FAA Forms and Records


Airworthiness Certificates

In addition to the registration certificate that indicates the ownership of an aircraft, an airworthiness certificate indicates the airworthiness of the aircraft. AC 21-12, Application for U.S. Airworthiness Certificate, FAA Form 8130-6, is a comprehensive guide for the completion of the application form for this certificate. There are two certificates: standard and special.

FAA Forms
Figure 1. FAA Form 8100-2, Standard Airworthiness Certificate

FAA Form 8100-2, Standard Airworthiness Certificate, may be issued to allow operation of a type-certificated aircraft in one or more of the following categories: [Figure 1]
  • Normal
  • Utility
  • Acrobatic
  • Commuter
  • Transport
  • Manned free balloon
  • Special classes

FAA Form 8130-7, Special Airworthiness Certificate, may be issued to authorize the operation of an aircraft in the following categories: [Figure 2]
  • Primary
  • Restricted
  • Multiple
  • Limited
  • Light-sport
  • Experimental
  • Special flight permit
  • Provisional

FAA Forms
Figure 2. FAA Form 8130-7, Special Airworthiness Certificate

Airworthiness certificates may be issued by either FAA personnel or FAA designees. Refer to 14 CFR part 183, sections 183.31 and 183.33. The certificate must not only be on board the aircraft (14 CFR part 91, section 91.203(a) (1)), but must also be “displayed at the cabin or flight deck entrance so that it is legible to the passengers or crew” 14 CFR part 91, (section 91.203(b)). Since the ability to obtain this certificate is based upon the requirement to inspect the aircraft to determine that it conforms to type design and is in condition for safe operation, it can also be revoked by the FAA if either of those two requirements ceases to exist.

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft must be registered in the United States if the aircraft is not registered under the laws of a foreign country and is owned by either a citizen of the United States, a foreign citizen lawfully admitted to the United States, or a corporation organized in and doing business under U.S. laws and primarily based in the United States. This registration is accomplished by using FAA Form 8050-1, Aircraft Registration Application. The aircraft registration form is available online at www.faa.gov. The aircraft owner can mail in completed copy, and keep a copy of the form as temporary authority to operate the aircraft after the fee and evidence of ownership have been mailed or delivered to the Registry. When carried in the aircraft with an appropriate current airworthiness certificate or a special flight permit, a copy of this completed application provides authority to operate the aircraft in the United States for up to 90 days.

In addition to the completed application form, the owner must also submit evidence of his or her ownership (such as a bill of sale) and a registration fee. A successful review of the application results in the issuance of AC Form 8050-3, Certificate of Aircraft Registration. (Note the AC prefix.)

14 CFR section 91.203(a)(2) requires that either the pink copy of the application or the actual certificate of registration be on board the aircraft during its operation.

If the registration is ever lost or damaged, it may be replaced by contacting the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch and providing them with the aircraft specific data, including make, model, N-number, and serial number. A replacement certificate fee and an explanation of the reason for the replacement certificate are also required.

Radio Station License

A radio station license is required if the aircraft is equipped with radios, and the aircraft is planned to be flown outside the boundaries of the United States. A radio station license is not required for aircraft that are operated domestically. (A major change occurred on February 8, 1996, when the telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed into law.)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formerly required that any communication transmitter installed in aircraft be licensed. These FCC licenses were valid for 5 years. This is not an FAA requirement. FAA inspectors who conducted ramp inspections and detected an expired radio station license were not required to notify the FCC, nor could they issue a violation to the owner/operator. Simply informing the operator of the expired radio station license was their only responsibility.

FSGA 96-06, a Flight Standards Information Bulletin (FSIB) for General Aviation (FSGA) titled “Elimination of Aircraft Radio Station Licenses” became effective on July 8, 1996. Although that FSIB had an effectivity of only 1 year, the elimination of the requirement for aircraft used only in domestic operations continues.

FAA Form 337—Major Repair and Alteration

Refer to the current issue of AC 43.9-1, Instructions for Completion of FAA Form 337 for help completing FAA Form 337, Major Repair and Alteration (Airframe, Powerplant, Propeller, or Appliance). [Figure 3]

FAA Forms
Figure 3. FAA Form 337, Major Repair and Alteration

As the name clearly states, this form is to be used whenever major repairs or alterations are accomplished on an aircraft. The only exception would be that 14 CFR part 43, Appendix B, allows for a certificated repair station to RTS an aircraft after a major repair by using a signed and dated work order and a signed maintenance release.
  • Information in item 1 comes directly from the aircraft dataplate, except for the tail number. That is to be compared to the aircraft registration form.
  • Information in item 2 reflects the name and address listed on AC Form 8050-3, Certificate of Registration.
  • Item 3 is used when there is no existing approved data for the intended repair or alteration. In that case, the technician can request that the local FSDO Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) review the data and then grant a field approval, shown by completing and signing this area. In many cases, this block is blank because the technician has found, used, and made reference to data already approved by the FAA.
  • Item 4—If the repair or alteration is being done to the aircraft airframe, no entry is required since the data is identical to that in item 1. However, if the repair or alteration is being done to an engine, a propeller, or other appliance, entries must include the appropriate make, model, and serial number information.
  • Item 5 should have “X” marked in either the “Repair” or the “Alteration” column.
  • Item 6—Enter appropriate data as specified and check the proper box in B. The technician is encouraged to carefully read the preprinted statement in subparagraph D prior to signing this section.
  • Item 7 must be completed by the IA or authorized individual from the repair station.
  • Item 8 (on the reverse side) is for the description of the work accomplished. It must include a reference to the approved data used to conduct the required maintenance.

The form must be completed at least in duplicate, with the original provided to the owner/operator and a copy to the local FSDO within 48 hours of completing the maintenance and RTS. If the FAA Form 337 is used to document additional fuel tanks in the cabin or cargo, then an additional copy must be signed and in the aircraft at all times. Maintenance facilities and mechanics are encouraged to make a copy for their own records.


Making Maintenance Record Entries

Title 14 of the CFR part 43, sections 43.9 and 43.11 require the technician to make appropriate entries of maintenance actions or inspection results in the aircraft maintenance record. How long those records must be kept is defined in 14 CFR part 91, section 91.417.

Whenever maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration work occurs on an aircraft, airframe, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance, or component part, a maintenance record entry must be created. The importance of compliance with this requirement cannot be overemphasized. Complete and organized maintenance logs for an aircraft can have significant (and usually positive) effect during the buy/ sell negotiations of an aircraft. On the other hand, poorly organized and incomplete logs can have a detrimental effect upon the selling price of an aircraft.

Temporary Records—14 CFR Part 91 Section 91.417(a)(1) and (b)(1)

These are records that must be kept by the owner until the work is repeated, superseded, or 1 year has transpired since the work was performed. These are typically records referring to maintenance, preventive maintenance, alteration, and all inspections. They include a description of the work performed (or reference to the FAA-accepted data); the date of completion; and the name, signature and certificate number of the person doing the RTS.

Permanent Records—14 CFR Part 91, Section 91.417(a)(2) and (b)(2)

These records must be retained by the owner during the time he or she operates the aircraft. They are transferred with the aircraft at the time of sale. Typically, these are documents relating to total time in service, current status of life-limited parts, time since last overhaul, current inspection status, current status of applicable AD notes, and major alteration forms as required by 14 CFR part 43, section 43.9.

Electronic Records

During the last 25 years, the field of aviation maintenance has seen a significant change in the documentation requirements for aircraft and related parts. Nowhere is that change seen as revolutionary as the introduction of electronic data and record retention. Just as the arrival of the personal computer placed the possibility of the power and versatility of a computer in the hands of the average person, it made it available to the maintenance technician. Initially some technicians developed their own programs for listing data (TCDS, AD notes, and so forth), but soon commercially available programs were developed. Basically, these were developed by either one of the following two groups:
  1. Computer literate persons who felt the aviation industry could benefit from the computer
  2. Aviation professionals who felt the aviation industry must benefit from the computer

Some of those initial programs were either not very user friendly (if developed by computer wizards) or not “very sophisticated” (if developed by the maintenance technician). Today, there is a mixture of these various database programs. A review of the advertisement section in any current aviation maintenance magazine offers the reader numerous options for electronic maintenance records. Many of these programs offer a combination of the data research, such as ADs, SBs, STCs, and TCDSs, required to conduct proper maintenance, inspections, and data recording (logbook entries, AD compliance history, length of component time in service, and so forth) desired to improve the efficiency of the technician.

Although some large shops and certified repair stations may have a separate group of people responsible for “records and research,” the professional maintenance technician must be aware of the benefits of these systems. Some factors to consider when reviewing a system are:
  • What is the typical size of the aircraft that maintenance is being done on? (i.e., less than 12,500 pounds, more than 12,000? Mixed?)
  • Does the program have built-in templates for the aircraft being worked on?
  • What FAA forms (if any) are available in the program?
  • Does it have a user-friendly template to enter the data for the form or must data be directly entered onto the form?
  • Can it calculate weight and balance data?
  • Does it have adequate word search capabilities?
  • Is it networkable?
  • Are the updates sent via U.S. mail or downloaded from the Internet?
  • What is the maximum number of aircraft that the system can handle?
  • Can the system handle both single- and multi-engine aircraft? Fixed and rotary wing? Piston and jet?
  • Can an item removed from an aircraft be tracked?
  • Is the data from this system exportable to other electronic formats?
  • Can it forecast items due for maintenance or inspection?

Since no program can be considered the best, the technician must learn all he or she can about the numerous systems that exist. Exposure to the pros and cons of these different systems can be one of the benefits of attending various trade shows, maintenance seminars, or IA renewal sessions. Continuous learning and personal improvement is the goal of every professional maintenance technician.

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