Keeping Your Registration Address Up to Date
By the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch
Reprinted with permission from
the FAA Aviation News
what is it that keeps your aircraft flying, providing the pleasure of
flight or earning its keep? Someone new to aviation might explain the
speed of the air over the wings creating lift. Someone that's been
around a bit longer may respond, 'money and more money.' The old
timers around the field might chalk it up to dedicated maintenance of
both the aircraft and piloting skills.
All three are correct, but could there
be something other than maintenance of piloting skills, and money?
Think about it. Need some help? Here's a clue. We're with the
government. Yeah! You've got it. It's the paperwork. You cannot
legally operate an aircraft, unless it is properly registered,
airworthy, and carrying the required certificates.
Being the Aircraft Registration
Branch, we want to talk about the registration address in particular
and how important it is to keep this up to date. In the extreme, an
out-of-date aircraft registration address can ground an aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) uses the aircraft registration database to distribute safety and
maintenance-related information such as Airworthiness Directives to
the registered owners of aircraft. Aircraft manufacturers use these
addresses to send their own safety notices. This database also serves
as an important reference when local law enforcement and Flight
Service Stations begin the search for a down or overdue aircraft.
Aircraft registrations with incorrect addresses have continuously
drawn the attention of law enforcement agencies during the twenty-year
war on drugs. More recently, registered aircraft with incorrect
addresses have become an important issue to law enforcement and other
agencies dedicated to protecting our country from terrorism. Keeping
an aircraft's registration address current ensures that important
safety or security information can be delivered in a timely manner.
The FAA Aircraft Registration Branch
does have several programs directed toward helping aircraft owners
keep their registration addresses up to date. Twice yearly we compare
the registration database against the National Change of Address
database. This results in two to five thousand letters being sent to
aircraft owners asking them to confirm the change in their aircraft's
registration address. We also look at address listings in the FAA
Airmen Certification database and at publicly available Internet
For many years we have annually sent
more than 6,000 mailings to aircraft owners whose aircraft had
experienced no registration activity during the previous three years.
These mailings are the Triennial Aircraft Registration Reports of
which most of you should be familiar. They are sent to verify the
status of aircraft. The report is configured, so the aircraft owner
can certify that the aircraft is still properly registered or provide
notification of an aircraft's sale, destruction, or change of address.
Among the slightly more than 334,000 registered aircraft, over 30,000
are flagged because the Triennial report was returned as
undeliverable. Surprisingly, more than 8,000 of these aircraft have
been flagged just since the year 2000.
While the FAA wants all aviation
experiences to be as positive and hassle free as possible, it can't
achieve this unless it is also meeting its primary responsibility of
creating the safest aviation environment possible. Being able to
reliably communicate safety issues to aircraft owners is a major part
of promoting safety.
We hope to improve the maintenance of
aircraft registration addresses through a continuing awareness
campaign. However, this issue is important enough that we will be
using all avenues available to us. The Code of Federal Regulations
requires aircraft owners to notify the FAA Aircraft Registration
Branch of a change in address within 30 days of the change. An
aircraft owner is also required to complete and return the Triennial
Aircraft Registration Report within 60 days after it is issued. When a
Triennial report is returned to the Aircraft Registration Branch as
undeliverable, it is apparent that the aircraft's owner has failed to
report an address change and failed to complete and submit the
Triennial Aircraft Registration Report. Failing to respond under the
Triennial program is cause for suspension or revocation of the
Certificate of Aircraft Registration
This spring, the Aircraft Registration
Branch began action on triennial reports returned as undeliverable. If
the registered owner does not update the address, the possible results
include revocation of the aircraft's registration and cancellation of
the N-number assignment. It is important to note that canceled
N-numbers will enter two-year administrative hold unless reserved by
the aircraft owner immediately after registration certificate
revocation. The owner of an aircraft with a revoked certificate or
canceled registration may apply for a new registration if they meet
the regular eligibility requirements.
Check your aircraft registration
certificate today and see if the address is up to date. If you don't
have the time to run to the airport, you can check by visiting the
Civil Aviation Registry's web site at
After opening the site, click on and enter the Aircraft Registration
portion of the site. From the list that is provided click on
Interactive Aircraft Inquiry and perform a search using the N-number
of your aircraft. Listings for aircraft with known undeliverable
addresses and for aircraft whose certificates have been revoked are
also available on the web site. Aircraft will be added and removed
from the list weekly. If you find that your aircraft is in the clear,
check those of your family and friends. With luck you can tell them
they are also in the clear, but feel free to politely razz them a bit
if they make the list of known offenders.
A change of address may be made by
submitting an Aircraft Registration Application, or by letter
delivered through regular mail or fax. The letter should identify the
aircraft by N-number, manufacturer name, model, serial number, and be
signed by the registered owner. The name of the signer should be typed
or printed below the signature and the signer's title should be shown
when appropriate. If the new mailing address is a post office box or a
mail drop you must also include your street address or physical
location. A new certificate of aircraft registration will be issued
reflecting the updated registration address information. There is no
fee for an address change.
For any aircraft registration
question, you are welcome to visit our web site, http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afs/afs700/,
or call our toll free information line at 1-866- 762-9434. Our fax
number is 405-954-3548.