More than 550,000 drones have been registered with the Federal Aviation Administration since the agency began accepting registrations this year, and 2,000 new registrations are coming in daily. Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA's drone office, said 5,080 people have passed a drone license test, while 13,710 people have applied to take the test.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the agency plans to hire 10,000 air traffic controllers over the next 10 years. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, meet age requirements and be willing to relocate to one of 315 FAA sites across the U.S. Applicants must also display "three years of progressively responsible work experience, or a Bachelor's degree, or a combination of education and work experience that totals three years."
The Federal Aviation Administration said it will leave privacy concerns up to sites for drone testing. The agency plans to select six sites by the end of 2013. "The test sites will provide invaluable information that will help us develop policies and procedures to ensure safe, responsible and transparent integration," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in a statement.
Though the Federal Aviation Administration says it still may have to close air traffic control towers at 149 small-and medium-size airports operated by contractors, it says it will keep towers at mid-size airports open at night. The FAA formerly said it would have to cut tower service at night at the mid-size airports, but Congress passed a measure to make funding available so the towers can stay open during overnight shifts.
According to a forecast by the Federal Aviation Administration, the general aviation fleet will add 50,000 airplanes and 52,000 active pilots by 2030. "This forecast makes a very strong business case for NextGen," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.