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Registration Maintenance

Keeping Your Registration Address Up to Date

By the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch
Reprinted with permission from the FAA Aviation News

Just 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 In the extreme, an out-of-date aircraft registration address can ground an aircraft.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 databases.

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 website 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 website,, or call our toll free information line at 1-866- 762-9434. Our fax number is 405-954-3548.

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