April 27, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
With the FAA’s mandatory aircraft re-registration program now under way, AOPA is urging owners to check their registration status and avoid becoming grounded due to processing delays or failure to comply with the rule.
To check your registration month or status of your registration, visit the FAA aircraft registry website.
If your existing aircraft registration was issued in the month of April of any year, you have until the end of April 2011 to submit re-registration information online, and to ensure that your new registration is received before expiration of the current registration on June 30. After April 30, all April re-registrations must be submitted using the paper application form with no guarantee of the processing being completed before the June 30 expiration date.
For owners of aircraft with May registrations, issued in any year, the window for re-registration will be open for online submission from May 1 through July 31. Re-registering during that time period should ensure that the new registration is received before the old one expires on Sept. 30. This group should have received notification from the FAA of the need to re-register.
The FAA is sending out the notices via U.S. Postal Service to the address on file for the aircraft about six months before the scheduled expiration of registrations. These notifications are being sent to the address on file at the FAA, which may be different than the owner’s home address if the aircraft is registered in a limited liability corporation (LLC), corporation or partnership, or if the address on file is out of date. Owners can see the official address on file at the FAA aircraft registration website. When re-registering online, you must use the code provided by the FAA in the letter of notification.
AOPA representatives met with registration branch officials at the FAA offices in Oklahoma City, Okla., last week, and received a briefing on progress reducing the processing backlog. The FAA has now reduced an estimated five-week-plus backlog to just less than four weeks and has plans in place to further reduce the backlog in the near future.
Officials said online re-registrations have gone smoothly, but some re-registrations submitted on paper have been returned to applicants, usually for one of two reasons: Some owners failed to include both their signature and printed name on the application as required. Some owners with aircraft registered under LLCs or similar entities failed to include their correct title on the application as it appears on their original LLC paperwork. For example, such titles include member, voting member, CEO, and similar designations.
The FAA required re-registration of all aircraft over the next three years, and renewal every three years after that, in an effort to create a more accurate aircraft registration database. The FAA estimates that about one-third of the 357,000 registered aircraft records it maintains are inaccurate, resulting from failures in the voluntary-compliance-based system. The N numbers of aircraft that are not re-registered or renewed will be canceled.
Aircraft owners who seek assistance in sorting through the re-registration process can contact AOPA’s Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA). If you want a concierge service to track and handle the re-registration paperwork for you, or if you have neglected some registry documents along the way, you can contact AIC Title Service for help.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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