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I’m currently a working CFI, and encountered an interesting scenario with one of my students recently. While discussing aircraft registration (specifically expiration,) I pulled out the registration card from an aircraft in our fleet. The card looked similar to this:example registration

Which looks normal. However, this example is exactly the situation I encountered. It appears this registration is valid for six years, as opposed to three. I’ve never heard of a registration being valid for six years, and can find no FAR reference to support the six year registration. 47.40 turns up nothing. Additionally, the ole’ Google search turns up nothing.

Does anyone know where I could find the regulatory reference for this?

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  • $\begingroup$ You could always contact the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch in Oklahoma City directly by phone and ask your question. Here's a link with the contact information: faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/… $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Nov 4, 2022 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ Note that registration was just retroactively changed to seven years. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Nov 19, 2022 at 20:16

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As you have noted in 14 CFR 47.40(c):

Renewal. Each holder of a Certificate of Aircraft Registration, AC Form 8050-3, containing an expiration date may apply for renewal by submitting an Application for Aircraft Registration Renewal, AC Form 8050-1B, and the fee required by § 47.17 during the six months preceding the expiration date. A certificate issued under this paragraph expires three years from the expiration date of the previous certificate.

(emphasis is mine)

The three year Re-Registration and Renewal of Aircraft Registration regulation seems clear and unambiguous.

Your Question (paraphrased): Can an aircraft have a registration that expires in 6 years as opposed to 3 years?

The "Certificate Issue Date," according to FAA Registry Web Page (Definitions) is the "Date the Aircraft Registration Branch issued the Certificate of Aircraft Registration, AC Form 8050-3." There are many examples of older airplanes showing in the FAA Registry that have many more years (beyond even 6 years) between the Certificate Issue Date and the Expiration Date. Examples HERE (Click "Certificate Issue Date" and view the "Date of Issue" of these aircraft)

Answer: In my opinion, the sample Certificate of Aircraft Registration shown in your question (Issued October 1, 2014 and Expiration October 31, 2020) would likely have been initially issued on October 1, 2014, renewed in 2017 after 3 years with a new Expiration Date of October 31, 2020.

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  • $\begingroup$ The renewal expiration date added onto the initial expiration was my suspicion as well, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Cether
    Nov 4, 2022 at 14:32

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