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H.R. 658: RISE OF THE DRONES (and musical instruments on commercial airliners)
H. R. 658—63
SEC. 332. INTEGRATION OF CIVIL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
INTO NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM.
(a) REQUIRED PLANNING FOR INTEGRATION
(1) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.—Not later than 270 days after
the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transpor-
tation, in consultation with representatives of the aviation
industry, Federal agencies that employ unmanned aircraft sys-
tems technology in the national airspace system, and the
unmanned aircraft systems industry, shall develop a com-
prehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil
unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.
.—Not later than 18 months after the date
on which the plan required under subsection (a)(1) is submitted
to Congress under subsection (a)(4), the Secretary shall publish
in the Federal Register—
(1) a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems that
will allow for civil operation of such systems in the national
airspace system, to the extent the systems do not meet the
requirements for expedited operational authorization under sec-
tion 333 of this Act;
Indeed, if you search for H.R. 658 on Google you'll find all kinds of anti-drone rhetoric about how this bill paves the way for 30,000 drones to be deployed throughout the United States. How they came up with 30,000, I don't know. To me, it sounds like this is simply paving the way to test drones and get them integrated with the FAA's flight control systems. There will probably be a separate bill for actual drone deployment. Then again, I'm not a lawyer; what do I know?
What was more interesting to me was how divided the party lines were, and the fact that Obama signed this with Democrat opposition. Was this just a case of horse trading so he could get what he wanted with some other bill? Or does Obama really believe in drones? To me, it seems that if we never test for the feasibility of drones, then we never have to worry about drones being deployed here. Obama signing a bill to authorize this type of testing to me means that he supports drones. Maybe we can trust Obama not to abuse them, but who says that the next administration won't be so good?