FAA Extends Aircraft Re-Registration Period


The FAA will issue a Direct Final Rule extending the registration interval for general aviation aircraft and the new seven-year duration applies to all GA aircraft. Until 2010, aircraft registrations lasted for the life of the aircraft but that resulted in a lot of inaccurate and ghost registrations on the books. In 2010, the agency made all operators re-register their planes and set a three-year limit for re-registration. The alphabets argued that was too onerous for private operators and got the ear of Congress. The 2018 FAA reauthorization mandated the agency extend the limit to seven years for non-commercial aircraft.

That caused an issue for the FAA because use and not aircraft type defines the distinction between commercial and private operation. “Consequently, it is impracticable to have different durations for commercial and noncommercial general aviation aircraft registrations,” the final rule says. “Therefore, the FAA is extending the registration duration for all aircraft to seven years.” As before, re-registration has to take place by the end of the month of the anniversary of the existing registration.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. So the way I understand this….existing expiration date is still valid but when we renew our reg it will be for 7 years?

    • I was incorrect on the post above I think page 11 says it…..

      valid registrations in effect on the date of this
      direct final rule will be extended such that the total term of registration will be seven
      years from the date of issuance of the currently valid renewal, notwithstanding the
      expiration date on the Certificate of Aircraft Registration.

      • So are they going reissue existing registration cards with the corrected date that will coincide with a seven year period. If not it’s going to cause confusion when crossing the border (northern and southern) if the paper cert with the original 3 year date shows it’s expired but it’s actually still valid…

  2. Again; it took an actual act of Congress to reign-in the FAA. The 3-year registration was purely a power-play by the FAA.

    • Suspect the short 3-year period was intended to expedite the initial purge of ghost registrations. Once established, government decisions, rules & procedures are rarely reevaluated without outside pressure.