House and Senate, let alone be signed into law. Who knows if HR 4441 will ever make it into law or how long it will take!

7 comments on “A Potential Giant Step Forward For US Drone Regulation!”

  1. This is big news! Hopefully they can pass this stuff and get rid of the "31 convoluted and burdensome conditions"! GO Congressman Rodney Davis!

  2. This is great news! Altho, now I'm kind of regretting upgrading to an Inspire 1 as they are 6.47 lbs with battery. =(

  3. "The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee voted to accept the Micro Drone amendment and approved the entire AIRR Act, as amended."

    So what needs to happen now for this to go live so to speak!?!?

  4. @Sean - The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has created the AIRR act, when it approves something the next thing that happens it goes to the floor of the House of Representatives and is voted on. If the House approves it then it goes to the Senate and is voted on and amended etc. If and when the Senate approves it has to be signed by the current president. After a President signs it, it's law.

    The reason this all is still a "long shot" is the main purpose of the AIRR Act is to completely take the US air traffic control system away from the FAA (the government) and turn it over to private industry. This whole subject will be hugely controversial and needs to be decided by a Congress and President that rarely agree on what time of day it is, let alone how to reinvent the FAA and the US Air Traffic Control system! Clearly all this is extremely important and we need it all yesterday, but when is the last time Congress has made a quick decision on anything? It's too bad the Micro-Drone amendment couldn't be a separate bill that could be fast-tracked throuh the Congress and be made law next week, but that's not how they to things in Washington.

  5. Do not hold your breath, this is a lot of BS and in the end will be like a "Fart" that gets a lot of attention, but in the end does nothing.

    Anyone with common sense can see the foolery of this stupid congressman's proposal. He does not see the big picture.

  6. The DJI Inspire 1 is 6.47 pounds. It's not nearly as large as the hex or octo UAVs that carry a DSLR and the safety features (geofencing, return to home, altitude limits) are the same as the Phantom models. I think there needs to be a category for "small" or S-UAVs. The term "micro" implies the little ones that fit on the palm of your hand.

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