USA – Miami
Contributor: James M. Meyer, Harper Meyer
1. Which authority is in charge of the civil aviation registry in USA – Miami? Does USA – Miami use a single-registry system or is there a dual-registry system in place?
The United States Federal Aviation Administration Aircraft Registration Branch oversees the civil aviation registry in the United States. The United States uses a single-registry system.
2. Is the registry an operator registry or an owner registry (or both)?
An aircraft may be registered in the United Stated only by, and in the legal name of, its owner.
3. What are the requirements and documentation to register an aircraft in USA – Miami? Include references to formalities such as notarisation, legalization, etc.
Owner Citizenship Requirements
An aircraft is eligible for U.S. registration if it is not registered in another country, and it is owned by either:
- (i) an individual who is a U.S. citizen;
- (ii) a partnership where each partner is a U.S. Citizen;
- (iii) a U.S. corporation of which the president and at least two-thirds of the board of directors and other managing officers are U.S. citizens, and in which at least 75% of the voting interest is owned or controlled by persons that are U.S. citizens;
- (iv) an individual citizen of a foreign country lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.;
- (v) a U.S. governmental unit or subdivision; or
- (vi) a non-U.S. citizen corporation organized and doing business under the laws of the U.S. or one of the States as long as the aircraft is based and primarily used in the U.S. (60% of all flight hours must be from flights starting and ending within the U.S.).
Documentation and Payments Required
To register an aircraft, the following must be sent to the Aircraft Registration Branch:
- An Aircraft Registration Application (AC Form 8050-1)
Except for signatures, all data must be typewritten or printed. The name of the applicant should be identical to the name of the purchaser shown on the applicant’s evidence of ownership. The FAA requires the applicant to provide an original ink signed Registration Application or a Registration Application with appropriate digital signatures. If the applicant is using a digital signature, the applicant should ensure that the application is digitally signed, and not merely electronically signed. Additionally, the FAA has specific requirements as to which titles it will accept from a signatory without further documentation to support the authority of the person executing for the company. For example, the FAA Aircraft Registry will accept documents signed by a person with a title such as officer, manager, or director, but it will not accept documents signed by an attorney in fact or authorized signatory without supporting documentation.
- Evidence of ownership that meets the requirements prescribed in 14 CFR 47.
An applicant may use Aircraft Bill of Sale (AC Form 8050-2), or its equivalent as evidence of ownership. If the aircraft being registered is not purchased from the last registered owner, the applicant must submit conveyances completing the chain of ownership from the last registered owner to the applicant.
- The $5.00 USD registration fee made payable to the Federal Aviation Administration.
- If the applicant for registration is a limited liability company, then a Statement in Support of Registration must be submitted with the Application for Registration.
- If the applicant is using a Non-Citizen Trust Structure or a Voting Trust Structure (as further discussed below) additional documentation will be required.
Options Available for Applicants who do not Meet the U.S. Citizenship Requirements:
Non-Citizen Trust: If applicant does not meet the U.S. citizenship requirements, the non-citizen applicant may use a non-citizen trust structure. This is an authorized trust arrangement where a U.S. citizen trustee holds title to the aircraft in trust for the benefit of the non-U.S. citizen beneficiary for FAA registration purposes pursuant to a Trust Agreement.
An applicant using a non-citizen trust structure must submit the following with the documentation and payments discussed above to the FAA Aircraft Registry: (i) a copy of each document legally affecting a relationship under the trust (i.e. Trust Agreement and Operating Agreements); (ii) if each beneficiary under the trust, including each person whose security interest in the aircraft is incorporated in the trust, is either a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, an affidavit by the applicant to that effect; and (iii) if any beneficiary under the trust, including any person whose security interest in the aircraft is incorporated in the trust, is not a U.S. citizen or resident alien, an affidavit from each trustee stating that the trustee is not aware of any reason, situation, or relationship (involving beneficiaries or other persons who are not U.S. citizens or resident aliens) as a result of which those persons together would have more than 25 percent of the aggregate power to influence or limit the exercise of the trustee’s authority.
Voting Trust: A corporation that fails the voting-interest test described above but meets all the other elements of the citizenship test, may use a voting trust. The voting trust is entered into among the applicant corporation owning the aircraft, an independent voting trustee and the non-U.S. Citizen shareholder holding the voting stock in the applicant corporation. In a voting trust, the voting trustee will hold the non-citizen’s voting interest in the corporation.
If a voting trust is used to qualify a domestic corporation as a U.S. citizen, the corporate applicant must submit the following with the documentation and payments discussed above to the FAA Aircraft Registry: (i) A true copy of the fully executed voting trust agreement, which must identify each voting interest of the applicant, and which must be binding upon each voting trustee, the applicant corporation, all foreign stockholders, and each other party to the transaction; and (ii) An affidavit executed by each person designated as voting trustee in the voting trust agreement, in which each affiant represents: (a) That each voting trustee is a citizen of the United States within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(15); (b) That each voting trustee is not a past, present, or prospective director, officer, employee, attorney, or agent of any other party to the trust agreement; (c) That each voting trustee is not a present or prospective beneficiary, creditor, debtor, supplier or contractor of any other party to the trust agreement; (d) That each voting trustee is not aware of any reason, situation, or relationship under which any other party to the agreement might influence the exercise of the voting trustee’s totally independent judgment under the voting trust agreement.
4. What fees are payable to register an aircraft in USA – Miami?
The initial cost to register an Aircraft is $5.00 USD. Effective October 1, 2020, aircraft owners are required to re-register their aircraft every three years. Accordingly, the cost for aircraft registration is $5.00 USD every three years.
5. Are there any weight and/or maximum age restrictions to register an aircraft in USA – Miami?
6. Does registration of an aircraft in the national registry constitute proof of ownership under the laws of USA – Miami?
49 U.S.C. 44103(c) provides that registration is not evidence of ownership of an aircraft in any proceeding in which ownership by a particular person is in issue. The FAA does not issue any certificate of ownership or endorse any information with respect to ownership on a Certificate of Aircraft Registration (AC Form 8050-3). The FAA issues a Certificate of Aircraft Registration to the person who appears to be the owner on the basis of the evidence of ownership submitted with the Aircraft Registration Application or recorded at the Aircraft Registry.
7. How is an aircraft title transfer effected in USA – Miami? What are the formalities required to register such title transfer in the national registry of USA – Miami (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
FAA Bill of Sale (Form 8050-2) or its equivalent. The FAA Bill of Sale is available for download on the FAA’s website https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Form/ac8050-2.pdf.
8. What information and details are reflected in the certificate of registration of an aircraft?
Registration mark, aircraft serial number, manufacturer’s name, manufacturer’s designation of aircraft, owner’s name, and date of issuance.
9. Are the entries in the aircraft registry of USA – Miami made available to the public upon submission of a specific application to the competent authority? Are there any fees payable for this?
A person can check if an aircraft is properly registered for operation in the National Airspace System by performing a free aircraft inquiry on the FAA website: https://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry
10. What kind of aircraft operations can be conducted with aircraft registered in USA – Miami (i.e., private use, commercial air transport or both)?
11. Does the civil aviation authority in USA – Miami authorise the operation of foreign registered aircraft? If so, with which countries has USA – Miami entered into bilateral agreements on the basis of article 83-bis of the ICAO Chicago Convention for the delegation of regulatory oversight?
The Aircraft Registration Branch of the FAA is the central location where civil aircraft of the United States are registered, and it is also the central location for the recording of any conveyance, bill of sale, contract of conditional sale, mortgage, lease, equipment trust, assignment, notice of tax lien or of other lien (other than Federal tax lien), or other instrument which affects title to, or any interest in, the following: (i) any U.S. registered aircraft; (ii) a specifically identified engine of 550 horsepower or more rated takeoff horsepower or the equivalent; (iii) a specifically identified propeller capable of absorbing 750 or more rated takeoff shaft horsepower; (iv) an aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance maintained for installation or use in an aircraft, aircraft engine or propeller, by or for an air carrier, certificated in the United States under Section 44705 of the Act (“U.S. Air Carrier”); or (v) spare parts maintained at a designated location or locations by or for a U.S. Air Carrier.
12. Is there a separate register of aircraft mortgages and/or leases and/or security interests in USA – Miami?
Security interests in aircraft may only be perfected in the United States if the aircraft is registered with the FAA in the name of the debtor at the time the mortgage is filed, or if the mortgage, when filed, is accompanied by the Aircraft Registration Application and evidence of ownership of the debtor.
In order for the FAA to record a mortgage relating to aircraft registered in the United States, the instrument must meet the following requirements:
- The mortgage must contain a complete description of the aircraft, including (a) manufacturer; (b) model; (c) manufacturer’s serial number; and (d) U.S. Registration Number;
- The grantor or mortgagor must be the registered owner of the aircraft;
- The FAA only requires the debtor’s signature on a mortgage. A contract of conditional sale, however, must be signed by all parties to the contract;
- The instrument being filed with the FAA must, in most cases, be an original, signed in ink by each party whose signature is required by the FAA;
- The individual signing for a corporation must indicate his/her title;
- The instrument being filed must be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee ($5.00 USD);
- The mortgage must contain sufficient words of conveyance of the security interests; and
- Definitions must be either contained in the text of the mortgage or security agreement or included as an attachment thereto.
AC Form 8050-98 Aircraft Security Agreement is a sample security form that parties can use if it meets the needs of the parties and the requirements of the state or other local law having jurisdiction over the transaction.
13. What are the formalities required to register a mortgage / lease / security interest in the national registry of USA – Miami (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
An agreement concerning a security interest against a U.S.-registered aircraft must be registered with the FAA to be valid against third parties without notice. Once the FAA has recorded the security agreement, the secured party will receive a Conveyance Recordation Notice (AC Form 8058-41) which describes the aircraft (or other collateral), lists the parties and date of the security agreement, and includes the FAA recording number and date of recordation. An agreement is deemed filed for recordation on the date it is received by the FAA Aircraft Registry.
14. Is a mortgage priority notice an available security instrument for aircraft financiers in USA – Miami?
It can. A lien instrument which affects interest in: (i) a specifically identified aircraft engine of 550 or more rated take-off horsepower, or (ii) a specifically identified aircraft propeller capable of absorbing 750 or more take-off horsepower may be recorded with the FAA. A recording fee of $5.00 USD is required for each engine or propeller described. The manufacturer, model, serial number, and horsepower (or its equivalent) of each engine and propeller must be shown on the security agreement. A security agreement which affects title to, or interest in, an aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance maintained by, or on behalf of, an air carrier for installation or use in aircraft, in aircraft engines or propellers, or any spare parts maintained at a designated location by, or on behalf of, such an air carrier, may also be recorded. However, the air carrier must have been certificated under Title 49 United States Code 44705. Additionally, the instrument must contain the statement that the spare parts are being maintained by, or for, an air carrier certificated under 49 USC 44705, the specific location or locations of the spare parts, and the name of the carrier.
15. Does an aircraft mortgage duly registered in the national registry of USA – Miami extend to engines and other parts of such aircraft (either installed or not on the airframe)?
The following liens or rights could have priority over a security interest created under an aircraft security agreement:
- U.S. federal tax liens, which are filed with the relevant state and cannot be filed with the FAA Registry or registered with the International Registry;
- The right of U.S. Customs to seize aircraft for transporting drugs (except for airlines involved in common carriage);
- possessory mechanics and warehouse liens to the extent provided under applicable state law;
- non-possessory mechanics liens to the extent provided under applicable state law, although these may be subordinate to any perfected security interest and may need to be filed for recordation with the FAA Registry;
- purchase money security interests, which may be filed up to 20 days after the grantor receives possession and will take priority over any intervening security interests; and
- buyers purchasing goods in the ordinary course from persons in the business of selling that type of goods.
16. What statutory liens (if any) would rank prior to an aircraft mortgage duly registered in the national registry of USA – Miami?
This depends on State law. Due to the great variance in the state laws that control the creation, enforceability, perfection and priority of such liens, we recommend discussing this directly with qualified aviation counsel.
17. Do the laws of USA – Miami provide for possessory rights and/or rights of detention over aircraft in favor of third parties (such as airport taxes, customs duties, air navigation charges, crew’s wages, MRO’s receivables)?
FAA will record security agreements governed by non-US law.
18. Are foreign law-governed security agreements (e.g., mortgages) recognized in USA – Miami in order to validly create a security interest over an aircraft registered in the national registry of USA – Miami? If so, are there any formalities/requirements to bear in mind?
Yes. The U.S. recognizes the International Registry as an additional place for filing of interests, including prospective interests, in certain airframes, helicopters, and aircraft engines. The U.S. lodged declarations under Sections 39(1)(a) -(b), 54(2) of the Convention and Sections XIX, XXX (1) (including Articles VIII, XII and XIII) of the Aircraft Protocol.
The protocol specifically provides for the issuance by a debtor of an IDERA and explains that the person designated in an IDERA is the only person entitled to exercise the remedies including the deregistration and export of an aircraft. IDERAs must be in the form attached to the Protocol to the Cape Town Convention. The IDERA must be signed by the owner that holds the Certificate of Registration and filed for recording with the FAA Registry. The IDERA must be executed in connection with a security instrument that is filed for recording with the FAA Registry.
19. Are foreign law-governed leases recognized in USA – Miami in order to validly lease an aircraft registered in the national registry of USA – Miami to a lessee incorporated in USA – Miami? If so, are there any formalities/requirements to bear in mind?
A request to cancel an aircraft’s registration due to its export from the United States must be made by the last registered owner, the last owner of record, the foreign purchaser when supported by evidence of ownership, or by the authorized party under an Irrevocable Deregistration and Export Request Authorization. The FAA requires that any request for deregistration include: (i) A complete description of the aircraft, (ii) the reason for deregistration and the country to which the aircraft is being exported, and (iii) the signature of the party requesting the deregistration.
In the case of aircraft that have an outstanding security instruments and unexpired leases with a term of six months or more that were executed on or before February 28, 2006, the party seeking to de-register the aircraft must also submit a release or consent to export.
In the case of aircraft that have outstanding interests that were executed on or after March 1, 2006, the following information must also be submitted as part of the deregistration process:
- If the aircraft is subject to the Cape Town Treaty and there is an IDERA on file, then the IDERA authorized party must include with its request:
- a copy of the International Registry Search Certificate;
- a written certification, “that all registered interests ranking in priority to that of the requestor have been discharged or that the holders of such interests have consented to the cancellation for export purposes” (This specific wording from 14 C.F.R. Part 47 §§47.47(a)(3) must be used in its entirety); and
- evidence of the discharge of interest or consent to export from the holders of interests ranking in priority to the interest of the requestor.
- If the aircraft is subject to the Cape Town Treaty and there is no IDERA on file, then the aircraft owner must include with its request:
- a written certification that all outstanding interests recorded with the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch have been discharged or that the holders of the interests have consented to the cancellation for export purposes; and
- evidence that the holders of these outstanding interests have discharged their interest or consented to the export.
- If the aircraft is not subject to the Cape Town Treaty, the aircraft owner must include with its request a release or consent to export for all outstanding security instruments and unexpired leases with a term of six months or more.
20. Has USA – Miami ratified the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the related Aircraft Protocol? Has USA – Miami made any declarations to better determine the scope of application of the Convention / Protocol in USA – Miami? If so, what is the impact of such declarations on aircraft registration issues? Are there any specific aspects relating to the enforcement of IDERA’s to be considered?
21. What are the requirements and documentation to deregister an aircraft from USA – Miami? How does the aircraft deregistration process work?
In order to deregister an aircraft, the FAA will require eevidence satisfactory to the FAA that each outstanding financial interest recorded against a registered aircraft has been released or that its holder has consented to the export.
22. What fees are payable to deregister an aircraft from USA – Miami?
The FAA handles deregistration on a priority basis. To expedite processing, the word “export” should be included in RED on the request and the envelope. Deregistration process typically takes one to two business days from the date of receipt by the FAA.
23. Is the consent of the mortgagee / lessor (as the case may be) required in order to deregister an aircraft from USA – Miami?
Whether a secured party can take physical possession of the aircraft to enforce a security agreement without the operator’s consent will depend on state law and whether the lease or operating agreement is subject and subordinate to the security agreement. If the lease or operating agreement is subject and subordinate to the security agreement, then the secured party will generally be able to do so, subject to applicable state laws in relation to “self-help”. As a general matter, under Article 9 of the UCC, a secured party may repossess an aircraft without a court order if it may do so without breach of the peace. If an operator physically challenges the repossession, then the secured party, if it nonetheless proceeds with its efforts to repossess the aircraft, will typically be considered to have breached the peace. In a scenario where the operator does not consent to the repossession, the secured party often; therefore, must seek a court order from the state or federal courts located in the state in which the aircraft is physically located.