The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced that almost 300,000 drone owners have now used its online registration system. The site went live 30 days ago and until today, the FAA would refund the $5 registration fee.
The biggest rush of registrations probably came in the first couple of days (about 45,000 people registered in the first two days after the site opened), but the agency says it’s still seeing a “steady stream of daily registrations.”
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean people have registered about 300,000 drones. Because you essentially register yourself as a drone pilot, wich allows you to affix your registration number to as many drones as you want to, the actual number of drones/quadcopters (and model aircraft and helicopters), is likely a bit higher.
The FAA expected people would buy almost a million drones during the holiday season. If that’s true then there are still quite a few unregistered drones flying around. I personally think that number is probably too high.
Just to recap the rules: If you own a drone that weighs between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds, and you plan to fly outdoors, you have to register your drone. If you buy one today, you have to register before you fly. If you owned your drone before December 21, you get a bit of leeway, but you still have to register before February 19, 2016, to stay on the FAA’s good side.
The FAA has until March 21 to also open this system up to commercial operators, but the details around how this will work remain unclear (and that deadline may still shift, too).