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Rep. Molinaro Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Advance Unmanned Aerial Systems Technology & Create Jobs

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro (NY-19) today introduced the Drone Safety and Efficiency Act. This bill will advance unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology and create good-paying jobs by streamlining the process for UAS operators to receive approval for flying at a distance that is outside of the normal visible range of the pilot, also known as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). Rep. Molinaro introduced this bipartisan bill with U.S. Reps. Menendez (D-NJ-8), Mann (R-KS-1), and Gottheimer (D-NJ-5).

BVLOS operations have emerged as a versatile solution with a wide range of applications, including to achieve public safety goals, conduct agricultural surveys such as livestock counts and health assessments, carry out long-range bridge inspections, and deliver vital goods to rural areas. In a remarkable display of its potential, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services in New York State successfully completed 115 emergency response missions last year. Simultaneously, the New York UAS Test Site in Central New York has been at the forefront of testing UAS technology, driving innovation for diverse civilian and military applications and employing hundreds of operators and technicians.

To fly BLVOS, UAS operators must navigate an approval process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that is difficult to navigate, at times unclear, and under the purview of many different FAA employees. The Drone Safety and Efficiency Act creates a standardized FAA review process, requires the FAA to use the same employees to review requests, and makes it easier for applicants to get approved if they own the property they seek to fly over.

Rep. Molinaro said, “My bipartisan bill removes red tape to help UAS technology advance, create more local jobs, and allow New York to be on the cutting-edge of innovation. In New York, we have a robust UAS industry that’s supporting good-paying jobs. We’re just getting started. UAS technology has tremendous potential and New Yorkers should be leading the way.”

Rep. Gottheimer said, “In Congress, I’m dedicated to working across the aisle to cut red tape, unleash more economic opportunity, and create jobs in Jersey. I’m proud to help lead the bipartisan Drone Safety and Efficiency Act to lay out a path for businesses looking to innovate their industries by capitalizing on commercial drone technology — while ensuring there are necessary safety rules in place.”