Aircraft Owners Need To Re- Register Their Aircraft Tail Number


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Aircraft Owners Need To Re-Register Their Aircraft Tail Number

Bill Goldston

September 10, 2010 - Time is running out. In an effort to create a more accurate aircraft registration database, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now requiring all civil aircraft owners to re-register their tail number and renewal every three years after that.

The rule establishes specific expiration dates over a three-year period for all aircraft registered before Oct. 1, 2010, and requires re-registration of those aircraft according to a specific schedule. All aircraft registration certificates issued on or after Oct. 1, 2010 will be good for three years with the expiration date clearly shown.

?These improvements will give us more up-to-date registration data and better information about the state of the aviation industry,? said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.


Current regulations require owners to report the sale of an aircraft, the scrapping or destruction of an aircraft, or a change in mailing address, but many owners have not complied with those requirements. Re-registration of all U.S. civil aircraft by Dec. 31, 2013 will enhance the database with current data derived from recent contact with aircraft owners. The new regulations also will ensure that aircraft owners give the FAA fresh information at least once every three years when they renew their registration. The FAA will cancel the N-numbers of aircraft that are not re-registered or renewed.

This final rule amends the FAA's regulations concerning aircraft registration. Over a 3-year period, this rule will terminate the registration of all aircraft registered before October 1, 2010, and will require the re-registration of each aircraft to retain U.S. civil aircraft status. These amendments also establish a system for a 3-year recurrent expiration and renewal of registration for all aircraft issued registration certificates on or after October 1, 2010.

This final rule amends the FAA's regulations to provide standards for the timely cancellation of registration numbers (N-numbers) for unregistered aircraft. This final rule makes other minor changes to establish consistency and ensure the regulations conform to statute or current Registry practices. These amendments will improve the accuracy of the Civil Aviation Registry database and will ensure that aircraft owners provide information to maintain accurate registration records.


These amendments respond to the concerns of law enforcement and other government agencies to provide more accurate, up-to-date aircraft registration information. These amendments become effective October 1, 2010.

The FAA estimates that approximately one-third of the 357,000 registered aircraft records it maintains are inaccurate and that many aircraft associated with those records are likely ineligible for United States registration. The inaccuracies result from failures in the voluntary compliance based system.

Although aircraft owners are required to report the sale of an aircraft, death of an owner, scrapping or destruction of an aircraft, and changes in mailing address; many have not. Without owner initiated action, there has been no means to correct those records. The FAA has been asked by government and law enforcement agencies to provide more accurate and up-to-date aircraft registration information. This rule is intended to support the needs of our system users.

The changes made by this Final Rule provide the FAA Aircraft Registry the tools to improve the currency and accuracy of the Civil Aircraft Registry database and maintain the improvement into the future. Re-registration of all U.S. civil aircraft over a three year period will redraw the Civil Aircraft Register with current data derived from recent contact with aircraft owners.

Additionally, the FAA is enabled to cancel the registrations of those aircraft that are not re-registered. These amendments will also ensure that aircraft owners refresh that data by providing information on the status of their aircraft at least once every three years when registration is renewed.  

The schedule for re-registration and registration expiration is:

  This rule also eliminates the present Triennial Aircraft Registration Report Program, provides clear time limits and standards for canceling aircraft with registrations that have ended and for which no new registration application has been made or completed. It also makes several administrative changes to conform the regulation to statute and current registration practices.

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is offering a new partnership that will help aviation businesses and individuals comply with new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to re-register all aircraft.

NATA and AIC Title Service, LLC are making available an affordable, simple-to-use program that allows for re-registrations to be professionally processed and tracked using a straightforward Web interface. By partnering with AIC, NATA is able to offer aviation businesses access to a service that air charter operators and flight schools, especially those with managed aircraft, will find particularly valuable. All the benefits of this system are available for just $45 per aircraft.
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