It’s barely been 48 hours since the Federal Aviation Administration has opened mandatory registration for drone owners—and over 45,000 owners have already been registered.
The FAA wants to know about your drones, so it opened up the registration period on Monday. The agency requires anyone operating an UAV weighing between 250 grams and 55 pounds to be registered with the agency. It costs $5 a pop, but for these first 30 days, that fee will be waived. Based on today’s FAA update, tens of thousands of hobbyists are taking advantage of that deal.
The question is: Is 45,000 a lot? On one hand, no, not really. There are still who-knows-how-many unregistered pilots hovering drones around the nation—and don’t forget how many drones are expected to be sold this holiday season, and the new pilots buying them that’ll need registration. In its press release today, the FAA put that number of drones in the ballpark of 400,000. So 45,000 is barely ten percent, if you’re assuming one UAV per owner.
But, on the other hand, 45,000 is a crap ton of drones! And who knows how many folks out there own multiple drones? Take a moment to visualize an armada of at least 45,000 flying machines zeroing in on you like a flock of giant metallic killer bees. Even if the number is relatively small, 45,000 drones—equal to the population of many small cities—sounds like a big amount.
At the moment, the FAA has temporarily shut down the registration site for maintenance tonight and Wednesday night. They’re prepping the site for an anticipated registration rush of small UAVs that’ll follow the Christmas holiday. If you’re one of the many thousands getting a new drone this season, you have to register before you take it for its first flight. If you owned one before December 21, you’ve got until February 19 to let the FAA know about your old flying friend.
Update, 4:08 p.m. EST: The FAA allows you to register multiple drones with one registration number, so the post’s language was adjusted to reflect this.