Drone Flies Into Capitol Hill Hearing

The hearing got a whole lot more interesting thanks to a drone demonstration.

— -- This may be a congressional first -- a drone flying overhead in a House committee room.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing today in the Rayburn House Office Building on the research and development of unmanned aircraft systems. One of the witnesses, Colin Guinn, CRO of 3D Robotics, brought a Parrot Bebop Drone, a $499 device weighing just over one pound, for a demonstration.

The red-and-black drone buzzed around the side of the committee room, flying in place for over a minute while Guinn testified. The drone did not get near any of the lawmakers or fly over anyone’s head, much to the disappointment of Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the committee.

“I was hoping you’d fly it over the whole room instead of one place,” Smith said.

“You said, ‘No haircuts,’” Guinn answered.

Ahead of the short drone flight, Smith said the demonstration may have been the first of its kind and noted the committee had to obtain special permission to have a drone flying in the committee room.

“The rules are still pretty strict,” Smith said.