Are you thinking about finally purchasing your own aircraft? If so, it is probably the culmination of a dream you have had since you were very young. There is an indescribable feeling that comes with taking to the skies whenever the mood strikes you, and that sort of freedom is a luxurious privilege that most will never know. Of course, with that sense of liberation does come to a fair amount of responsibility. It is incumbent on you to maintain your aircraft and stay informed of all the latest safety practices. Additionally, you will need to keep your documentation current with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For new airplane owners, this typically starts with completing an FAA aircraft registration.
Just like you would register your car with the Department of Motor Vehicles, a similar process must play out with your aircraft. The main difference here is that your plane must be registered at the federal level, as the FAA keeps a registry of all aircraft operating in United States skies. The reasoning for this is ultimate to protect individuals both in the sky and on the ground. By maintaining comprehensive records of who and what is in our skies, the FAA can design well-reasoned legislation that aims to create safe aviation practices for all.
Getting Started with Your FAA Aircraft Registration
So, you just finalized a deal to buy your own airplane. You may now be wondering how you go about registering your aircraft with the FAA. A good place to start is by assembling some documents and information. First, you will need something that establishes proof of ownership. This is most often done with a bill of sale. You can think of a bill of sale as a sort of receipt–it should have information on the buyer, seller, the plane involved in the transaction, and the agreed-upon price.
Once you have your bill of sale, you can begin working on your Aircraft Registration Application, also called Form AC 8050-1. This document–which we have on our convenient website–will prompt you for your personal details, such as your name and address. You should also have some information about your plane at the ready, namely its make, model, and serial number.
When you register your aircraft, you are assigned a tail number (also known as an “N-number”). This alphanumeric string will begin with the letter “N”, followed by two to five numbers. You can request a custom N-number from the FAA, and filing your registration application is a good time to do this.
Once issued, your aircraft registration will be valid for a period of three years. Six months before your registration is set to expire, you will be sent a reminder from the FAA to submit a renewal. This letter will contain a special code you will need to enter on your renewal application. The FAA will also send a follow-up notice two months before your registration renewal is due.
File Your Application Online Today!
At the National Aviation Center, we make it easy to submit your Aircraft Registration Application online. Simply use our convenient web form and SSL-encrypted web portal to process your application. If you have any questions, please contact us by email or phone today.