The oxford dictionary defines pilot as:
A person who operates the flying controls of an aircraft
So, technically, the drone operator should be called a pilot.
FAA National Policy Order 8130.34C Airworthiness Certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Optionally Piloted Aircraft Section 6 specifically calls the person operating the UAS (only if it has been issued with an airworthiness certificate ) Pilot.:
- UA Pilots and Observers.
a. PIC Roles and Responsibilities.
(1) The PIC must perform crew duties for only one UA at a time.
(2) All UA flight operations must have a designated PIC. The PIC has responsibility over each flight conducted and is accountable for the UA flight operation.
(3) The PIC is responsible for the safety of the UA as well as persons and property along the UA flight path. This includes, but is not limited to, collision avoidance and the safety of persons and property in the air and on the ground.
(4) The PIC must avoid densely populated areas and congested airways in accordance with § 91.319.
The order requires the PIC to have a minimum of FAA PPL:
b. UA PIC Certification and Ratings Requirements.
(1) The PIC must hold and be in possession of, at a minimum, an FAA private pilot certificate, with either an airplane, rotorcraft, or powered-lift category; with single- or multiengine class ratings, appropriate to the type of UA being operated.
(2) The PIC must have and be in possession of a valid second-class (or higher) airman medical certificate issued under 14 CFR part 67, Medical Standards and Certification.
UK CAA also talks about 'Pilot Qualifications required to operate Unmanned Aircraft'. ICAO also uses the term 'pilot' for people controlling an UAV.
Both USAF and RAF call the UAV operators pilots- RAF calls them Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Pilots and USAF, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Pilots and they do get the 'wings'
"United States Air Force Unmanned Aircraft Operator Badge" by SSgt Austin May of the USAF - http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123170151http://www.mildenhall.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123170577. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
However, there has been no UAV pilot license issued as far as I know. The FAA issues a Remote Pilot Certificate, which is required for all non-recreational UAS flights. For exempt recreational flights, a remote pilot certificate is not required; instead, it is necessary to have passed "The Recreational UAS Safety Test" (TRUST). An RPC holder is a certificated pilot; someone who has only passed TRUST is not a certificated pilot, but may still be called a "pilot" as they are "operat[ing] the flying controls of an aircraft."