Understanding the N-Number From the FAA

While searching for how to properly register your aircraft you might have encountered the term “N-number”. What is it? Do I have to get one for my plane? Can I choose it? How do I get it? These are just some of the questions you might have thought about once you read the word. And all of them will be answered in this article, written by the National Aviation Center. Read on and find out!

What is the N-Number?

An N-Number is a series of digits issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the purpose of identifying an aircraft. This is done in order to maintain an updated registry of the aircraft operating in US skies and to keep American aerospace safe.

When you submit your initial aircraft registration you get your number. It starts with the letter N, therefore the name. This was decided in 1919 at the International Air Navigation Convention. The US was among the 5 countries that were assigned a unique letter. The United Kingdom uses G, Germany uses D, France uses F and Canada uses C.

Do I Need an N-Number for my Plane?

Absolutely yes. Every plane needs to have one, the same way every car is required to possess a car plate. If the aircraft you purchased is new your N-Number will be assigned to you once you submit the initial aircraft application to the FAA. If it is a used plane, the N-number will already be displayed on the plane.

Can I Choose my Own N-Number?

It depends. A special registration number is an N-Number that can be selected from a list of available N-Numbers for immediate use on a specific aircraft. Naturally, it comes with a fee. Special registration numbers can be used to change your actual N-number, assigned to a new aircraft, or even reserved for up to a year. Additionally, the characters may be from one to five numbers after the N, one to four numbers and a letter at the end of one to three numbers, and two letters at the end. Remember that the letters I and O are not valid, and keep in mind that you can’t start your number with a 0. 


How Do I Get an N-Number?

Again, it depends. If your boat is new, the FAA will assign you an N-Number once you submit your aircraft application. If you purchased a used plane, it should already have its own digits.

The aircraft application is called form AC 8050-1 and it can be obtained from the FAA website. Once you downloaded the form you need to complete it either manually or electronically and print it out. Then you should send it via regular post to the FAA offices in Oklahoma, along with the supporting documents and the corresponding fees.

There is, however, an alternative, if you don’t have the time to send the forms manually. The National Aviation Center helps you send your documentation online. We are a third-party agency that created a platform that can be completed electronically. You just need to fill out the application on our site and we will take care of sending your documents to the FAA. Furthermore, our site is SSL-encrypted, so rest assured that your details will be kept confidential. Contact us today and we will clear any other doubts you may have!