FAA

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    FAA Responds to NBAA’s Call for COVID-19 Accommodations on Part 135 Training see more

    NAFA member, NBAA, shares FAA's response to call for COVID-19 accommodations on Part 135 Training.

    Faced with an unprecedented situation driven by the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, the FAA has answered NBAA’s call for the agency to take unprecedented steps to ensure that many charter operators are able to continue flying through the crisis.

    On March 25, the agency issued the following four exemptions in effect through May 31, 2020, and applicable to most Part 135 operators:

    • FAA-2020-0291, exempting Part 135 operators from the requirement that crewmembers don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks during recurrent and upgrade training, testing and checking.
    • FAA-2020-0292, allowing Part 135 ground personnel and crewmembers to complete recurrent training and qualification activities up to three calendar months after the month that the activity was due to have been completed, for requirements that were due to be completed through May 31, 2020.
    • FAA-2020-0307, exempting Part 119 certificate holders, including some Part 135 operations, from the requirement that crewmembers don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks during recurrent and upgrade training, checking and evaluation.
    • FAA-2020-0308, allowing Part 119 certificate holders, including some Part 135 operations, allowing ground personnel, crewmembers and dispatchers to complete recurrent training and qualification activities up to three calendar months after the month that the activity was due to have been completed, for requirements that were due to be completed through May 31, 2020.

    “We thank the FAA for its responsiveness to our request for these accommodations to ensure that business aviation operators will be able continue flying through this unprecedented and challenging situation,” said Brian Koester, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations. “As we continue to adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 environment, NBAA will work to ensure our industry is fairly represented in these and other actions taken to maintain our nation’s aviation infrastructure.”

    In issuing these exemptions, the FAA noted that the agency has circumvented the typical publication process in the Federal Register, as “delaying action would have an adverse and potentially immediate impact on [the] continuity of critical aviation operations essential to the public interest.”

    This article was originally published by NBAA on March 26, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    FAA Makes Changes to Public Documents Room Due to COVID-19 see more

    NAFA member, Debbie Mercer-Erwin, President of Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, Inc., shares the latest update on the FAA Civil Aviation Registry and Public Documents Room.

    In light of the continued spread and impact of COVID-19, or Coronavirus, the FAA Civil Aviation Registry has issued new procedures affecting the Public Documents Room (PDR) in the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center.

    The change in processes comes in an attempt to minimize exposure to employees, permit-holders who regularly access the PDR, their families and the public at large.

    The FAA intends to keep the PDR open and “provide essential services while maintaining social distancing and restricting physical public access.” 

    There are now temporary measures in place, effective as of 8:00 am, Thursday, March 19, 2020, to help slow the spread of Coronavirus and maintain efficiency at the Registry. 

    While the PDR remains open for their usual hours, 7:30 to 4:00 CDT, the “filing” window has been closed, which removes the ability to immediately file documents. 

    For now, document submissions will be collected from drop boxes located directly outside the PDR – hourly for those qualifying as “priority” and twice a day for those that do not. 

    During this time the Registry will not provide “minute-by-minute” filing stamps. Digital submissions are allowed if all closing documents are digitally signed and less than 20 pages.

    Documents can still be mailed via the usual means, but there is now a temporary email option as well. 

    Documents can be emailed following certain requirements: all digitally signed, attachments 20 pages or less per document, one aircraft per email, and priority indicator.

    Another notable change is that the FAA cannot guarantee “in by 11 out by COB” expedited processing of documents for imports. 

    There are also changes to payment services, which should now be completed online at pay.gov. A receipt can be generated to be submitted to the Registry if filing documents via email. 

    It may be a while before we fully see the effect these changes have on document filing and transactions, but there will certainly be some delay while we become accustomed to the new procedures.

    While disruptions inevitably continue for industries worldwide, we are encouraged by the actions our leaders and communities are taking to protect our health and help businesses continue to run. 

    This is a summary of details regarding the FAA’s PDR changes. For more information and assistance please contact your local agent.

    This release was originally published by Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, Inc. on March 20, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    GATS! Coming Soon to a Country Near You see more

    NAFA member, Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, discusses the Global Aircraft Trading System (GATS).

    The Global Aircraft Trading System, or GATS, is an initiative stemming from one of the most successful multi-country treaties. The Cape Town Treaty, signed in 2001, set up uniform rules and regulations to help facilitate asset-based financing and leasing of aviation equipment worldwide. 

    As discussed in our previous blog, The History behind the International Registry (another initiative of Cape Town), the treaty established a set of laws more favorable to lenders that would expand international financing opportunities and open doors for new market entrants around the globe.  

    The Aviation Working Group (AWG) was a central participant in this process as a not-for-profit legal entity contributing to the development of policies, laws and regulations that advance international aviation financing and leasing. 

    Their latest project, coming soon to a country near you, is GATS, which specifically aims to “increase the transparency of and confidence in aircraft trading, and further protect rights, by introducing a secure, live and searchable electronic ledger displaying details of ownership and security interests.” 

    Both the International Registry and the Global Aircraft Trading System are designed to modernize and facilitate, via electronic registries, the efficient and secure trading and financing of aircraft equipment, while protecting the rights of all parties. GATS, however, focuses on “reducing the burdens on lessees, lessors and financiers” and even more so, protecting the lessee’s rights. 

    Out of necessity, the trading and financing of aircraft equipment subject to leases continues to grow in the aviation industry. Likewise, the need for trusts. You can read more about this in the blog Why an Aircraft Should be Registered in Trust, by our sister company, Aircraft Guaranty Corporation.

    Subsequently, the need for more efficient lease and trust transactions has become increasingly important, especially in commercial aviation where ownership interests in leased collateral changes hands on a frequent basis. Every time the ownership changes, the lease between lessor and lessee must also change, creating a heavy burden on the lessees.  

    An airline employee once complained that they had to alter a lease agreement 11 times in 2 years.  Placing aircraft in trust transfers the burden of these ownership changes to an owner trustee, allowing lessees to focus on operating their airlines. While the benefits of GATS can clearly be seen in the commercial airline realm, the benefits to the business and general aviation sector remain to be seen.  

    The fully electronic system will be voluntary and open to all industry participants. With e-signatures, e-delivery of documents and use of a secure e-ledger to record transactions, the platform will detail the trust history of aircraft that are registered on GATS. 

    The new registry could be another tool for aviation escrow services to use in Clearing Clouded Aircraft Titles, similar to an FAA title search. While this could increase safety and transparency in international aircraft transactions, it will also increase costs. It may also increase the time it takes to close, depending on how quickly and efficiently the new GATS registry system can be searched.

    At first, any GATS trust will be formed in Ireland, Singapore or the U.S., and subject to the applicable jurisdiction for the creation and transfer of security interests. Available jurisdictions may expand in the future.

    The rights of lessees will be specifically protected by prohibiting transfers unless agreed upon conditions in favor of the lessee have been met. GATS will also further “reinforce ‘no increased obligations’ lease provisions in favor of lessees”. 

    The GATS platform for electronic trading is practically here. The static URL was activated on December 10, 2019, and from March 1st to 31st a ‘simulated transaction period’ will be open. The full launch is targeted for April 1, 2020.

    With the FAA issuing an opinion on January 22nd concluding that “the GATS transitional trust documents comply with applicable federal law and will support aircraft registration in the name of a GATS trustee”, it appears that GATS is ready for takeoff.

    Stay tuned for more GATS developments. For more information on GATS, visit awg.aero/project/gats/.

    This article was originally published by Wright Brothers Aircraft Title on February 10, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    The Difference between Filed and Recorded FAA Documents & Why it Matters see more

    NAFA member, Aircraft Guaranty Corporation, discusses what you need to know about filed and recorded FAA Documents.

    There is a difference between the filing and recording of documents at the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), and it matters when it comes to properly registering your aircraft in trust. This article explores the differences between the two and the effects both unrecorded and improperly recorded documents can have on an aircraft’s title and therefore registration in the U.S. 

    How are documents filed at the FAA?  

    The FAA has strict rules about  how  documents being filed need to look. The seller’s name  must  match the FAA records, only certain titles under signatures are acceptable, there are boxes to check for buyers, and lenders need help releasing outstanding loans or filing new ones.  If any documents are not properly filled out when filed, the FAA could refuse to record them, causing problems for a buyer or owner trustee on down the line.  

    The FAA reviews all documents that are  filed  at or received by the central registry in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For the time being, there is a window in the Public Documents Room (PD Room) where anyone can walk up and hand in a document for filing. The window attendant will stamp the document with the date and time it was received. This document has now been  filed  at the FAA. 

    With the digitization of all records, required by the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed on October 3rd, 2018, the PD Room is likely to be less of a factor in timely filings. However, whether in person, by mail, or via the internet, the rules and processes for filing documents remain the same. 

     

    How does the FAA record documents that have been filed? 

    Filed documents are put through a rigorous review process, which can take up to six weeks to complete. The FAA has an extensive list of rules and regulations that documents must meet in order to be eligible for  recording. If you’re not familiar with the rules, specifically those that apply to your situation, there’s a good chance that your document will not be in the proper  recording format. 

    Documents that meet all the requirements are stamped a second time with the new date and time reflecting that the document has been  recorded  by the FAA. They are then placed in the main aircraft file.  

    Interestingly, in most cases, the priority of recorded documents relates back to the filing date, giving “first in time, first in right” status to recorded documents based on the time they were filed, not recorded. In other words, generally,  first to file wins (although this is ultimately decided by a court of competent jurisdiction). 

    If a document is rejected by the FAA because it doesn’t meet their regulations, it is not stamped as recorded and it is placed in a separate file called “suspense”. The suspense file is publicly available, so anyone can view what was filed and by whom, but questions always arise about the validity of these rejected documents. 

    Any unrecorded documents that remain in the suspense file of an aircraft create a “cloud” in the title that will have to be addressed before registering in trust. These unrecordable documents have a profoundly negative effect on an entity’s title, and they can be costly and time consuming to fix. 

     

    Are all documents that are recorded with the FAA valid? 

    While the review process is thorough and careful, it is not always the case that a document is properly recorded. In other words, just because a document is recorded doesn’t mean it’s 100% accurate or valid – clouds may exist even for documents that have been recorded by the FAA.  

    In general, the FAA does not validate the documents that are filed or recorded there. Rather, the registry will record documents if they are submitted correctly and within the allotted time frame.  

    The validity of all documents is ultimately determined by a court of law in the relevant jurisdiction, but you can be pretty sure that there will be challenges to the validity and priority of documents that have not been recorded by the FAA. 

     

    What does this mean to an aircraft owner in trust? 

    Navigating the rules and regulations related to filing documents with the FAA can be tedious at best. The filing of documents is not necessarily the difficult part of the process – meeting all the necessary FAA requirements to get them properly recorded though is a challenge without industry knowledge and experience.  

    There are many possibilities for error in the  registration process,  increasing the amount of time and money spent.  It’s complicated and requires  experts for error-free and timely filings. The main  role of an owner trustee is to represent the interests of the beneficiary, and as such, it is our responsibility to ensure that all documents filed at the FAA are recorded  and kept up to date.  

     

    This article was originally published by Aircraft Guaranty Corporation on January 8, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Hot Topics for Bizav in 2020 see more

    NAFA member, David G. Mayer, Partner with Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, shares the top-five challenges in business aviation for 2020.  

    The U.S. finished 2019 at the top of the world of business aircraft transactions and it is well-positioned to continue its leadership this year. Of course, every year presents important challenges and there are five that I believe will affect many aircraft owners, lessors, lenders, managers, insurance and buy/sell brokers, technical consultants, and other industry participants in 2020. Here are my top-five challenges for this year:

    ETHICAL BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS

    The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) expects its member brokers and other aircraft transaction professionals to abide by professional standards and ethics rules under IADA’s code of ethics. To put its standards into practice, among other steps, IADA admits new members under an accreditation process administered by an independent outside firm.

    IADA is far from alone in its important efforts. By issuing its statement regarding ethical conduct, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) strongly asserts that every member company should use these guidelines to enforce high levels of ethical behavior, safety, integrity, accountability, and respect for others. NATA urges its diverse general aviation members to use these guidelines to enforce compliance and deter wrongdoing. Further, NBAA published ethical business aviation transactions guidelines to establish core ethics and business conduct standards in transactions between buyers and sellers of business aircraft products and services.

    It’s no secret that some industry participants believe others act outside such ethical guidelines. Still, each person has a new opportunity in 2020 to renew his or her efforts to play by the applicable rules urged on them by their respective associations regardless of inconsistent or questionable behavior of others.

    ILLEGAL CHARTERS

    After seeing the FAA take multiple actions against illegal charters in 2019, you might conclude that illegal charter operations will be unstoppable in 2020. Not so.

    In my experience, most charter and on-demand flight services operate legally, will happily demonstrate their capabilities, and explain how they comply with the FARs. Unfortunately, other operators test the limits or flat out operate illegally in violation of the FARs.

    The FAA focuses on safety and enforces the FARs. Two big buckets of rules in the FARs, among others, cover legal operation of business aircraft: private flight operations under FAR Part 91 and commercial or on-demand flight operations under FAR Part 135.

    A Part 135-compliant operator must obey stringent operational, training, and other rules designed to assure passenger safety. Part 91, not so much; an operator has fewer requirements under the FARs in part because they do not, if in compliance, transport persons or property for compensation or hire as permitted for certified operators under Part 135.

    Anyone, including prospective passengers, can help curb illegal flight operations in 2020 by doing modest diligence on charter operations you observe or might use. For example, as a prospective passenger, you can potentially identify violators, reporting your concerns to the FAA and taking your charter business elsewhere. NATA’s website posts a hotline telephone number for customers or others to report violators.

    One tell-tale sign of a potential problem might appear if the price of a flight is much lower than one provided by another operator. Although that may be good news for your wallet, it might also reveal an illegal operation that lowers its prices to edge out operators that incur higher costs to comply with FAR Part 135.

    If a charter operator tells you, or you discover, that you, and not the charter operator, will exercise “operational control” of the flight, that is a red flag warning of a potential illegal charter operation under the FARs. Operational control means you will be responsible for the initiation, conduct, and termination of the flight (14 CFR 1.1), a position that puts you in the personal liability hotseat should certain things go wrong with the flight.

    For more, NATA and NBAA offer valuable materials on illegal charter operations.

    Although a bit different than illegal charter, I have seen and discussed with many colleagues illegal private operations under Part 91 categorically called “flight department companies.” Often taking the form of limited liability companies (LLCs), LLC members sometimes erroneously believe that the LLC, which has no business enterprise, can operate its aircraft and receive “compensation” from family, friends, associates, or others that “borrow” or “use” the LLC’s aircraft.

    Compensation is a very broad term in the FAA’s view and occurs in many ways, including when passengers share expenses or reimburse the LLC for aircraft operating costs. With very limited exceptions, these flight operations are illegal, prohibited under the FARs, and subject to FAA enforcement action.

    Expect both illegal charter and flight department company operations to be on the FAA’s radar in 2020, likely more so than you have ever seen before.

    BONUS DEPRECIATION AND OTHER TAX PLANNING

    A buyer committed to purchasing an aircraft should make a New Year’s resolution to analyze primary tax aspects of owning, operating, and storing the aircraft, and tax minimization structures, ideally, before signing a letter of intent to buy an aircraft. This analysis should at least cover federal income, state sales/use, and local property taxes to calculate the total tax costs of, or potential tax write-offs with respect to, acquisition and ownership of an aircraft.

    Typically, clients start with questions on claiming 100 percent “bonus depreciation,” which continues to be available in 2020. For this year, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allows aircraft owners, with limitations for personal use, temporarily to take 100 percent bonus depreciation deductions on new and preowned aircraft against gross income if the taxpayer uses the aircraft in its trade or business or for production of income. (For more, see AINsight: Maximize Aircraft Bonus Depreciation in 2019 and AINsight: 100% Depreciation and Aircraft Personal Use.)

    Early in the buying experience, many buyers also express an understandable aversion to paying any property, sales, or use tax—and often believe they can avoid these taxes entirely. It is imperative to consider recent changes in law and tax rates that came into effect on January 1 and how to eliminate or reduce these taxes.

    To advance your planning, determine the expected storage/hangar location(s), project the use outside of the aircraft’s home state, and consider various structures to lease your aircraft. Also, determine if or when local tax law imposes an annual property tax on the aircraft for possible tax planning relating to the location of your aircraft on that date. Using all this information, talk with your advisors for structures and strategies that may defer, allocate, eliminate, or otherwise minimize the property, sales, and use taxes.

    Once a purchase closes, always keep accurate, clear, complete, and contemporaneous records on relevant tax-oriented facts for all federal, state, and local tax authorities. Don’t wait for an audit letter to update your books.

    ADS-B OUT PRIVACY

    The ADS-B technology mandate, which became effective January 1, has great merit for safety, flight communications accuracy, and other reasons.

    However, private third-parties can—using inexpensive, commercially available receivers—pick up the aircraft’s broadcast of its unique ICAO address and thereby capture information directly from ADS-B transmissions that an aircraft operator might prefer to remain confidential. Such information includes an aircraft’s identification, altitude, GPS positional data, and velocity.

    To address these privacy concerns, ADS-B operators should quickly evaluate and, if using 1090-MHz ADS-B equipment, decide whether to participate in the FAA’s Privacy ICAO Address (PIA) program, starting this month. In December, the FAA established an application process for operators to use and periodically change temporary ICAO aircraft addresses that aren’t tied to an operator in the Civil Aviation Registry (CAR).

    The PIA program is limited to U.S. domestic operations to avoid potential conflicts with other ICAO member states that currently do not offer this capability. That means privacy breaches might still occur on flight operations outside the U.S.

    The PIA program differs from the FAA’s new Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed (LADD) program. Operators that do not wish to allow the FAA to share aircraft data the FAA receives, including tail number, call sign, and flight number, can submit LADD requests via FAA’s dedicated LADD website. The LADD program, which replaces the Block Aircraft Registry Request (BARR) program, does not impact the ADS-B broadcast data, which, as noted, transmits information directly to capable receivers.

    For maximum privacy domestically in the U.S., sign up for both the PIA and LADD programs.

    INSURANCE TURBULENCE FOR OWNERS, OPERATORS, LESSORS, AND LENDERS 

    If you plan to buy or renew insurance coverage in 2020, buckle up. Plagued by years of huge payouts and financial losses, some insurers have exited the market, resulting in reduced liability insurance capacity for all aircraft and much higher premiums (anecdotally, 20 percent to up to 300 percent of 2019 rates).

    The best operators should still be able to maintain or even improve coverage in 2020 at higher premiums provided their insurers agree that the customers have a stellar safety record, outstanding training programs, and experienced pilots with high hours in the type of aircraft insured by the carrier. The story is different for single-pilot, owner/operated aircraft or new pilots who might not be able to find insurance at any price or, if insurance is available, must accept reduced liability limits at higher premiums than in 2019.

    Lenders and lessors might have a different predicament. From transactional activity in 2019, it seems financiers generally required and successfully obtained yesteryear’s high liability insurance limits. In 2020, lenders and lessors may have to ease back on their demands for such high liability insurance levels and concentrate more on property damage coverage.

    In supporting this easing, lenders and lessors can point to a 2018 federal law amendment that might facilitate approving transactions with reduced liability insurance limits. Under 49 U.S. Code § 44112, Limitation of liability, Congress provided a preemptory shield of business aircraft lessors and lenders from personal injury and property damage liability if they do not have possession or control over the aircraft at the time of the accident.

    Customers should contact specialized aviation insurance brokers well before signing a purchase agreement in 2020, to allow much more time than the week before closing to find insurance with the best terms and lowest cost. (For more, see AINsight: Limiting Risk as Liability Insurance Tightens.)

    CONCLUSION 

    Amid the many challenges that business aviation will face in 2020, rather than debate the topics above for long, it is more important to take action now and throughout the new decade for the benefit of clients, customers, and colleagues involved in the business aviation industry. Will you take action and suggest others do too?

    This article was originally published by AINonline on January 10, 2020.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    David Norton, with Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, discusses ADS-B Out & RVSM airspace. see more

    NAFA member, David Norton, Partner with Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, discusses ADS-B Out and RVSM airspace. 

    The FAA just made your life a little easier. As of January 22, if your aircraft is properly equipped with ADS-B Out, you are automatically authorized to fly in domestic RVSM airspace.

    What Does That Mean?  

    A key air traffic control function is to keep aircraft safely separated. A basic way of doing so is to have aircraft fly at different altitudes. But this works only if everyone’s aircraft altimeter – the instrument that tells you your altitude – is accurate. Altimeters originally were very accurate at lower altitudes; less so the higher you flew. So the norm was for air traffic control (ATC) to instruct different aircraft to fly at specific altitudes that were at least 1,000 feet apart from each other when flying below 28,000 feet, and at least 2,000 feet apart when flying above 28,000 feet. 

    That would ensure enough of a safety buffer between what the altimeter was saying and what the aircraft’s actual altitude might be, to be sure two airplanes were not inadvertently flying at the same altitude (even if their instruments said they were 2,000 feet apart) when above 28,000 feet. But flying above 28,000 feet, where half as much airspace is available, typically is where you want your jet aircraft to be in order to maximize air speed and fuel efficiency.

    By the early 2000s, technology had improved to the point that ATC could begin to use only a 1,000 foot separation above 28,000 feet (thus doubling the airspace available to jet aircraft), but this would work only if all aircraft in that airspace had the new, more accurate technology. The FAA therefore issued a rule stating that if an operator wanted to fly in this newly “reduced vertical separation minimum” (RVSM) airspace, that is, the airspace above 28,000 feet and below 43,000 feet, then specific permission was needed.  

    If the operator demonstrated an ability to meet all applicable technical requirements, the FAA would grant a “letter of authorization” (LOA). Periodically, the operator would have to fly over specific ground stations able to measure the actual altitude of the aircraft, to confirm that the technology was actually working. Unfortunately, the ongoing problem has been that obtaining these LOAs can be extremely difficult and time consuming, and you can’t cruise in RVSM airspace until you have one. 

    During the last ten years, however, two key things have happened. First, most of today’s aircraft meet all of the original RVSM requirements. Second has been the simultaneous development of a much larger, more comprehensive set of technologies to significantly improve the overall safety and efficiency of the U.S. air traffic control system. 

    Key to this effort is “Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out” (ADS-B Out), which is much more accurate than ground-based radar, and which allows the FAA to track very accurately the aircraft’s actual position, altitude, velocity, identification, etc. – in real time. Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91.225 governing ADS-B Out equipment and use requires that all aircraft operating in U.S. airspace have a certified GPS position source teamed with a transponder that is capable of automatically transmitting data from the aircraft to the ATC without input from the pilot. ADS-B also gives pilots immediate access to air traffic and weather services.

    To its great credit, the FAA realized that, as aircraft operators install this new ADS-B Out technology, it can safely and automatically grant permission to those operators to fly in domestic RVSM airspace. This saves both the FAA and each operator an enormous amount of time and energy, reducing paperwork and processing requirements, while maintaining a higher level of safety, better situational awareness, and more efficient, direct routing. 

    The new RVSM rule is a further great incentive to encourage you to install ADS-B Out in your aircraft before the January 1, 2020 deadline.

    This article was originally published by Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP on March 11, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Ongoing Privacy Concerns with Implementation of ADS-B see more

    NAFA member, Amanda Applegate, Partner with Aerlex Law Group, discusses ADS-B and privacy concerns.

    ADS-B stands for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast. By January 1, 2020, the majority of aircraft operating within the United States will be required to have ADS-B Out capabilities – and for aircraft registered internationally, some compliance deadlines are even sooner. Aircraft lacking ADS-B Out capabilities after that date will be effectively grounded or severely limited in where and how they can fly – perhaps for months! 

    The ADS-B Out requirements are just one element of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), which is being implemented in phases between 2012 and 2025. The purpose of NextGen is to transform America’s antiquated air traffic control (ATC) system from a radar-based system to a satellite based system. 

    What is ADS-B Out? ADS-B is technology that uses an airplane’s onboard global positioning system (GPS) to transmit the current position, speed, flight number and, most importantly, whether the airplane is climbing, descending or turning. The current radar-based system is not able to recognize and process information regarding climb, descent or turns. The transmitted information is sent to ATC and other aircraft. The current radar system sends updates once every two to twelve seconds. However, aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out capabilities transmit data every second. So, not only do the transmitted updates contain more information, including data on climb, descent and turns, but the updates also take place far more frequently. 

    Upgrading the system on an aircraft to incorporate ADS-B Out capabilities allows both ATC and pilots of other aircraft with ADS-B In to see the aircraft nearest to them with a graphical representation. While Traffic Alert and Collison Avoidance Systems (TCAS) currently provide some of this information, the additional data generated by ADS-B Out will make the information far more accurate. 

    With ADS-B Out equipped aircraft broadcasting not just their flight plans but their current position, speed, and flight number, aircraft can be tracked much easier. While there are many advantages to ADS-B Out, using this newly available information means it is easier for the world to know who is flying where. 

    There are two important steps that can be taken in order to minimize the public disclosure of aircraft locations:

    1. Ownership structure. Using options such as a finance lease, owner trust or sole purpose entity to hold title could help preserve anonymity if structured properly. 

    2. Registration Number Blocking. In 2013 the FAA issued a notice that allows owners and operators to limit the display of aircraft situation display to industry (ASDI) data. Owners and operators can request the blocking of the flight tracking information. While this does not include data now available because of ADS-B, it can help. The process for opting out of this flight data feed can be found here: 

    https://www.aerlex.com/protecting-your-privacy 

    While many associations, including National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) have been vocal about the privacy concerns linked to ADS-B data, a solution is not known or planned for the immediate future. As a result, planning and implementing a favorable ownership structure at the time an aircraft is purchased has become more important, as well as taking advantage of registration number blocking made available by the FAA.

    Please contact Amanda Applegate at 310-392-5200 or aapplegate@aerlex.com.

    This article was originally published in BusinessAir Magazine, July 2019, Volume 29, No. 7., August 13, 2019. 

  • 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
    GAMA Welcomes Dickson Confirmation as FAA Administrator see more

    Washington, DC — July 24, 2019 — The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President and CEO Pete Bunce today issued the following statement on the confirmation of Steve Dickson to serve as the next Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator:

    “We congratulate Steve Dickson on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate. GAMA and its member companies look forward to working with him as the next leader of the FAA.”

    “GAMA also strongly endorses Congress passing a waiver to ensure Dan Elwell continues to serve as FAA Deputy Administrator.  Mr. Elwell has proven to be a very effective manager and leader at the FAA and will provide important continuity and support as Mr. Dickson takes over as Administrator.” 

    For additional information, please contact Paul Feldman, Vice President, Government Affairs, +1 (202) 393-1500 or pfeldman@gama.aero.

    This release was originally published by GAMA on July 24, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    OIG Reports on FAA Registry Update - What Does It Mean? see more

    NAFA member, Debbie Mercer-Erwin, President of Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, discusses the OIG, the FAA Registry Update, and what it means for the aviation industry. 

    The Situation

    There are changes ahead that will modernize the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) – bringing it up to date with the latest technology and security measures. One of the key updates will be to the registry system, which is vital for ensuring aircraft are legally owned, maintained, and operated.   

    The deadline for the huge overhaul is now October of 2021, which doesn’t seem that far away. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently issued a 29-page report – “FAA Plans to Modernize Its Outdated Civil Aviation Registry Systems, but Key Decisions and Challenges Remain” – regarding the progress the FAA is making in order to meet the modernization mandate. 

    The OIG delved into what they think the FAA needs in place to complete the required upgrade on time – their report put into question whether it could be accomplished, stating: “The Registry’s systems are outdated, and FAA has yet to develop a detailed plan for modernization.”

    The FAA’s plans are not the only consideration in the timeframe though, given the Congress factor. Because “the regulations that govern aircraft registration do not reflect current technology or business practices”, modernizing the FAA’s registration system will require rulemaking by Congress, which can take some time.

    A Modern System

    This is a significant update to the Registry – many provisions were implemented with the Reauthorization Act of 2018 (HR 302) – which Wright Brothers Aircraft Title covered in more depth in Highlights of the 5 Year FAA Reauthorization Act.

    The new registration system, Civil Aviation Registry Electronic Services (CARES), “is expected to streamline processes, allow for the submission of electronic applications and forms, improve controls, automate registration processes, and improve online data availability” according to the FAA. Its key aims are:

    • Web-based access to all public data. For the first time in history, the general public will be able to view FAA records online in real time. Currently, what isn’t already electronically maintained is held in the Public Documents Room (PDR) available for those who have access. Any electronic records are only in real time via the computers at the PDR – outside access is limited to information that is updated once daily.

    The modernization mandate includes digitizing all aircraft registration documents for real-time, public and web-based access, which means phasing out the PDR at the FAA. Furthermore, using the PDR will incur a fee if the business could have been conducted by electronic means as efficiently. 

    • Automation of application services (processes and procedures). For the first time in history, the general public will also be able to file any document electronically. Most aircraft registration functions still require paper documents that are manually scanned and reviewed by Registry examiners. Digitizing and automating the registration process means the role of FAA examiners will change, becoming more high-level. 

    In Order to Proceed

    Detailed estimates of technical and operational requirements for the new system are vital right now – anticipating the rulemaking, cost and schedule that will be necessary to successfully complete the expansive project. Some key questions need to be answered:

    What are the new components/upgrades needed in the new system? The FAA is considering: automated approvals for low-risk applications; automated verification of fraudulent or incorrect submissions; additional security controls such as crosschecking information with non-agency entities; the registry structure, including combining aircraft and airmen systems; and matters of data storage with a cloud- or server-based system.

    How will the FAA fund the new system?It hasn’t been decided yet – funding modernization projects usually comes from its facilities and equipment (F&E) account, but they may be able to use money from its operations and maintenance (O&M) account. This must be decided before it becomes a part of the agency’s budget.

    What rulemaking via Congress is necessary in order to proceed?The FAA will have to develop a rulemaking that revises current regulation and allows for the electronic registration of aircraft –to improve controls, strengthen requirements, and implement digital signatures and electronic payments – a complete outline of the new system is needed beforehand to know exactly what rules to change 

    Now What? – The Challenges

    The OIG report contained four main recommendations to the FAA. The FAA accepted and outlined a schedule for implementing them: 

    1. Develop and implement timeline for making key decisions regarding CARES by May 31, 2019. 
    2. Define desired capabilities of CARES by Dec 31, 2019
    3. Develop and implement a procedure to obtain industry feedback by Oct 31, 2019. 
    4. Develop and implement a plan for maintaining real-time access to data by June 30, 2019.

    There are challenges to face though, including: the transfer of a huge amount of data (with a lot of outdated/large files) to a new system; meeting the needs of registry users – aircraft title companies, financial institutions, aircraft manufacturers, airmen, other government agencies etc. – to ensure the operation of aircraft worldwide; and addressing workforce issues arising from role changes.

    The Transition & After

    The OIG has concerns, but if the FAA stays on track with this schedule, they can meet the October 2021 deadline, barring delays with Congressional rulemaking. 

    Updating and modernizing the new system will be a great improvement, but will not fully alleviate all of the pitfalls to closing yourself that we outline in our blog, Can’t I Handle My Own Aircraft Closing?. It will still be important to hire a company that knows the ins and outs of the FAA system to avoid costly errors that could take time and money to correct.

    Ultimately, the changes ahead will modernize the FAA’s registry system, helping to bring the aviation industry up to date in technology and security measures. There is significant work to do, but we’re confident that every entity involved in this important endeavor will fulfill expectations. 

    This article was originally published by Wright Brothers Aircraft Title on their blog on July 16, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    NAFA member, Aircraft Guaranty Corporation, discusses the FAA Registry Update. see more

    NAFA member, Aircraft Guaranty Corporation, discusses the FAA Registry Update.

    The Situation

    There are changes ahead that will modernize the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) – bringing it up to date with the latest technology and security measures. One of the key updates will be to the registry system, which is vital for ensuring aircraft are legally owned, maintained, and operated.   

    The deadline for the huge overhaul is now October of 2021, which doesn’t seem that far away. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently issued a 29-page report – “FAA Plans to Modernize Its Outdated Civil Aviation Registry Systems, but Key Decisions and Challenges Remain” – regarding the progress the FAA is making in order to meet the modernization mandate. 

    The OIG delved into what they think the FAA needs in place to complete the required upgrade on time – their report put into question whether it could be accomplished, stating: “The Registry’s systems are outdated, and FAA has yet to develop a detailed plan for modernization.”

    The FAA’s plans are not the only consideration in the timeframe though, given the Congress factor. Because “the regulations that govern aircraft registration do not reflect current technology or business practices”, modernizing the FAA’s registration system will require rulemaking by Congress, which can take some time.

    A Modern System

    This is a significant update to the Registry – many provisions were implemented with the Reauthorization Act of 2018 (HR 302) – which Aircraft Guaranty Corporation covered in more depth in Highlights of the 5 Year FAA Reauthorization Act.

    The new registration system, Civil Aviation Registry Electronic Services (CARES), “is expected to streamline processes, allow for the submission of electronic applications and forms, improve controls, automate registration processes, and improve online data availability” according to the FAA. Its key aims are:

    • Web-based access to all public data. For the first time in history, the general public will be able to view FAA records online in real time. Currently, what isn’t already electronically maintained is held in the Public Documents Room (PDR) available for those who have access. Any electronic records are only in real time via the computers at the PDR – outside access is limited to information that is updated once daily.

    The modernization mandate includes digitizing all aircraft registration documents for real-time, public and web-based access, which means phasing out the PDR at the FAA. Furthermore, using the PDR will incur a fee if the business could have been conducted by electronic means as efficiently. 

    • Automation of application services (processes and procedures). For the first time in history, the general public will also be able to file any document electronically. Most aircraft registration functions still require paper documents that are manually scanned and reviewed by Registry examiners. Digitizing and automating the registration process means the role of FAA examiners will change, becoming more high-level. 

    In Order to Proceed

    Detailed estimates of technical and operational requirements for the new system are vital right now – anticipating the rulemaking, cost and schedule that will be necessary to successfully complete the expansive project. Some key questions need to be answered:

    What are the new components/upgrades needed in the new system? The FAA is considering: automated approvals for low-risk applications; automated verification of fraudulent or incorrect submissions; additional security controls such as crosschecking information with non-agency entities; the registry structure, including combining aircraft and airmen systems; and matters of data storage with a cloud- or server-based system.

    How will the FAA fund the new system?It hasn’t been decided yet – funding modernization projects usually comes from its facilities and equipment (F&E) account, but they may be able to use money from its operations and maintenance (O&M) account. This must be decided before it becomes a part of the agency’s budget.

    What rulemaking via Congress is necessary in order to proceed?The FAA will have to develop a rulemaking that revises current regulation and allows for the electronic registration of aircraft –to improve controls, strengthen requirements, and implement digital signatures and electronic payments – a complete outline of the new system is needed beforehand to know exactly what rules to change 

    Now What? – The Challenges

    The OIG report contained four main recommendations to the FAA. The FAA accepted and outlined a schedule for implementing them: 

    1. Develop and implement timeline for making key decisions regarding CARES by May 31, 2019. 
    2. Define desired capabilities of CARES by Dec 31, 2019
    3. Develop and implement a procedure to obtain industry feedback by Oct 31, 2019. 
    4. Develop and implement a plan for maintaining real-time access to data by June 30, 2019.

    There are challenges to face though, including: the transfer of a huge amount of data (with a lot of outdated/large files) to a new system; meeting the needs of registry users – aircraft title companies, financial institutions, aircraft manufacturers, airmen, other government agencies etc. – to ensure the operation of aircraft worldwide; and addressing workforce issues arising from role changes.

    The Transition & After

    The OIG has concerns, but if the FAA stays on track with this schedule, they can meet the October 2021 deadline, barring delays with Congressional rulemaking. 

    Updating and modernizing the new system will be a great improvement but will not fully alleviate all the pitfalls in submitting documents, electronically or not. With the extensive rules in place for filing documents, there is a good chance it won’t be done correctly without industry knowledge of FAA rules and regulations.  

    Furthermore, it is paramount to know What to Look for in Owner Trustee Documents to uphold high standards for creating and maintaining the title to the aircraft. It will still be important to hire a company that knows the ins and outs of the FAA system to avoid costly errors that could take time and money to correct.

    Ultimately, the changes ahead will modernize the FAA’s registry system, helping to bring the aviation industry up to date in technology and security measures. There is significant work to do, but we’re confident that every entity involved in this important endeavor will fulfill expectations. 

    This article was originally published by Aircraft Guaranty Corporation

  • 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
    How Brexit Could Affect European Aviation Operations for US Registered Aircraft see more

    NAFA member, Aircraft Guaranty Owner Trustee, discusses the affect of Brexit on European Aviation Operations.

    Brexit is undoubtedly a considerable topic with worldwide implications – people from all corners have been surmising at length – what will take place and when? Meanwhile, negotiations continue with no clear end in sight. The United Kingdom was due to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, but that has now been extended to October of 2019.   

    We can’t say exactly what will happen, but we have a pretty good idea of what the new UK regulations will look like if and when that change transpires. The general information outlined here will likely survive whatever agreements the UK makes with the EU. 

    Fair warning, according to Howard Dyer, Director and Lead Consultant at Howard G Dyer Ltd, “Brexit before breakfast is bound to cause heartburn throughout the rest of the day.” The coming changes in regulations outlined below may have the same effect on our readers.   

    The UK within EU Regulations 

    Since 2008 and the establishment of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the EU has been moving toward an aviation safety regime based upon the United States’ model, with the EASA following many of the principles of our own FAA. This includes universal recognition of certificates issued by the EASA and freedom to fly between States.  

    Some of these freedoms extend to associated States like Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and some of the new Balkan countries. This establishes a virtual aviation neighborhood over most of the landmass of Europe, known as the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA). Britain has been a key and influential mover in all this but is now aiming to leave. 

    Currently, aircraft registered in the UK intending charter flight operations to, from, within or via this “European Aviation Neighborhood” need no special permits to operate to and from the UK and the rest of Europe, or within the UK proper. When (if?) the UK leaves the EU, UK-registered air carriers will no longer be considered a part of the neighborhood.  

    One look at the map and a glance at the economic figures for European aviation, and it is clear that the UK is a still a major piece of real estate. Nevertheless, UK air carriers will have to be considered Third Country Operators (TCOs) and will need to hold an EASA-issued Foreign Carrier Permit (FCP) and a Part-TCO Certificate prior to undertaking any commercial flight from the UK to anywhere in the European Aviation Neighborhood (just as the FAA requires to certify foreign carriers in the US). 

    Currently, N-registered aircraft intending flight operations to, from, within or via the UK are already considered TCOs and must hold the EASA-issued FCP and the Part-TCO prior to any commercial flight being taken. This includes charter operations. This will not change, and if an owner/operator has these permits now, they will still be valid after the UK leaves the EU and will not need to be updated.

    Post-Brexit, aircraft registered elsewhere in the European Aviation Neighborhood and operating to, from, or within the UK, will now be considered foreign operators for the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). This also applies to N-registered aircraft. The CAA will therefore begin issuing their own TCO certificates called a UK Part-TCO.   

    The UK Aviation Regulations and the Block Permit 

    After Brexit, the UK will implement new aviation regulations largely mirroring the EU laws – essentially allowing aviation to continue as it did before. The procedures are in place, with few changes, to maintain free passage between States of Europe and the United Kingdom.   

    These new UK laws are comparable to FAA Part 129, which “prescribes rules governing the operation within the United States of foreign air carriers appropriately authorized by the Civil Aeronautics Board or the Department of Transportation (DOT)”.  

    The new rules include the UK Part-TCO mentioned above, but once purchased, operators will then be able to further obtain one of two permits which pertain to where they can operate and how often: 

    1. Foreign Carrier Permit – Operators will still have the option to obtain a Foreign Carrier Permit for either scheduled or unscheduled commercial operations, which will specify where they can go and how often. 
    1. Alternatively, Operators can obtain a Block Permit – which will be a new product offered by the UK. The block permit will not be flight specific and can allow TCO aircraft to go between the UK and European Aviation Neighborhood for an initial period of 3 months, with a potential extension of up to 9 months.  The extension will depend largely on the reciprocal traffic rights granted by the other parties to the agreement.   

    Furthermore, the CAA currently issues ad-hoc charter permits to EU carriers covering either one or a short series of flights on a route-by-route basis for services between the UK and countries outside the European Aviation Neighborhood. This process will remain unchanged and can apply to aircraft registered in the United States.   

    The CAA will have the responsibility to not only issue all TCOs for commercial services, but accordingly, monitor travel rights to and from countries in the European Aviation Neighborhood. The CAA wishes to ensure a minimum regulatory burden is placed on air carriers and is therefore developing a streamlined process for EU carriers.  

    Most commentators recognize all this as a gesture to meet minimum requirements, but with the option to go hard on neighbors who don’t throw soft balls back over the fence. 

    Exceptions to the Block Permit  

    This permit does not apply to aircraft operating purely private flights, meaning zero payment for services (even gas for the flight), to, from, or within the UK – all of which will not need a Block Permit.  

    The requirement also makes exception for: “overflights; state flights from a foreign government or military-registered aircraft; positioning flights, ferry flights or delivery flights; flights for the purpose of undertaking repairs, alterations, maintenance, or salvage; and test flights”. For instance, a carrier flying from Spain to Ireland, crossing over England, wouldn’t need a Block Permit. 

    During any transition period, EU law will still be applicable to the UK, and the UK would still be subject to EU-negotiated Air Transport Agreements.  In that instance, UK or European Aviation Neighborhood members would not need a Permit or any TCOs for operations to, from, or within the UK.   

    What it Means for US Aircraft Owner Trustors 

    These changes mostly apply to charters operators of aircraft of less than 19 seats – most private flights are exempt from the rules outlined above. The bottom line is that post-Brexit, members of the European Aviation Neighborhood will be considered “foreigners” to the UK, and vice versa. Likewise, US registered aircraft will be foreigner to both, which will mean that N-registered aircraft operating in both Europe and the UK will need all permits – the EASA-issued Foreign Carrier Permit, the EASA-issued Part-TCO and the CAA-issued UK Part-TCO.  Again, if you already have the EASA-issued permits, new ones will not be necessary, but the additional UK permit will be mandatory to operate in the UK. 

    It’s important to know the exact requirements during this transition. Without the right documents in place, certain US-registered aircraft operating in the UK could have permits removed, fines invoked, or potentially even be grounded. In the end, if you’ve made it this far reading, you likely have the “Brexit before breakfast heartburn” – it’s as complex as promised – but eventually we’ll figure it out.  

    Many thanks to Howard Dyer, who helped unravel the “Euro-speak” used to explain this new process to the EBAA earlier this year. 

     Howard is an English safety consultant who worked for many years in the UK CAA and was responsible for getting all UK aircraft compliant with the new EASA regulations when they came into force in September 2008.  

    He tells us that it took him years to understand EASA rules written in Euro English. He now tells us that the CAA’s own rules for coming out of the EASA are even harder to untangle. 

    This article was originally published by Aircraft Guaranty Owner Trustee on May 22, 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
    FAA Prohibits Use of Registered Agent’s Address for US Registered Owner of Aircraft see more

    NAFA member, Scott McCreary, Vice President at McAfee & Taft, discusses use of Registered Agent's address and the FAA.

    Aircraft registered with the FAA Aircraft Registry must be registered in the name of the actual owner of the aircraft (which is not always the operator), and the owner/applicant for registration must provide its physical address/location on the AC Form 8050-1, Aircraft Registration Application ("Application"). In a recent interpretation, the Federal Aviation Administration Aeronautical Center Central Region Counsel ("ACCRC") has confirmed that the address of the "registered agent" of the owner/applicant is not the address of the actual owner/applicant for purposes of registering the aircraft with the FAA Aircraft Registry. The ACCRC has determined that a registered agent’s address is not the mailing address of the owner/applicant, and the registered agent’s address is not the physical address of the owner/applicant for registration.

    The ACCRC further concluded that if the owner/applicant's correct physical address is not provided the Application is not completed in accordance with 14 C.F.R. §47.31(b)(1). In addition, 14 C.F.R. §47.45 requires the registered owner’s physical address be provided to the FAA following any change of address where a new mailing address is not also the physical address of the registered owner.

    Parties should take care to provide the correct physical address or location of the owner/applicant when registering aircraft with the FAA Aircraft Registry. Failure to provide the correct physical address or location may cause the Application to be rejected or the aircraft registration to otherwise not comply with Federal Aviation Regulations.

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

    Scott McCreary

    McAfee & Taft

    (405) 552-2367

    scott.mccreary@mcafeetaft.com

    This article was originally published by Scott McCreary with McAfee & Taft on April 10, 2019.