FAA: Drones Outnumber Airplanes


In the eight months since the FAA opened its online drone registration system, more than 500,000 hobbyists have signed up, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said today in Washington, already outnumbering the 320,000 registered manned aircraft. Huerta said the FAA now is taking further steps to ensure the drone industry can continue to grow “at the speed of Silicon Valley” without being restrained by “the speed of government.” The FAA is establishing an Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team and a Drone Advisory Committee, Huerta said, which will comprise a wide range of government, aviation and technology stakeholders.Huerta’s remarks were delivered as part of a workshop on drones held today at the White House.

“We need to incorporate unmanned aircraft and their users into our culture of safety and responsibility,” Huerta said. “But we need to do it in a way that doesn’t stifle the enthusiasm for this growing industry.” Huerta noted that later this month, on Aug. 29, the FAA’s first regulation for the routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft takes effect. That rule will allow unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds to fly in sparsely occupied areas, up to 400 feet high, and up to 100 mph during the day. He also said he hopes the FAA will have a proposal to allow unmanned aircraft operations over people by the end of this year.