This week, Congressman Rudy Yakym (IN-02) and Congressman Rob Menendez (NJ-08) introduced the Increasing Competitiveness for American Drones Act. This comprehensive, bipartisan legislation is a much needed step towards streamlining the approvals process for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights and bringing the regulation of drones in the United States up to speed with current technologies. Key provisions in this legislation include:

  • Requiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to enable commercial BVLOS operations.
  • Establishing a new risk methodology that determines the regulatory scrutiny for pilot certification, airworthiness, and operating rules based on the size of the drone
  • Establishing the Office of the Associate Administrator of UAS Integration at the FAA. 

“Making sure the U.S. stays ahead of the curve on drones is essential to maintaining our competitive edge globally,” said Congressman Yakym. “Unfortunately, our current regulatory environment is holding us back. By cutting red tape and streamlining the approval process for drone operations, we can preserve American leadership in aviation and unleash the potential for drones to be used for a whole host of innovative opportunities, from agriculture to infrastructure to delivery systems. I am proud to lead this effort in the House along with Congressman Menendez as we work to prioritize safe drone integration into our airspace and ultimately benefit the people we represent.”

“America has long been a global leader in technological innovation and it is time we recognize the value drones can bring to communities across the country,” said Congressman Menendez. “I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation that will promote American leadership on this critical innovative front while creating a robust framework to enable commercial drone use.”

“Commercial drone operations provide valuable services to the American public and workforce – but significant regulatory hurdles are hampering these benefits from reaching their fullest potential and jeopardize U.S. global leadership in aviation,” said Chief Advocacy Officer of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Michael Robbins. “The regulatory challenges are not driven by safety, they are hampered by bureaucracy. We accordingly have urged Congress to prioritize commonsense drone integration. We are so grateful for the support of Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD), who championed the Increasing Competitiveness for American Drones Act (ICAD) in the Senate. We applaud Rep. Yakym, the Vice-Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, and Rep. Menendez, a key member of the Aviation Subcommittee with whom we’ve worked on several UAS-related issues, on taking the critical step of introducing a House companion. This legislation would bring significant benefits to Reps. Yakym and Menendez’s constituencies in Indiana and New Jersey, respectively, and around the nation. AUVSI is proud to endorse this House companion version of ICAD, and we continue to urge Congress to include it as part of their critical work this year to pass a multi-year FAA Reauthorization.” 

“This bill addresses so many needs across manifold use cases,” said the Small UAV Coalition Counsel Greg Walden. “It will increase efficiencies by providing structural reforms to the FAA certification and approval processes, enabling the industry to scale beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) commercial operations. It is a recipe for success for a thriving US-based drone industry to serve US customer demand.” 

“The Commercial Drone Alliance applauds the introduction of H.R. 3459, the Increasing Competitiveness for American Drones Act of 2023, and we thank Rep. Rudy Yakym and Rep. Rob Menendez for their leadership to move uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) integration forward,” said Commercial Drone Alliance Executive Director Lisa Ellman. “Technology has moved quickly ahead, while policy has lagged behind. As companies scale safe commercial drone operations to meet consumer demand around the world, the U.S. lags behind other countries in developing policy to enable this beneficial technology. The provisions contained in H.R. 3459 enable the U.S. to enhance our global leadership in advanced aviation as a national security and economic imperative.”

Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.