Owners, FAA Prepare for Aircraft Registration Changes, New Fees
For years, registering an aircraft in the United States was relatively easy, painless, and inexpensive: Fill out a multipart FAA form, keep the pink copy, and send in a check for $5. Presuming no other complications, the aircraft was properly registered as long as you owned it and remained at the same address.
On October 1, 2010, however, the FAA will begin transitioning to a new set of registration procedures, which will require re-registering each aircraft in the agency’s registry—and paying a fee—every three years.
Note: The FAA will cancel the N-numbers of aircraft that aren’t re-registered or renewed under the new procedures. An aircraft whose registration has been canceled is, under FAA regulations, no longer airworthy and can’t legally be flown.
The new procedures result from a rulemaking process that had begun in 2008 and concluded on July 20, 2010. As the new rule states, over a three-year period, the FAA 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.” Thereafter, an aircraft’s registration must be renewed every three years and the appropriate fees—which will be greater than $5—paid during the renewal process.
“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 in a press release issued last month. “We also are responding to calls from law enforcement and other government agencies for more accurate, up-to-date registration data.” In other words, changes to the FAA’s registration procedures are being driven, at least in part, by continuing security concerns.
Beginning October 1, 2010, the FAA will mail re-registration notices to all aircraft owners of record. Mailings will be staggered according to a published schedule based on the month in which the aircraft’s existing registration was granted and will take place over a three-year period. Once the re-registration notices are mailed, owners will have six months to renew. Thereafter, registrations will expire every three years unless renewed.
Currently, some 357,000 civil aircraft are registered in the United States. The FAA believes as many as one-third of those registration records are inaccurate in some way, and it expects as many as 30,000 aircraft will be dropped from the registry as a result of the new procedures. Once the three-year re-registration process concludes, the FAA expects the registry to have only an estimated 5.7percent error rate.
Although the FAA’s original regulatory proposal sought to continue the existing $5 registration fee, legislation pending in Congress would allow the agency to increase it. According to the FAA, the legislation’s $130 fee “would not apply as the fee for re-registration or renewal.” Instead, the agency expects the new fee would be approximately $45, payable every three years when a registration is renewed.
Commenting on the new registration procedures, EAA Director of Government Relations Randy Hansen said, “This is a very costly burden on the public that the FAA can accomplish using other means. The FAA’s own data would indicate that the issue is much smaller than presented, and that a major change in the FAA registration system is not warranted.”
More information is available from the FAA website: www.FAA.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=11617.
Here’s the final rule:http://eDocket.Access.GPO.gov/2010/2010-17572.htm.