In response to requests by law enforcement and other government agencies to provide more accurate, up-to-date aircraft registration information, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has amended its aircraft registration regulations. The FAA estimates that approximately one-third of the 357,000 registered aircraft records it maintains are inaccurate, and that many of the aircraft listed in its Civil Aviation Registry database are likely ineligible for U. S. registration. Those inaccuracies result from failures by aircraft owners to report aircraft status and address changes under the current voluntary compliance based system. The FAA Final Rule, published in the July 20, 2010 Federal Register, will become effective on October 1, 2010. The re-registration or renewal fee will be $5.00. (See 47 CFR Sec. 47.17).


Under the new rule, the FAA will, over a 3-year period, terminate the registration of all aircraft registered before October 1, 2010, and require re-registration of each aircraft in order to retain U.S. civil aircraft status. The rule will establish a 3-year recurrent expiration and renewal system for all aircraft registration certificates issued on or after October 1, 2010, and also provide standards for timely cancellation of registration numbers (N-numbers) for unregistered aircraft. Aircraft owners who keep their registration address current will receive two timely reminder notices before the scheduled date for expiration of their aircraft’s registration. The FAA will post lists on its Registry website showing aircraft as they move through re-registration and renewal stages.

The 3-year re-registration period will clear the Civil Aviation Registry database of questionable registrations. The FAA estimates that the 3-year re-registration scenario will reduce the error rate for questionable or erroneous aircraft registrations from the current rate of approximately 36.5% to approximately 5.7% The FAA also points out that the FAA and manufactures will realize cost savings when mailing emergency airworthiness directives, safety notices and surveys to aircraft owners, and that more reliable notification regarding safety matters should improve aviation safety.

Finally, the Aircraft Registration Application, AC Form 8050-1 cannot be used for re-registration. A separate re-registration form will be available on the Registry website. At present, online re-registration and renewal is available only when no changes are required. If changes are required, paper forms must be used. However, the FAA is exploring options to accept all registration information online in the future. Forms and additional aircraft registration information are available at

To ensure that they are included in the Registry early notification, registration and registration renewal program, and to avoid cancellation of registration numbers for unregistered aircraft, aircraft owners should ensure that their correct address is on file with the Civil Aviation Registry. There is no fee for updating an address.