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Hands, Mind, and Heart

What started as a handful of passionate enthusiasts has developed into a major force—and a significant component—of the aircraft industry.

Homebuilder’s Top 10: What aircraft registration mistakes do builders make?

By Charlie Becker (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, December 2001)

To better understand the aircraft registration process I recently visited the FAA’s Oklahoma City offices. During my visit I learned that in fiscal year 1999, the FAA issued 35,586 registration certificates and processed 220,085 registration/recordation documents. The FAA gives homebuilt registrations priority and strives to turn them around in five working days.

Naturally, this quick turnaround time applies only if the applicant has all of his or her paperwork in order, and if the homebuilder’s paperwork is incomplete, the processing time extends to three or four weeks. This leads to the obvious question-What are the top 10 mistakes homebuilders make when registering their aircraft?

1. Failure to include bill of sale from the kit manufacturer

FAR 47.33(c), “Aircraft Not Previously Registered Anywhere,” says that if an aircraft is built from a kit, the FAA must receive a bill of sale (AC Form 8050-2 preferred) from the kit manufacturer.

2. Including sales invoice instead of bill of sale from the kit manufacturer

The kit’s invoice does not replace the bill of sale. The FAA must receive a bill of sale, not an invoice for the kit.

3. Name(s) on bill of sale does not match the one(s) on AC Form 8050-88, “Affidavit of Ownership for Amateur-Built Aircraft”

The name or names you list on all your documents must be the same-no exceptions! If the bill of sale lists your name, and Form 8050-88 lists you and your spouse, the FAA assumes a transfer has occurred between the parties, and it will request additional documentation, which will delay your registration. If you want to include your spouse on your homebuilt’s registration, make sure your spouse’s name is on the bill of sale, too!

4. Failure to include your title when signing for corporation, partnership

If you are registering the aircraft for a corporation or partnership, you must give the appropriate title (e.g., officer or partner) in the signature block.

5. Using a P.O. Box for your address

You cannot use just a P.O. Box for your address. You must also provide a physical location of the address.

6. No aircraft serial number

As the builder, you give your homebuilt its serial number. Many builders use the plans or kit number, but you can pick any number your want. Just make sure you put the serial number on AC Form 8050-88.

7. No check included with paperwork

Aircraft registration costs $5. Requesting or reserving a special N number costs $10. If you’re doing both that means $15. Don’t forget to include your check.

8. No engine listed

You must list an engine make and model. A serial number is not necessary.

9. Forgetting to have AC Form 8050-88 notarized

A notary public must affix his or her stamp to AC Form 8050-88.

10. Waiting too long before asking EAA for help

Don’t wait until you’ve landed in paperwork purgatory before seeking help from your organization. Not long ago a Kitfox builder, with his airplane ready for inspection, called for help after several months of back and forth communications with FAA registration. After getting all the details, I called FAA registration, and we had the problem resolved in less than a week. We in the EAA Aviation Information Services department are here to help, so don’t hesitate to call 888/EAA-INFO.

Registering a homebuilt (or any aircraft) isn’t difficult if you devote the same level of care you use in building your project to your paperwork. And if it’s correct, the FAA will make a special effort on your behalf in special circumstances. For example, last year FAA Aircraft Registration made a special effort to process registrations ASAP for builders who indicated they were trying to finish their project’s paperwork so they could fly to Sun ’n Fun or EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. (Thanks FAA!)

Here are the forms you need to complete the process:

    q AC Form 8050-1, Aircraft Registration Application

    q AC Form 8050-2, Aircraft Bill of Sale

    q AC Form 8050-88, Affidavit of Ownership for Amateur-Built Aircraft

For more information about registering your homebuilt, look at “Registering Your Homebuilt” in “Homebuilders HQ” in the members-only section of the EAA website at www.eaa.org. And on the FAA website, look at the FAA’s Amateur Built Aircraft Reference Material at http://av-info.faa.gov/dst/amateur/ or http:// registry.faa.gov/frame.htm.

Registering an “Orphan”

When a kit manufacturer goes out of business, all the builders of that kit are now “orphans” because they have nowhere to turn for factory support. In many cases, these builders may not have a bill of sale (AC Form 8050-2) from the manufacturer, so what are builders to do when they can’t get the FAA-required bill of sale?

The FAA keeps abreast of the homebuilt scene and usually knows if a company is no longer in business. It says builders of orphan aircraft should type a statement that explains why they don’t have a bill of sale (e.g., kit manufacturer in bankruptcy) and that they have tried to get a bill of sale with no success. Then attach this to an invoice if it is available.

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