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The House Science, Space and Technology Committee got up close and personal on Wednesday with the drones the federal government is tasked with regulating. To demonstrate the innocuous nature of small personal drones, 3D Robotics' Colin Guinn had a craft flown right there in the room where the hearing was being held. The spectacle held the attention of everyone in the room, and Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, seemed almost childishly pleased.

"I was hoping you'd fly it over the whole room," he told Guinn, who responded: "Well, you said no haircuts!"

Returning to business, Guinn explained that permitting ownership and flight of such small unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, was the most logical way to begin regulating. "If we start somewhere, as many other countries have, with the smallest, lightest weight systems," he said, "we're basically using a proportional and risk-based system for regulation."

The flight was captured on C-SPAN, which subsequently posted a clip on Facebook. You can watch the whole two-hour hearing here as well — the drone demonstration takes place about half an hour in.



—Devin Coldewey