I'm aware of both Washington and Oregon requiring, by law, registration of aircraft and pilots who are based in the state.

Is this something every state does? Do states enforce it?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ In 47 years of having a pilot's license in Oregon, I have never been asked to produce my Oregon pilot's registration. I don't carry it with me, although I think you're supposed to. I do still pay the fee every registration period for the simple reason that I think supporting the state aviation department is worthwhile. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I just moved from WA to OR and brought an airplane with me, so I'm going through the steps. Registering got me thinking that it's gotta be more common than those two states, and here we are. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Terry - "837.030 Exhibition of certificate on demand. Every pilot operating within this state shall present a federal certificate of competency and state certificate of registration on demand. The certificate of registration shall be kept in the personal possession of the licensee when operating aircraft within this state and must be presented for inspection upon demand of any passenger, peace officer, official manager in charge of any airport, other aircraft operator or federal or state agent." Technically as a passenger in your 747 I could have asked to see your registration :) $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 1:37
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    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Hmm, interesting. However, though I lived in Oregon the entire time that I was flying 747s, my flights did not originate from or arrive in Oregon, so I guess I was safe. LOL Also, I'm wondering what the penalty for non-compliance would be if a captain refused to present his state registration to a passenger. If there is no penalty, there is in effect now law. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 2:06
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    $\begingroup$ @ZachLipton No. States cannot regulate interstate commerce, per the U.S. Constitution itself. Unless both endpoints are in Oregon, the state wouldn't be allowed to make such a requirement, just as they can't require truckers to get a license for every state they drive through. Incidentally, this is also why many online retailers don't charge state sales taxes - unless the company has a physical presence in the state of the customer, the transaction constitutes interstate commerce and is not taxable by the individual states. See Quill Corp v. North Dakota. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 5:54

1 Answer 1



It varies from state to state. New York, for example, requires tax payment but no aircraft or pilot registration. New Jersey doesn't require any registration and didn't mention any taxes. In Delaware, registration is required but taxes can be waived if you register your aircraft under your corporate, instead of your own name. Iowa requires registration and so does Ohio.

I could not find a single resource which lists all states and their aircraft and pilot registration requirements. FAA does not have this information, probably because FAA does not care about state regulations.

We can create a Wiki on this topic here.


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