When purchasing a new aircraft, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and fail to execute a few minor but important details such as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration. Just as you need to register your automobile, you must also register your aircraft. The good news is that it’s simple and inexpensive.
With a clean title in hand, registration is a three-step process.
- Submit Aircraft Registration Form AC 8050-1;
- provide evidence of ownership, usually in the form of a bill of sale; and
- pay the FAA a $5 registration fee.
You must prove you’re a U.S. citizen or authorized resident. When completing the registration form, you must fill it out completely and accurately. Use a street address instead of a post office box, and don’t forget to print your name below your signature at the bottom of the form. Once complete, you’ll keep the pink copy of the form in your aircraft at all times until FAA personnel send you the official registration. You’ll be able to use this document for 90 days — but only for flights within the U.S.
If, during the registration process, the FAA finds that the title isn’t clean — for example, if there’s an unexpected lien on the aircraft — you’ll have to straighten it out before you can officially register. The best way to avoid this type of surprise is to perform a title search before the final purchase.
You must renew your aircraft every three years and submit your renewal five months before your registration expires. You should receive notification in the mail that your renewal is due about six months before your registration expires.
Finally, according to the Business Jet Traveler article, you may be required to register your aircraft with the International Registry, which could also be financially beneficial. This is a more complicated process, though you can do it entirely online. A knowledgeable aviation attorney can help you with international registration, and with her or his help, you should be able to complete it within a matter of days.
Registering your aircraft in the U.S. isn’t a difficult process, but it is required. Be sure you know whether you or your vendor is responsible for the registration, and then complete it as soon as you complete the sale. By handling registration in a timely manner, you won’t face large fines — or worse: a penalty for flying an unregistered aircraft.