FAA: There Are Now More Drones Registered Than Piloted Aircraft

What’s that in the sky — is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a swarm of drones, blacking out the sun as they rise as one to push other aircraft out of the sky. At least, that’s the vision we got after the Federal Aviation Administration announced that drone registrations have now outstripped registrations for piloted aircraft.

From small planes like the Cessna to the hulking mass of a Dreamliner, the FAA says there are 320,000 piloted aircraft registered with the agency right now, compared to 325,000 people who have registered their drones, FAA administrator Michael Huerta told media outlets at a press conference, including USA Today.

There could be even more drones out there than 325,000, potentially, as each drone registration number can apply to any number of aircraft an owner wants to fly. To that end, Huerta says the average operator has 1.5 recreational drones.

“We’re very encouraged by the registration numbers we’ve seen so far,” Huerta said. “Safety is at the heart of this new registration system. We need to bring the unmanned aircraft enthusiasts into the culture that has characterized aviation throughout its history – that is a culture of safety and a culture of responsibility.”

There’s a deadline of Feb. 19 to register any previously owned drones, and if you get a new one, you’re supposed to register it before it flies for the first time.

FAA: Drone registration eclipses that of regular planes [USA Today]