On February 11, 2016, H.R. 4441 – the Aircraft Innovation Reform and Reauthorization Act (“AIRR Act”) passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (“T&I Committee”). According to T&I Committee chairman, Representative Bill Shuster, “[t]he committee considered approximately 75 amendments during today’s meeting and more than half of them were approved.” Of the amendments which were passed, the ones affecting the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) include the following:

  • An amendment striking the liability insurance requirement from risked-based permitting of UAS.
  • An amendment to establish a micro category for commercial drones.
  • An amendment to increase civil penalties for operators of UAS which recklessly interfere with wildfire suppression.

The AIRR Act is expected to be heard by the full House later in February. The bill as introduced is available here, and the list of approved amendments is available here (the revised text of the bill has not yet been made available).