Aircraft Re-Registration

Re-Registration and Renewal of Aircraft Registration

This Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on July 20, 2010, Page 41968.  All changes established by this rule are effective October 1, 2010.  This rule establishes specific registration expiration dates over a three-year period for all aircraft registered before October 1, 2010, and requires re-registration of those aircraft according to a specific schedule.  All aircraft registrations issued on or after October 1, 2010, will be good for three years with the expiration date clearly shown.

Why Re-registration & Renewal?

About one-third of today’s 357,000 registered aircraft have inaccurate records. At least 100,000 of these are not expected to re-register.  Prompt reporting of a change in aircraft ownership, mailing address, or destruction has long been required by registration regulations.  Without these reports from the owners the aircraft records could not be updated.  The Registry has revoked registrations due to unreported changes; however, this process is slow and expensive.  In many cases registration would be revoked, but owners whose notices were undeliverable would be unaware and continue to operate their now unregistered aircraft.

Re-registration of eligible aircraft takes place between October 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, updating the U.S. Civil Aircraft Register with current data derived from recent contact with aircraft owners.  Renewal of registration every third year, with other new tools, enables the Aircraft Registration Branch (Registry) to keep aircraft registration information current.

“These improvements will give us better knowledge about the state of the aviation industry, especially general aviation,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We also are responding to calls from law enforcement and other government agencies for more accurate, up-to-date registration data.”

Re-registration, renewal and expiration will clear inactive aircraft from the database.  The availability of on-line processing to many owners, and periodic FAA reminders to renew the certificate, should maintain the gains in accuracy and currency. This is essential to safety, regulatory enforcement, and all levels of law enforcement.

How does Re-registration and Renewal Work?

  • Approximately six months before an aircraft’s registration expires, the Registry will mail a notice with instructions to the owner using the mailing address of record.  The notice will identify the expiration date, and the three month window during which application must be made to ensure receipt of the new certificate before the old certificate expires.
  • The third, fourth & fifth months before expiration make up the timely filing window. A code provided in the notice allows on-line re-registration and payment of the $5 fee when there are no changes in ownership, address, or citizenship to report.  If there are changes to report, the form can be completed on-line, printed, signed, and mailed with the $5 fee.
  • Two months before expiration, the timely filing window and opportunity for on-line re-registration closes.  Remaining applications and fees must be mailed to the Registry.
  • Two months before expiration, a second notice will be sent to owners of registered aircraft for which the Registry has not yet received an application for re-registration.
  • Upon expiration of registration the owner of an unregistered aircraft will be sent notice of the scheduled cancellation of the N-number and their option to reserve the N-number.  Once canceled, the N-number will not be available for assignment or reservation for the next five years.
  • Notices will not be sent to addresses from which mail has been returned as undeliverable.
  • Renewal follows the same process.

Other changes in the regulations

With these changes the Registry and other system users will be better able to distinguish between validly registered aircraft and unregistered aircraft as the time aircraft are in transitional statuses will be limited.

  • When aircraft registration has ended as prescribed by §47.41 (e.g., expiration, destruction, etc.) the assignment of an N-number is no longer authorized for use. (The exception remains for the 90 day temporary operating authority of the second, or “pink,” copy of the Aircraft Registration Application, following ownership transfers under §47.31(c)).
  • Six months after notice from the owner of an ownership transfer, if application for registration has not been made, the Registry will schedule the assigned N-number for cancellation.
  • Twelve months after a purchaser has filed evidence of ownership and applied for registration, if the applicant or successive applicants have not met the requirements for registration, then the Registry will schedule the assigned N-Number for cancellation.
  • Temporary operating authority, evidenced after the sale of a registered aircraft by retention and display of the second, or “pink,” copy or the application for registration, will not be extended beyond one year from the date of the first application for registration filed.
  • Six months after a dealer’s certificate holder has submitted evidence of ownership under § 47.67 and the dealer has not met registration requirements, the Registry will schedule the N-number for cancellation.
  • When a dealer’s certificate expires, any aircraft registered under that certificate would be without registration and must be registered under normal registration procedures of § 47.31 or §47.63; or the N-number will be scheduled for cancellation.
  • The effective date of an aircraft’s registration is now the date on which the Registry determines that the submissions meet the requirements of Part 47.
  • An expired, aircraft registration certificate must be destroyed by its holder instead of returning it to the Registry.
  • Each person signing an aircraft registration application or a document submitted as supporting evidence under Part 47 must also type or legibly print their name in the signature block.
  • The Triennial Registration Report program is eliminated.
  • Minor changes to establish consistency and ensure the regulations conform to statute or current Registry practices.