The FAA is the largest membership organization because a $5 fee is mandatory for drone registration.
FAA Drone Registration
On January 10, 2018 U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the total number of drones now registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has eclipsed one million. The figure includes 878,000 hobbyists, who receive one identification number for all the drones they own, and 122,000 commercial, public and other drones, which are individually registered.
Other drone pilot memberships are voluntary. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a Frederick, Maryland-based American non-profit political organization that advocates for general aviation. AOPA charges $69 basic membership annually with legal help for higher membership. Includes regular pilots with a total of 100,000 plus members.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is the world's largest model aviation association and boasts a membership of more than 195,000 people. In recent years quadcopters have entered the scene and the AMA has shifted to take them in along with the interests of drone pilots and the aerial photography community. The AMA has been very vocal about the recent FAA Reauthorization and repeal of Section 336. Section 336 effectively prevented the FAA from bringing in new rules for recreational flyers - a rule that's allowed model aircraft communities to operate unregulated by the FAA.
Drone Pilots Association
The Drone Pilots Association represents the interests of non-hobbyist small drone pilots. Free to join for anyone who is interested and is an online forum of 99,887 members.
The International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) offers liability insurance for drone pilots that has no drone limit, no deductibles, and worldwide coverage.
The IDRA, the world's largest association for recreational and commercial drone pilots according to them. As the premier provider for primary drone insurance, all IDRA members are covered worldwide. Standard membership is $22 month with 8000+ members sharing $1 million Insurance including an individual insurance certificate for each member. Many other drone racing associations function as events or leagues or within this drone interest group.
Another organization dedicated to bringing together professionals in the drone industry is AUVSI. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has a broader focus than the AMA - covering unmanned systems and robotics of all kinds, not just the flying types. As a member of the Remote Pilots Council, you show your clear commitment to professional operation and will gain confidence among your customers. Increase your visibility in the UAS community. Remote pilots increasingly look to AUVSI for guidance and connections, and our members gain visibility throughout the community of their peers. $150 a year membership cost and claim to be largest drone pilot association.
Drone Pilots Federation
Drone Pilots Federation is a non-profit educational organization with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status incorporated in the United States. As of January 1, 2017, they have approximately 400 members located in over 35 countries. Membership is free.
Women in Aviation International (WAI) has reached out to the drone community, via the Women and Drones organization, to encourage women involved with drone operations to be part of WAI. From now until December 31 2017, Women and Drones members are eligible for a discounted membership in WAI of $40 per year. Women who fly drones or operate UAS for business entities can claim this discount by using the promo code WID17 when signing up at wai.org.
Other drone pilot cooperatives function more like Uber and attempt to accumulate a database of drone pilots are refer them work for a fee. Dronebase is an example of this type of group.
Drone Pilot Ground School
Commercial drone pilots must pass a FAA part 107 test and several education organizations offer classes and test preparation assistance for a fee as part of their membership. Drone Pilot Ground School is one of the larger examples of a company that assists with initial FAA commercial drone registration.