The latest numbers indicate that more than 400,000 operators have registered their drones, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced March 11, noting that the number of registered drones in the United States has surpassed the number of aircraft in the U.S. registry, which is more than 320,000.
Unlike aircraft registration, which is per aircraft, drone registration is per operator. So, each registration represents multiple drones. Huerta said the average is 1.5 drones per operator.
Huerta gave a keynote address during the 2016 International Women in Aviation Conference in Nashville, before traveling to South by Southwest March 14 in Austin, Texas, where he also spoke about drones, among other topics.
The FAA considers drone operators a new class of aviators, he said, and is focused on educating operators about the National Airspace System, getting them to register their aircraft, and taking enforcement action against those who willfully break the rules.
“We have to make sure they know what the rules are,” Huerta told WAI attendees.
As part of an educational effort, Huerta said the FAA is encouraging drone operators to become members of model aircraft clubs and to learn more about safe operation through the Know Before You Fly campaign.
After his keynote address, Women in Aviation International President Dr. Peggy Chabrian asked Huerta if he had a drone. He does, and, he said, it’s registered.