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FAA: So Far So Good for Aircraft Re-Registration

February 24, 2011 —The FAA’s aircraft re-registration initiative that began on November 1, 2010, is going about as expected, according to Walter Binkley, manager of aircraft registry in Oklahoma City. That is to say, it’s going fairly well – even better in some respects, such as more people than expected are using the online registration instead of mailing in the paper form. Re-registering online is much more efficient, resulting in a one-week turnaround as opposed to the 6-8 weeks for filling out and mailing in the form, then waiting for hard copies to wind their way through the queue.

The re-registration initiative is scheduled to be completed on December 31, 2013, at which time the FAA expects to have pared about a third off the current list of 357,000 registrations due to incorrect addresses, unrecorded ownership change, destroyed aircraft, and other reasons. A specific registration expiration schedule over the next three years covers all aircraft registered before October 1, 2010.

EAA has been contacted by several aircraft owners saying they were confused about the recent courtesy notices they received even though they already submitted re-registration materials. These “FINAL NOTICE” mailings advise owners of the pending expiration along with their options. Binkley apologized for the confusion.

“We decided how best to approach that very situation, but decided to go ahead with the final notices,” he said. This gives aircraft owners every opportunity to re-register in the event of procrastination, materials lost in the mail, or other reasons, he said. If one submits a re-registration, and it has not been processed by the prescribed final notice date, that owner will receive a final notice automatically. The FAA also sends a third notice when an aircraft's registration expires, giving owners a final opportunity to get their materials in and save their N numbers.

If the owner is confident re-registration materials are in order, the final notice can be ignored. Binkley recommends people contact the registration branch at 866-762-9434 (toll free) or 405-954-3131 with any questions or concerns. For a faster response, individuals can contact the registration office via e-mail by clicking here.

Binkley provided the following common mistakes that occur and result in a returned registration:

  • Failure to print or type name
  • Making an alteration to the text and whiting out or obscuring something on the form – the only acceptable way to alter text is to line through and correct
  • Including the appropriate fee
  • Checking both “info correct” and “changes made” boxes or leaving both unchecked -  one of the boxes must be checked
  • Sending in the re-registration when it’s not their turn. “We won’t take applications out of cycle,” Binkley said. (See the schedule here.)

As of January 1, 2011, 53,885 first notices have been sent out to aircraft owners. Of those, 20,500 online registrations and 7,000 paper registrations have been processed.  Recently about 11,000 “final notices” were sent out, even though the registration branch knows some of those are paper registrations that have been received but are still pending final processing.

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