aircraft registry

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    FAA Aircraft Registry Reaffirms its Position on Digital v. Electronic Signatures. see more

    NAFA member, Scott McCreary, Vice President at McAfee & Taft, discusses the FAA's position on digital and electronic signatures.

    The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Memorandum to the FAA Public Documents Room on September 9, 2019, reiterating the position that it would accept documents with digital signatures, but not accept documents executed with only the electronic signature methodology.  The Memorandum provides that “An electronic signature is a method of signing a document whereas a digital signature is the encryption/decryption technology of which an electronic signature is built. The digital signature secures the data associated with an electronically signed document.”

    The Memorandum confirms that in the past the FAA Aircraft Registry (Registry) may have unknowingly accepted documents with merely electronic signatures. The most common electronic signatures filed with the Registry were produced with DocuSign or Adobe, but the Memorandum confirms both programs have a digital signature option that could be utilized.

    By way of background, in May of 2016 the FAA issued a Notice of Policy Clarification for Acceptance of Documents With Digital Signatures (81 FR 23384). The Policy Clarification confirms that the Registry will accept printed duplicates of electronic documents that display legible, digital signatures that are filed in compliance with Parts 47 and 49 of the FAA Regulations (14 CFR parts 47 & 49). The Policy Clarification is clear that only digital signatures, as compared to the broader classification of electronic signatures, are acceptable. The Registry expands on the distinction between digital signatures and electronic signatures in its AFS-750 Change Bulletin 16-03, which further references FAA Order 1370.104, Digital Signature Policy.

    The Policy Clarification goes on to provide that "A legible and acceptable digital signature will have, at minimum, the following components: (1) Shows the name of the signer and is applied in a manner to execute or validate the document; (2) Includes the typed or printed name of the signer below or adjacent to the signature when the signature uses a digitized or scanned version of the signer’s hand scribed signature or the name is in a cursive font; (3) Shows the signer’s corporate, managerial, or partnership title as part of or adjacent to the digital signature when the signer is signing on behalf of an organization or legal entity; (4) Shows evidence of authentication of the signer’s identity such as the text ‘‘digitally signed by’’ along with the software provider’s seal/watermark, date and time of execution; or, have an authentication code or key identifying the software provider; and (5) Has a font, size and color density that is clearly legible and reproducible when reviewed, copied and scanned into a black on white format."

    Prior to the Policy Clarification, the Registry would only accept originally, ink signed documents. The use of digital signatures has certainly been a great benefit to the industry and very helpful for closing aircraft transactions which require filings with the Registry.

    It is often difficult to determine if a document has been digitally executed, and different programs (such as DocuSign and Adobe) identify digitally executed signatures differently. Parties should be careful to make certain any documents filed with the Registry are ink signed originals or digitally executed in compliance with the Registry requirements.

     Feel free to contact the aviation team at McAfee & Taft if you have any questions or comments.

    This article was originally published by McAfee & Taft on September 9, 2019. 

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    TUE and PUE: Closing the Gap Between the FAA and IR see more

    NAFA member, Debbie Mercer-Erwin, President of Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, writes about closing the gap between filing at the FAA and registering at the International Registry.

    In previous blogs we have discussed the paperwork gaps that can occur around aviation escrow transactions and how Wright Brothers helps to Close the Gaps, whether between the time you pay for an aircraft and the time the necessary documents are filed with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), or between documentation  Filing and Recording  at the FAA.  

    There is also a gap between filing at the FAA and registering at the International Registry (IR). In each of these scenarios, an escrow agent, as a “PUE”, can help close the gap with a more seamless transaction for a “TUE”, ensuring representation for each party. In the gap between the FAA and IR specifically, “The Closing Room”, a virtual safekeep for all notices between parties, can be a key factor and a huge help. 

    TUE? PUE? – The Differences 

    The terms TUE and PUE are often used in the world of aviation escrow, but what do they mean? A TUE is a Transacting User Entity, such as a buyer or seller, lender or debtor, whereas a PUE is a Professional User Entity, like Wright Brothers for example. Why is this important in terms of filing at the FAA or registering an interest with the IR?  

    While a TUE is the party named in the filing or registration, a PUE is not. A Professional User Entity can however file or register on behalf of a Transacting User Entity. Representation by a PUE, like WBAT, can ensure that the correct steps for both filing at the FAA and registering at the IR are followed, securing the interests of all parties involved and only upon the approval of each. 

    Between the FAA and the IR – Possible Repercussions 

    Documents are filed at the FAA for recording, and notices of interest are registered at the IR. In general, a U.S. document is filed with the FAA first, where a code is then issued to register the notice of that same interest with the IR.  

    What happens if you file at the FAA and not the IR? The IR was granted super priority over the FAA, and the IR gives “first in time, first in right” status to all notices registered there. This basically means that if you file at the FAA but do not register the notice at the IR, and someone else files a notice of a competing interest at the IR before you get there – they win.   

    The same is true if you file at the FAA and intend to register at the IR, but someone registers a competing interest before you do. They got there first, so they win. This makes the gap between filing at the FAA and registering at the IR extremely important.   

    The Closing Room – How it Helps Save Time 

    The Closing Room is an IR function that allows a coordinator, a PUE like Wright Brothers, to set up a virtual space for the interested parties (sometimes PUEs and TUEs) to hold all registrations until they are approved and ready to process. This space allows the PUE to “preposition” registration information in conjunction with any other claimed interests before submitting them. It allows for all PUEs and TUEs to view each registration and requires the approval of each in order to “close” the room, which then releases all registrations. Closing the room and filing at the FAA can thus happen almost simultaneously.  

    In this way, “The Closing Room” helps close the time gap between the registering of an interest at the IR and the filing of documents at the FAA, especially if there is a competing claim. Of significant note here is that in order to lessen the number of “hands in the pot” and really streamline the process and close the gap, the PUE should be handling all FAA filings and IR registrations on a regular basis so that all documents among all parties are handled correctly. Having interests preapproved and consented to before closing is always a good thing. 

    This article was originally published by Wright Brothers Aircraft Title on May 21, 2019.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    FAA Plans To Modernize Its Outdated Civil Aviation Registry Systems, but Key Decisions and Challenge see more

    FAA plans to modernize its outdated Civil Aviation Registry Systems, but key decisions and challenges remain.

    Requested by the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Subcommittee on Aviation and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

    Federal Aviation Administration | AV2019052 | May 8, 2019

    What We Looked At

    The Civil Aviation Registry (The Registry) processes and maintains ownership information on approximately 300,000 private and commercial aircraft and records on almost 1.5 million airmen. The Registry is critical for ensuring aircraft are legally owned, maintained, and operated, and many users in law enforcement, safety, the aviation industry, and the public rely on the accuracy and timeliness of its data. The Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Subcommittee on Aviation requested that we assess FAA’s overall management of the Registry and public access to certain Registry elements. We received a similar request from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Our audit objective was to assess FAA’s management of the Civil Aviation Registry. Specifically, we assessed FAA’s

    (1) progress in modernizing the Registry and (2) policies for providing public access to Registry-related activities.

    What We Found

    The Registry’s systems are outdated, and FAA has yet to develop a detailed plan for modernization. The Registry’s current systems cannot support online access outside of the Registry’s offices in Oklahoma City, OK. While FAA is in the early stages of developing plans to modernize the Registry’s systems, the Agency has not yet made key decisions regarding the system. Consequently, the cost and timeframes for Registry modernization remain uncertain, even though FAA is mandated to complete Registry upgrades by October 2021. In addition, the regulations that govern aircraft registration do not reflect current technology or business practices, and FAA will likely need to conduct a rulemaking in conjunction with Registry modernization. If FAA does not complete the rulemaking in coordination with the development of the new system, the Agency risks spending resources on a system that lacks key capabilities.

    Due to the current system’s limitations, users who need to access aircraft registration information in real time must access the system through the use of Government-owned computer terminals located at the Registry’s Public Documents Room (PDR) in Oklahoma City. For users who cannot or do not want to travel to Oklahoma City, they can obtain aircraft information online, but that information is updated once a day, rather than in real time. Moving towards a more efficient process hinges on modernizing the Registry, but FAA has not yet developed a plan for allowing real-time access to aircraft information.

    Our Recommendations

    FAA concurred with all four of our recommendations and proposed appropriate actions and completion dates.


    All OIG audit reports are available on our website at www.oig.dot.gov.
    For inquiries about this report, please contact our Office of Congressional and External Affairs at (202) 366-8751.

    Click here to read the full report.

    This report was originally published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General on May 8, 2019.

     

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Changes Coming for U.S. Aircraft Registry see more

    There are changes ahead for the U.S. aircraft registry due to new provisions in the recently passed FAA reauthorization bill, as well as anticipated recommendations stemming from ongoing investigations by the DOT Inspector General (IG) and Government Accountability Office (GAO), panelists said yesterday at Corporate Jet Investor Miami 2018.

    Under the reauthorization bill, the FAA’s Oklahoma City-based aircraft registry is required to become fully digitized within three years, including all non-digital registry information and manual-/paper-based processes, business operations, and functions. The agency must also install systems that allow digital submission of information and conduct any transactions electronically.

    Further, the reauthorization bill will allow the FAA to charge a manual surcharge “for certain matters conducted in person” and prevents a government shutdown from affecting the registry. It also directs the FAA to initiate a rulemaking by early February that would extend the duration of general aviation aircraft registrations from three years to seven.

    Meanwhile, the DOT IG and GAO audits, spawned by last year’s Boston Globe reports that criticized the registry, will cause even more, yet-to-be-determined changes. A DOT IG audit report on the efficiency of the FAA registry is imminent, while one on security is expected next year. The GAO report is also anticipated to come out next year.

    This article was originally published in AINonline on November 14, 2018.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Changes Coming for U.S. Aircraft Registry see more

    There are changes ahead for the U.S. aircraft registry due to new provisions in the recently passed FAA reauthorization bill, as well as anticipated recommendations stemming from ongoing investigations by the DOT Inspector General (IG) and Government Accountability Office (GAO), panelists said yesterday at Corporate Jet Investor Miami 2018.

    Under the reauthorization bill, the FAA’s Oklahoma City-based aircraft registry is required to become fully digitized within three years, including all non-digital registry information and manual-/paper-based processes, business operations, and functions. The agency must also install systems that allow digital submission of information and conduct any transactions electronically.

    Further, the reauthorization bill will allow the FAA to charge a manual surcharge “for certain matters conducted in person” and prevents a government shutdown from affecting the registry. It also directs the FAA to initiate a rulemaking by early February that would extend the duration of general aviation aircraft registrations from three years to seven.

    Meanwhile, the DOT IG and GAO audits, spawned by last year’s Boston Globe reports that criticized the registry, will cause even more, yet-to-be-determined changes. A DOT IG audit report on the efficiency of the FAA registry is imminent, while one on security is expected next year. The GAO report is also anticipated to come out next year.

    This article was originally published on AINonline on November 14, 2018.