Aircraft owners should know by now that their aircraft’s FAA registration is not a one-time thing. The registration period is currently 3 years, but will very shortly change to 7 years before a registration renewal is required – the wait is a required period after the change is published in the Federal Register.
The FAA sends each aircraft owner a notice of the required renewal about 6 months before it is due. The whole process may be completed online at the site listed in the notice, including the current $5.00 renewal payment. You can complete the renewal 5-6 months early and still retain the same renewal date in the future. There is an FAA FAQ page concerning the registration renewal process.
However, there are also individuals who feel that the aircraft registration process is a chance to scam an uninformed aircraft owner out of some of their money.
A friend of mine received the notice shown below in the mail about 3 months before their aircraft registration was due (individual’s name and aircraft N-number blacked out).
If you read through it you see that they are saying that your aircraft registration is set to expire – they all are – but it does not give any specific information that would identify a specific registration renewal date. It’s like they accessed a database of aircraft owners but did not correlate with registration data.
They say that it is a ‘Courtesy Notice’. Then they offer to take care of the re-registration for you – for an additional fee and, of course, all payments are non-refundable. All you have to do is visit their website or call them.
The envelope had a return address: National Aviation Center, 6608 N Western Avenue #1`037, Oklahoma City, OK 73116. This looks on the surface as though it is a legitimate address since we all know that the main FAA offices for this sort of operation are located in Oklahoma City. Out of curiosity I used Google Maps to see where that address is located. Go ahead and do it yourself. It is a mailbox number in a Pack & Ship store in a strip mall. The postmark on the envelope was from Santa Ana, CA.
Folks – know what your responsibilities are as an aircraft owner and know the official websites that are used to fulfill those responsibilities. You hear complaints all the time about the cost of participating in aviation. Don’t increase your costs by falling for something like this scam.