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Meanwhile, lawmakers and analysts say the FAA is woefully behind the schedule mandated by Congress to integrate drones into airspace alongside planes and helicopters by September 2015.

As the agency continues its complex task, the legal status of civilian and commercial drones is in doubt.

A National Transportation Safety Board judge ruled in March that no enforceable regulations under current FAA rules prohibit the use of drones for commercial activity.

The FAA has appealed the decision.

Lawmakers, drone manufacturers and industries looking to take advantage of the craft — including agriculture, aerial photography, filmmaking and media — are looking to the FAA to issue firm rules and clear up the growing confusion.

The hopes of that happening by September 2015, however, are dimming by the day.

“Sometimes government bureaucrats are too cautious in the way they hold people back,” Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, New Jersey Republican, said in May at the drone industry’s annual trade show in Orlando, Florida. Mr. LoBiondo chairs the House Transportation Committee’s subcommittee on aviation.

“We’re going to find ways to convince the FAA that they need to speed up the process. If we are too cautious through this whole process, we’re going to miss this whole opportunity that may never come back again,” he said.