FAA Set to Extend Aircraft Registration to Seven Years

The FAA is giving aircraft owners more time to renew their registration certificates.

The FAA is slated to release a rule this month to extend the duration of aircraft registration certificates from three years to seven years. [Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

Is the registration certificate on your aircraft coming due soon? You may have more time—as in years to renew it. The FAA is slated to release a rule this month to extend the duration of aircraft registration certificates from three years to seven years.

In a statement sent to FLYING, the FAA explained, "The new rule applies to new registrations and extends the duration of current certificates. It covers all traditional aircraft and larger drones."

According to the draft of the final rule, owners will be required to confirm their aircraft registration information and renew their certificates every seven years, unless an event or circumstances require a new registration be issued before that time. In that scenario, for example, if the FAA determines the aircraft registration is inaccurate, the owner may be required to submit a new application for registration.

In addition, the direct final rule removed the requirement that the FAA issue a letter extending temporary authorization if a registration has not been issued or denied within 90 days of the application.

How We Got Here

In 2010, the FAA instigated the mandate requiring 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.

Since 2010, aircraft owners have been 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 at the FAA, forcing aircraft owners to obtain a letter of extension so that they could still fly their aircraft.

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.

The rule applies to all existing registrations, which means a registration issued in 2021 is extended until 2028.

Traditionally, changes in regulations require a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and publication in the Federal Register, followed by a comment period of 30 days. In this case, however, the agency opted for a direct final rule, but will still accept comments for 30 days. The rule will take effect 60 days after publication.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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