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How Did The FAA Lose All Of Those Aircraft?

by John M. White |

With all of the hysteria on the 24/7 news channels like Fox News and MSNBC, one would be in fear that the terrorists have a fleet of aircraft ready to attack us at any moment. The commentators breathlessly wonder where all of these aircraft are, who has them and what are they doing with them. Non-pilots watching this nonsense must be looking skyward for the next terrorist attack coming at any moment. I am always amazed at the media hysteria when it comes to things they know nothing about. First of all, the FAA hasn't lost any airplanes! The real issue is that, over the years, the FAA has not had a good system for recording changes in aircraft registrations. Some of these aircraft have simply been removed from service, destroyed in an accident or are sitting in someone's barn or hangar being restored, repaired or simply unused. In point of fact I wrote 2 posts about this issue as follows: When the FAA first revealed the problem they said more than 45,000 aircraft were registered to people with bad addresses. Aircraft owners are supposed to advise the FAA within 30 days when they change their address, but many simply are unaware of the rule or forget. Many aircraft owners also reserve a specific "N" number, or a block of "N" numbers, pending the eventual purchase and registration of an aircraft. In these cases the owners simply forget to keep the FAA updated. Other cases are when an aircraft is destroyed, sold or simply removed from service and the FAA is never informed. The FAA has been getting the word out to aircraft owners to re-register their aircraft with their current address, and to inform the FAA if the aircraft has been destroyed or otherwise removed from service. The bottom line: 24/7 news commentators need to take a deep breath, calm down and quit alarming the public about a non-issue! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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