FAA Extending Aircraft Registration to 7 Years

The policy change affects new and current registration certificates for aircraft and large drones.

New and current aircraft Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration certificates for aircraft and large drones are being extended from three years to seven, beginning January 23.

The rule applies to all existing federal registrations based on the date they were issued. A registration issued in 2020, for example, is now extended until 2027.

The agency also dropped the requirement that aircraft owners obtain a temporary authorization letter from the FAA if a registration has not been issued or denied within 90 days of the application for registration.

The FAA proposed the rule change for the duration of aircraft certificates last November, announcing its intent to extend the duration of certifications. 

“The new rule applies to new registrations and extends the duration of current certificates. It covers all traditional aircraft and larger drones,” FAA told FLYING in a statement.

The final rule was published on January 18.

The ruling does not impact state-required registration of aircraft, which is done on a state-by-state basis.

Aircraft owners will still be required to confirm their aircraft registration information when they renew their certificates every seven years, unless an event or circumstances require a new registration to be issued before that time. If the FAA determines the aircraft registration is inaccurate, the owner may be required to submit a new application for registration.

How We Got Here

In 2010, the FAA mandated aircraft owners to re-register their aircraft every three years and to keep the registrations up to date. Prior to this, the registration period was indefinite, and some aircraft owners let the registrations expire.

As of 2010, aircraft owners were required to submit the application for re-registration five months in advance. But in some cases, even five months was not enough lead time because of a backlog of registrations to be processed at the FAA. Many aircraft owners were forced to obtain letters of extension so that they could still fly their aircraft legally.

In 2018 and as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act, Congress directed the agency to extend the three-year aircraft registration to seven for noncommercial general aviation aircraft. However, the FAA felt this distinction was impractical and opted to extend the registration duration for all aircraft to seven years.


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