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Unmanned Aircraft Outnumber US Planes, FAA Confirms

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

29 February 2016


The introduction of a new drone registration requirement by the US aviation sector regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, has led to the revelation that there are more drones operational in the US than piloted aircraft.

The figures were announced by the FAA days before the end of the registration deadline of February 19. It said that, by February 16, 342,000 people had registered as owning a drone weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. This means that there are more drones in the United States than the 320,000 registered aircraft, and potentially significantly more, as those who have registered have 1.5 drones on average.

The registration requirement was introduced to increase the FAA's ability to tackle the improper use of unmanned aircraft, as it has frequently received reports from pilots of near-miss incidents involving drones.

Owners of unmanned aircraft were required to register to receive a certificate and an FAA registration number, which must be marked on all unmanned aircraft that meet the registration weight requirement.

Those who own an unmanned aircraft in the US must now carry a certificate when using their drone(s), either by printing it off or keeping a copy in electronic form.

Alongside the February 16 announcement of the statistics, FAA Administration Michael Huerta said: "Besides being required by law, registration provides an excellent opportunity to educate yourself if you are new to aviation, and it will help you become part of the safety culture that has been the hallmark of traditional aviation for more than a century."

Failure to register with the FAA could result in one or a combination of the following: a civil penalty of up to USD27,500; a criminal fine of up to USD250,000; or imprisonment for up to three years.

TAGS: law | aviation

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