Las Vegas is Home to the Most Registered Drone Users in the US

Researchers weigh in on why this particular spot in the country is filled with UAVs. 

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Five numbers, 89117. This little Las Vegas ZIP code is home to the most registered recreational drone users in the United States. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, researchers at Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone waded through the drone registry database created by the Federal Aviation Administration and found that as of Oct. 31, Las Vegas, Nevada holds the crown. 

The analysis by Bard College found that up until this past Halloween, 836,796 recreational drone users and 106,739 non-recreational drone users had registered with the FAA. The national drone registry, once required by federal law (as recently as 2015), has faced scrutiny and was eventually overturned. The Drive recently reported that the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, with its inclusion of a newer version of the drone registry, could result in its reinstatement. Whether that pans out or not, we have yet to see.

Co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone, Arthur Holland Michel, said that his team of researchers “found that the ZIP with the most hobbyist drone users in the country is actually 89117 in Las Vegas, with 672 registrations.” Now, that may not seem like a lot in comparison to the total tally mentioned above, but when that sum is dispersed between all 50 states, 672 is quite the amount of drone registrations for one, singular ZIP code to contain. Reportedly, it surpassed the next highest ZIP code in regards to drone registrations—77494 in Katy, Texas, with more than 200 registrations.

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“Las Vegas has been one of the more active cities when it comes to the drone industry,” Michel explained. “It’s a city that comes up more often than many other cities in the country.” Why is this particular Las Vegas ZIP code so much more popular when it comes to UAVs? It’s an interesting question. 

Michael Sherwood, director of information technologies in the city of Las Vegas, has a theory. Reportedly, he strongly considers that it’s the growth in development and housing, that has caused such an upswing in UAV use in the area. It would make sense, for a city so active in construction, to utilize this new, affordable, effective tool for monitoring and inspection purposes. “We were one of the first areas to start doing aerial footage of homes,” said Sherwood. “I think it speaks well for Las Vegas. It is a high-tech community, and these numbers really prove it.”