New 'BARR' Rules Open For Comment

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The FAA will accept comments until June 8, 2012, on revised rules (PDF) for what used to be called the Block Aircraft Registration Request program, which allows aircraft owners to prevent public access to information tied to their aircraft N-number. The FAA wanted to all but scrap that ability last year but was blocked by Congress by an amendment in an appropriations bill. At the time, the FAA said it would present new rules for participation in the program; the Notice of Proposed Process appeared in the Federal Register May 9. Aircraft already on the list will be automatically included under the new rules but the rulemaking sets out some specific criteria for new applicants.

Only owners or those responsible for aircraft will be able to submit the requests and they must certify their direct interest in the aircraft and provide contact information. "The FAA does not view associations on behalf of their members to be agents for this purpose," the document says. There will be two levels of blocking. If the owner wants no one, including him or herself, to be able to track their aircraft, the registration will be blocked at the "FAA level." Those who want to be able to track their aircraft or have others do it for them will block the registration at the "industry level" and designated contractors will be able obtain and disseminate the information to the selected recipients. The unfiltered information will be available other government agencies through the FAA, however.