More than 181,000 consumer drones have been registered with the government since the Federal Aviation Administration rolled out a mandatory registration program two weeks ago.
About 400,000 drones were sold during the holidays, according to the Consumer Technology Association.
The requirement covers drones that weigh from roughly half a pound up to 55 pounds.
FAA director Michael Huerta said "We're encouraged by the registration numbers we are seeing so far. But this is just the beginning. It provides us with a key opportunity to educate the new generation of airspace users that as soon as they start flying outside," Huerta added. "There are safety implications to how they fly, and there are rules and regulations they must follow. It also will help them become part of the safety culture that has been deeply embedded in traditional aviation for more than a century, while still allowing for the recreation and innovation that are staples of American aviation. And, when necessary, registration will help us track down people who operate unsafely."
Drone users have complained about the fees, labeling them a "drone tax." And a drone hobbyist in Silver Spring, Md. has sued the FAA over the rules, arguing the mandate violates a federal law prohibiting the FAA from regulating recreational drones.
John A. Taylor, a multi-rotor builder and flyer living in Silver Spring, Maryland, is requesting that the court issue an order declaring that the FAA's registration rule is void and prohibited by Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, reported Forbes. He alleges that that section specifically prohibits the FAA from promulgating any new rules or regulations regarding model aircraft if they are flown for hobby or recreational purposes, Forbes said.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics, which represents more than 180,000 model aircraft enthusiasts, has asked its members to hold off on registering their drones until the legal deadline of February 19 for drones owned before December 21, 2015. The AMA has stated that it believes the FAA's new registration rule violates Section 336, reported Forbes.
AMA Director Dave Mathewson, said "AMA has been clear about our disappointment with the new rule for UAS registration. From the beginning of this process, we have argued that registration makes sense at some threshold and for those operating outside of a community-based organization or for commercial purposes. But for our members who have been flying safely for decades and who already register with AMA, we strongly believe that the new interim rule is unnecessary. That is why our Executive Council unanimously voted to look at all legal and political remedies to relieve and protect our members from regulatory burdens. On a parallel track, we are also discussing with the FAA ways to potentially streamline the registration process for our members."