We are considering using an ex US military helicopter in our counter poaching operations in the Central African Republic, while keeping it registered as a US aircraft with the US "N" number. We are not exporting it to sell and we will and we will maintain ownership and the US "N" number.

  • What restrictions are there for taking an aircraft like this out of the US, if any?

I know of a good many former US military helicopters in private and commercial uses in some African countries. And I know that some ex US military helicopters are not "eligible" to export, and some are.

  • What is the difference?
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Before considering U.S. regulations, have you considered the African regulations? $\endgroup$
    – RaajTram
    Oct 4, 2017 at 5:22
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Either today, or tomorrow, or day after, you're going to need a lawyer to do this. Why not start from there $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2017 at 7:12
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE! Please be aware that whatever answer you will get here, it does not constitute legal advice, you will still have to ask and deal with the appropriate authorities. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Oct 4, 2017 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ You might get an answer at this pilots forum, since aviation professionals who operate all over the world often visit and share their insights, but as @Federico points out, that's still advice pulled from the internet and the actual process to get something like this done takes a contract and overcoming a variety of legal hurdles. Best of luck in your efforts. $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2017 at 12:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From my experience exporting and importing aircraft, IMO @AfricanWildlifeInitiative is correct. Export in the context of the FAA is associated with a transfer of ownership. Operation is a totally different issue. But go talk to a lawyer who will stand behind his advice and interpretation of rules and regs. $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2017 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


If it has an N-number and an airworthiness certificate that allows the operations you want to perform with the aircraft, it doesn't matter what it did in a past life, you can operate wherever the country that controls the airspace will allow you to do so. As was mentioned before, the regulations of the country in which you wish to operate the aircraft are more relevant to what you want to do.

If on other other hand you have an ex-military aircraft that has an N-number but an exhibition-only experimental airworthiness certificate for a warbird, to pick an example, or some other type of restricted certificate, you're likely to be required to notify the FAA where and when you intend to fly it, and that may trigger additional oversight and possibly a denial of the permission to do so in a foreign country. The operating limitations document of the airworthiness certificate may also limit you to specific airspace within the US. Check the aircraft documentation and see if the FAA already put limits on the helo's operations.

That's where you will find the answer from the FAA point of view.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .