FAA Releases Drone Registration Numbers

FAA Releases Drone Registration Numbers


The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday released two databases of all registered commercial and hobby drones in the U.S., five months after announcing a rule that all owners of drones greater than 0.55 pounds need to register their aerial vehicles online with the government.

California is home to Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, and now — it appears — Silicon Sky. The state comes in No. 1 for having the most registered drones, both in the commercial and hobby space.


In the commercial drone space, Menlo Park, Calif. takes the cake for having the most registered drones. Menlo Park, which has 176 registered drones, is one of the cities that makes up Silicon Valley and is home to Facebook Inc. (which is working on drones of its own). It’s also home to startups such as drone delivery company Matternet and Skydio, which was founded by a team of researchers from MIT and Google’s drone team, and creates drones that are smart enough to react to and avoid obstacles like trees, similar to DJI’s Phantom 4.

Other areas topping the list include Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, as well as Los Angeles and its neighboring city Burbank, where crews are increasingly using drones to shoot Hollywood films.

Cities with the most registered commercial drones

Ranking City Number of users registered to operate commercial drones
1 Menlo Park, Calif. 176
2 Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala. 138
3 Los Angeles 83
4 San Diego 61
5 Austin, Texas 59
6 Burbank, Calif. 57
7 Houston 53
7 Atlanta 53
9 Miami 50
10 Portland 46
Source: Federal Aviation Adminstration

And if you’re looking for drones being used for hobby purposes, look to Houston. The city is No. 1 with 3,061 registered hobby drone users. But Houston also comes in the top 10 for having the most registered commercial drone users.

Dyan Gibbens, founder and CEO of Houston-based drone company Trumbull Unmanned, says she’s not at all surprised that Houston ranks so high for commercial drone use, given Houston’s strong energy sector.

“Houston is supportive of innovation, and when you look at oil and gas companies, they are really technology companies,” she said. “Drones make operations better, faster and safer.”


Cities with the most registered hobby drone users

Ranking City Number of users registered to
operate hobby drones
1 Houston 3,061
2 San Diego 2,445
3 Austin 2,111
4 Los Angeles 2,104
5 Miami 2,047
6 Las Vegas 2,028
7 San Jose 1,955
8 Phoenix 1,799
9 San Antonio 1,775
10 Chicago 1,664
Source: Federal Aviation Adminstration

Nearly a half a million drone users have registered for hobby purposes since registration opened in December. And Goldman Sachs says the market is only growing. The consumer drone industry will grow from a $1.6 billion market in 2015 to a $3.3 billion market by 2020, according to a March 2016 Goldman report.

*Note that commercial drone operators must register each drone they operate. Hobby drone users must register themselves, so the number doesn’t factor in how many drones they actually have.

By: Sally French
Source: Marketwatch


Check out the interactive maps of the commercial and for-hobby-use drone registrations:

Link to interactive Commercial Use Registration Map

Link to for-hobby-use Registration Map



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Author: Felix

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