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States citizenship requirement for registration, a very technical requirement. There are more. FAR 47.41(a) enumerates the circumstances under which a certificate of registration becomes ineffective. As we will see, these types of violations will now be treated more seriously.
Effective last month, the Federal Aviation Administration, in concert with the Transportation Security Administration, made an announcement that it will “revitalize and refocus its airspace monitoring capabilities” to ensure that only properly registered aircraft operate in the airspace over the United States. Clearly, the FAA intends to prevent improperly registered aircraft from flying. How this will be implemented remains to be seen. The announcement also says that with respect to registrations that are noted on the FAA records as “in question” (a procedure that the FAA started a few years ago) notifications are going out to operators of aircraft that these aircraft “may be denied access” to the national airspace system. We get a clue that in addition to denial of access to the airspace, individual enforcement actions will also be used. The FAA/TSA notification says that notices of deficiency will be sent out, and that “a pilot deviation will be filed on the operator” whether he/she is the owner of the aircraft or not. All of which tells us that it is now more important than ever for us to assure that the aircraft we fly are properly registered.
There is another often-inadvertently-violated regulation that needs to be noted. FAR 47.45 requires that the holder of an aircraft registration certificate notify the FAA of a change of address within 30 days. If the FAA is notified of a change of address, a new certificate of registration will be issued, without charge. Failure to notify of a change of address within that time doesn’t make the registration ineffective, but it does cause other problems and it is a regulatory violation. Happily, many of the old addresses are updated through the triennial aircraft registration report that is sent to the owners of record of aircraft that have not had Registry activity within the past three years.
Don’t get caught unaware. The mere fact that the aircraft contains within it a registration certificate that appears valid, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. For example, if the name that appears on the registration certificate is not the name of the current owner, that should be a red flag. If you have doubt, check. There is an easy way, though not foolproof, to help to determine if an aircraft is properly registered or if the registration is “in question?” The FAA Aircraft Registry may be searched and updated electronically. Visit the website (http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry) for more information.
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John Yodice is the Senior Partner of the Law Offices of Yodice Associates, a law firm experienced in aviation legal matters involving DOT, FAA and TSA certification and compliance, corporate governance, aircraft transactions and more. www.yodice.com