Jan. 30, 2023

The FAA’s direct final rule to increase the duration of aircraft registration is now in effect, and extends the duration of AC Form 8050-3, Certificate of Aircraft Registration, from three to seven years.

It also extends the authority to operate temporarily within the U.S. on a copy of AC Form 8050-1, Aircraft Registration Application, for a period of one year pending receipt of the official certificate of aircraft registration.

“The direct final rule is an excellent solution by the FAA to address the aircraft registry backlog problem,” said Scott McCreary of McAfee & Taft and chair of NBAA’s Regulatory Issues Advisory Committee. “It will reduce the churning of the documents that was required before to renew aircraft registrations on a more frequent basis.”

McCreary cautioned aircraft owners and operators to be aware of two nuances that may arise in connection with the final rule.

First, a current certificate might now or soon show an expired date, but the final rule automatically supersedes or extends that expiration.

For example, if a registration has a stated expiration date of Feb. 1, 2023, it now expires Feb. 1, 2027.

While this shouldn’t be a problem in the U.S., flights outside of the country might face additional scrutiny by foreign civil aviation authorities. The FAA is in the process of issuing new certificates of aircraft registration to impacted aircraft owners, with the first impacted aircraft owners potentially receiving new certificates this week. For registrations expiring between now and June 30, the FAA hopes to have a new certificate of aircraft registration out by the end of March.

While temporary authority to operate on a copy of the registration application is extended, in certain circumstances from 90 days to 12 months, it is limited to 12 months. With the FAA’s current backlog of five to six months response time, owners may only have one chance to refile documents that may have been rejected by the FAA. If documents are questioned or rejected by the FAA more than once, owners and operators could easily surpass the 12-month limitation – with significant consequences.

“Parties need to be sure the documents they are filing are in order. If those documents are reviewed and rejected after five or six months and a second attempt is unsatisfactory, the aircraft registration might not be complete within 12 months and the aircraft would be grounded,” said McCreary. “It is still important to complete your due diligence and file documents that are recordable the first time.”