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FAA Re-Registration Final Rule

August 2010

The FAA published the final rule for Re-registration and Renewal of Aircraft Registration in the Federal Register on July 20, 1010, with all changes becoming effective by October 1, 2010. In summary, all aircraft registrations issued on or after October 1, 2010, will be good for three years with the expiration date clearly shown. Aircraft registered before October 1, 2010, will be required to re-register within the next three years according to a process based on the month when the original registration was established. Go here to view the Aircraft Re-Registration Schedule.

Why is the FAA doing this?

It has always been an established registration requirement to provide prompt reporting when an aircraft has changed ownership, mailing address or been destroyed. Without these reports, the FAA cannot maintain an accurate database. Registrations have been revoked by The Registry due to lack of reporting changes, but this is a slow and expensive process. In cases where the owner’s registration revocation notice is undeliverable, the aircraft may continue to be in operation even though it is unregistered unbeknownst to the owner.

According to the FAA, roughly a third of the 357,000 registered aircraft have inaccurate records and they anticipate at least 100,000 of these will not re-register. This Re-registration and renewal process will clear the inactive aircraft from the database and give the FAA a more accurate picture of the state of the aviation industry, especially general aviation.

Re-registration Process

Approximately six (6) months prior to an aircraft’s registration expiration, the Registry will mail a notice to aircraft’s owner at the address on record. This notice will contain the aircraft’s registration expiration date and basic re-registration instructions. Owners will have a three (3) month window to file the re-registration and pay a fee (currently $5) to ensure receipt of the new certificate before the old certificate expires. For owners whose information has not changed, registration may be done online. For owners whose information has changed, the application will need to be submitted by mail or in person with the fee.

Two months before expiration, a second notice will be sent out to owners who have not yet registered. When an aircraft is not re-registered or the registration is not renewed, the cancellation of the N-number assigned to that aircraft will take place approximately 90 days after the expiration of an aircraft's registration. Upon cancellation, an N-number will be unavailable for assignment or reservation for a period of five years.

Best way to prepare for Re-Registration:

  • Look up your aircraft on the Search Aircraft Registration Information web page and verify that the mailing addresses and the names of owners shown are correct.
  • If the mailing address is wrong, the owner should update the address promptly.
  • If an ownership change has occurred, the seller should report the sale to the Registry, and the purchaser should submit their application for registration, evidence of ownership and $5 registration fee to the Registry as soon as possible.

There are other changes contained within this Final Rule. They can be found on the FAA’s Aircraft Re-Registration / Renewal website.

For more information, contact your local FAA office.

Questions?