Corvallis, Ore.-based VDOS Global uses aerial robotics and remote sensing to provide oil and gas inspections, environmental research, aerial surveying and other services using for its clients around the world. (VDOS image)

FAA Drone Registry Tops 1 Million

The 1,000,000 total registration figure includes 878,000 hobbyists, who receive one identification number for all of the drones they own, and 122,000 commercial, public, and other drones, which are individually registered.

The Federal Aviation Administration's drone registry has topped 1 million, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. She said the 1,000,000 total registration figure includes 878,000 hobbyists, who receive one identification number for all of the drones they own, and 122,000 commercial, public, and other drones, which are individually registered.

"The tremendous growth in drone registration reflects the fact that they are more than tools for commerce and trade, but can save lives, detect hazardous situations, and assist with disaster recovery," Chao said. "The challenge is to remove unnecessary hurdles to enable the safe testing and integration of this technology into our country's airspace."

Registration helps to educate drone operators who are new to aviation by having them agree to FAA's operating rules, and it increases airspace security by identifying drones with their owner, according to FAA, which reported it has used the registration database to push important safety messages to drone users.

Registration was originally required under FAA's small drone registration rule effective Dec. 21, 2015. Under this rule, aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds, including payloads such as cameras, must be registered. Though it was overturned by a court decision in 2017, the rule was recently reinstated in the National Defense Authorization Act passed last December.

Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years.

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