The first thing a first-time aircraft owner must do is register the aircraft in their name with the FAA. FAR 47.31 states no one can operate an aircraft until it’s registered. FAR 47.31 tells how to apply for a certificate of registration, and specifies that when the FAA sends the permanent registration, the owner must keep the document in the aircraft. As the registered owner of an aircraft, FAR 91.403 makes you responsible for maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition. This includes complying with all FAA airworthiness directives (ADs) issued for your aircraft, engine, and equipment. Also, aircraft owners must notify the FAA of any change in permanent mailing address, the sale or export of the aircraft, or the loss of eligibility to register an aircraft (see FAR 47.41).
Effective October 1, 2010, aircraft owners are required to re-register their aircraft every three years. The plan calls for the re-registration of all U.S. civil aircraft by December 31, 2013. The FAA re-registration fee is $5.00. The FAA will cancel the N-numbers of aircraft that are not re-registered or renewed. To ensure that their aircraft do not slip through the cracks, owners should check the FAA website now and make sure the FAA has accurate information regarding their aircraft.