According to numbers reported on Military.com, the drone pilot position is now the largest pilot position in the US Air Force. Even discounting pilots of the larger Global Hawk drones, the 1,000 pilots that currently fly the smaller Predator and Reaper drones are the largest single pilot group, easily exceeding the 889 airmen that fly the C-17 aircraft.
Given the regularity the US Air Force uses drones this is not a surprise, but it does show just how swiftly drones have made an impact on the way the US military uses air power. Drones are having similar impact on the civilians side of of things as well. It was over a year ago, in February of 2016, that the official number of registered drones surpassed the official number of registered manned aircraft. It’s also estimated that since Part 107 was passed, there has been an average of 300 new drones pilots a day. While the total number of drone pilots is still far below the number of certified pilots in the US, the number of drone pilots is rapidly increase while the numbers of manned aircraft pilots has been decreasing for years.