How long will my registration take to complete?
In 2016, the FAA started accepting digitally signed documents rather than only ink signed ones. This means that our registrations (once we have received all the necessary documentation from you) usually only take around a week to complete. Unlike other Trust companies, we don't charge any extra for submitting your registration via the FAA 'priority' registration service.
What if I want to sell my aircraft - do you charge a fee?
No, we do not charge any fee. In fact, after the first full year in Trust with us, we actually issue you with a pro rata refund for the 'unused' months of your annual Trust Agreement fee! The process for selling your aircraft is quite simple. You just need to return the FAA Certificate of Registration to us with a signed letter, confirming the details of the planned sale and asking us to dissolve the Trust. We'll then dissolve the Trust and issue a Bill of Sale turning ownership back to you, which 'frees up' the aircraft registration so that you can pass it onward to the new owner. We don't charge any fee for doing this, but we ask for two weeks' notice of your requirements.
What if I want to put my aircraft on another Register later - do you charge a fee?
No, we do not charge any fee after the first full year in Trust with us. In fact, we actually issue you with a pro rata refund for the 'unused' months of your annual Trust Agreement fee! Again, this process is simple. You just need to return the FAA Certificate of Registration to us with a signed letter, confirming the details of the planned transfer and asking us to de-register the aircraft. We'll then dissolve the Trust, de-register the aircraft and issue a Bill of Sale turning ownership back to you, which 'frees up' the aircraft so that it can be transferred to the new register. We don't charge any fee for doing this, but we ask for two weeks' notice of your requirements.
Do you offer Title Searches?
A Title Search is always useful, to ensure that there are no issues with your aircraft title such as unreleased liens. We don't offer Title Search services via Southern Aircraft, simply because it is cheaper for you to arrange these directly with an aviation title company yourself. We can recommend Aero-Space Reports, in Oklahoma City (Aero-Space Reports Title Services), who charge around $75 for a title search. Please remember that it's your responsibility to ensure that title to the aircraft is clear, before you take ownership of it.
Do you cover commercial operations?
We do not deal with Trusts for any kind of operation which would require the Trustor to need an Air Operator's Certificate. We only provide Trust services to privately-owned and flown aircraft.
What happens if I lose my Certificate of Registration or FCC Radio Station Authorisation document?
Just let us know - we can order duplicates for you. We don't charge any fee for doing this.
I've heard the registration needs to be renewed regularly. Who does this?
Yes, the registration needs to be renewed every 7 years. We will take care of this for you. We don't charge any fee for doing this.
Do we have to name you on our insurance?
That is up to your insurance company. The best thing to do is to tell them that you will be registering the aircraft in Trust. They can then decide whether they wish Southern Aircraft to appear as an additional named insured on your schedule or not. Some do, some don't.
What if you de-register my aircraft?
We have never - and will never - de-register your aircraft unless you specifically ask us to. Even if you don't pay your annual fee to us on time, the worst that can happen is that we resign as Trustee and notify the FAA that we have done so. This turns ownership of the aircraft back to you - it does not de-register the aircraft (in fact, if we ever have to do this, we specifically ask the FAA NOT to de-register the aircraft).
What if the Trustee dies?
There are strict pre-set succession plans in place, which mean that in the event of the death of the President of Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc, the new President immediately takes over. No Trusts would be affected and no aircraft would need to be grounded. As you may already be aware, this scenario has actually already happened once, when the previous President of the Corporation, Warren Chmura, passed away very suddenly in 2009. The new President of the Corporation took over immediately, so there was no break in service.
I have heard that some Piper aircraft can't be registered in the US, is this true?
This is correct. All Piper aircraft can be placed on the FAA aircraft register, but certain Piper serial numbers are not eligible for a US Airworthiness Certificate. Full details can be found on the FAA records here. If you are planning to import a Piper aircraft onto the FAA register, it would be best to check the serial number against the abovementioned details before proceeding.
When I buy my aircraft, can I fly it away the same day?
Once the aircraft title has been transferred to you via a Bill of Sale from the Seller, you'll need to wait until the registration to yourself as the new Trustor/Beneficial Owner of the aircraft has been completed before you can fly the aircraft. If you have all of the documents lined up with us beforehand, this usually takes just 24 hours to complete - sometimes it can even complete later on the same day.
Please be aware that - in the UK at least - if you are carrying out aerial work (flight instruction, aircraft hire, crop spraying or aerial photography, for example) in an N-registered aircraft you will need specific permission from the UK CAA. If you are outside the UK, you may wish to speak to your Department for Transport or Aviation Authority, who will be able to provide you with detail on any guidelines that apply.
Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARs)
Please be aware that for N-registered aircraft based outside the USA, the rules are slightly different than for those based within the USA. As an example, when applying for a duplicate Airworthiness Certificate, a DAR will need to do this for you rather than an application being made directly to the FAA. The majority of DARs are based in the USA, but there are a number who operate outside the USA. Their details can be found here: FAA International Designees.
Do I have to pay tax on my N-registered aircraft?
We are not tax experts (a company like Forest Aviation www.forestaviation.co.uk can advise you properly on taxation issues) and can't issue tax advice. However, to the best of our knowledge, VAT is payable in the country that the N-registered aircraft is based and operated in. Owning an N-registered aircraft is not a route to avoiding the payment of tax, although many people do make this assumption. Again, to the best of our knowledge, VAT is only payable once, so you don't have to pay it each time an aircraft changes hands. If you are buying an N-registered aircraft that is based outside the USA, make sure that the seller is able to provide you with proof that VAT has been paid on the aircraft, otherwise you could encounter problems later.
Can you give me advice on other aspects of my aircraft ownership?
We are happy to give you advice in respect of your aircraft registration, but we can't give you formal advice on other areas (such as maintenance, certification or pilot licensing). However, please do ask as we will often be able to point you in the direction of someone who can help to answer your questions.