Many aircraft owners choose to establish a legal entity such as a trust, corporation, or limited liability company to own their aircraft. While this is ordinarily a perfectly legal arrangement, the FAA has recently issued an opinion letter on the manner in which a trust should register its aircraft. Specifically, the FAA has opined that the trust may not utilize its registered agent’s address for aircraft registration purposes made pursuant to FAR 47.31 or 47.45 unless the Owner Trustee is also the registered agent. In arriving at this conclusion, the FAA reasoned that a registered agent’s address is neither the mailing address of the owner nor the physical address of the owner. Therefore, a registration application utilizing a registered agent’s address “is not completed” under FAR 47.31(b)(1). While the letter specifically applies to aircraft owned by a trust, the same reasoning may apply to other legal entities. If the FAA discovers a registered agent’s address has been inappropriately utilized on a registration application, it may deny the application.
Accordingly, in order to avoid time-consuming delays in registering your aircraft, you must make certain the actual owner’s address is included in the registration application. Further, if the owner’s physical address differs from its mailing address, be certain to include the physical address as well. Generally, we recommend utilizing the legal entity’s regular mailing address and principal office address in completing the aircraft registration application. If you have any questions about aircraft registration, call the AOPA Legal Services Plan at 1-800-872-2672.