A recently completed audit by the Transportation Department’s inspector general has found that the FAA’s Civil Aviation Registry does not provide all of the information needed for aviation safety and security measures. According to the DOT IG, the FAA lacks the information it needs on the identity of noncitizen aircraft owners and has incomplete information on pilot certifications.
FAA regulations require owners to update or correct the information in their registry records periodically, but the agency does not check these reregistrations against the original records to ensure accuracy and regulatory compliance.
“We found incomplete registrations for about 5,600 aircraft, or 54 percent, owned under trusts for non-U.S. citizens,” the audit report said. “As a result, the FAA has been unable to provide information on these aircraft to foreign authorities upon request when U.S.-registered aircraft are involved in accidents or incidents in foreign lands, as required by the Convention on International Aviation.”
Similarly, the registry lacks complete information on pilot certifications, which makes it difficult for law enforcement officials to use the registry to conduct security screenings required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, or to detect pilots who provide false information.