FAA drone registrations hit 181,000

Figure is big jump in a few weeks, but short of industry hype

More than 181,000 drones have been registered in the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s new drone registration database.

"We’re very encouraged by the numbers," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta at CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday, as he announced the precise total, as of that morning, of 181,061.

The number represents a big jump on the initial 45,000 registrations when the system went live on December 21, but falls well short of preholiday industry estimates of several hundred thousand drone sales during the year-end period. That either means the number of new drone sales was much lower than hoped, or a significant number of people have not yet conducted the mandatory registration.

Huerta said he was satisfied with the number of registrations so far. He said the FAA saw spikes on Christmas Day, the day after and one around new year, and expects  another jump toward the end of the three-month grace period for pilots who had drones before the database began.

0106 huerta faa Martyn Williams

Michael Huerta, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, speaks at CES in Las Vegas on Jan. 6, 2016.

The database requires drone users to enter their name and address in return for a registration number, which needs to be marked on their drone. The registration number will allow crashed drones to be tracked back to their owner, but the system is less intended to provide tracking of drones and users and more focused on encouraging drone pilots to fly responsibly.

"Registration is all about safety," said Huerta. "It provides a key opportunity to educate a new generation of airspace users that as soon as they begin flying outside, they become pilots."

When registering, users are asked to confirm they understand the basic rules of consumer drone flight, such as the need to stay below 400 feet, fly during daylight, keep the drone within visual range and to not fly near airports.

The registration system was supported by the consumer drone industry, in part because it was eager to avoid a rush to regulation, which could curb sales.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags playCES 2016

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?