Almost 300,000 drones have been registered with the FAA

Success for the FAA, but no one knows how many are unregistered

The Federal Aviation Administration says its drone registration system has hit almost 300,000 registrations, one month after launch.

The figure points to some success for the database, which was introduced on Dec. 21 and is aimed at instilling a mindset of safety in drone pilots, but is still well behind industry estimates of the number of drones sold in 2015 -- those were forecasting sales of around 700,000 drones.

So there's either still a lot of drones to be registered or those sales estimates are off. No one really knows.

Whatever the actual number out there, registrations continue to rise. When last updated on Jan. 6, the FAA said it had 181,000 registrations. It costs $5 and that charge was being refunded for the first month, which ended on Thursday.

The database covers the pilot, not a specific drone, and is a response to a number of incidents in which drones were flown in controlled airspace, where they can pose a danger to manned aircraft. While it carries the possibility of criminal fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years, the FAA really just wants to get drone pilots playing by the rules.

And the rules are fairly simple: don't fly within five miles of an airport without permission from the tower; don't fly above 400 feet; don't fly at night; keep your drone within sight; and keep out of no-fly zones like national parks.

The registration process is fairly simple and takes a few minutes to complete online. Speaking earlier this month at CES in Las Vegas, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the agency was looking to make it even easier, perhaps allowing registration at time of purchase by simply scanning the bar code of the drone.

While all drone pilots who purchased drones after Dec. 21 are required to register before their first flight outdoors, those who owned drones prior to that date have been given more time. The deadline for those folks to register is Feb. 21.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags drones

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

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

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?