N - Number
by Jim Willess
If you already have an N-number, you must re-register as part of the FAA's 3-year cleansing of their registration database. The FAA's re-registration FAQ page has details.
To register an aircraft anew, you must contact FAA. This starts with an assignment of N or registration numbers. The N is the international identifier for U.S.A. This assignment may be done ahead of time by writing to the FAA at:
FAA Aircraft Registry
Ask them in a letter to assign you an N number for your aircraft. If you wish to pick your own N number, see what's available here. You do not need to give the type or make of your aircraft. They will assign you a number from the open numbers in the registry. If you request a particular number and it is available, a charge of $10.00 is required. You must complete the registration process, airworthiness, ownership (ownership registration) and affix the numbers to the aircraft in a period of one year. If the year expires and you failed to do the above, an additional charge of $10.00 is required to keep the special number.
If you built the kit or had it built and you are the original owner, there is a form to fill out that establishes this fact. The form needs to be notarized. Contact the EAA or the Club 1 Safety Director for a copy of this form. This form is sent in with your request for an N number.
The next step, if you are already flying your airplane, or are ready to fly, is to obtain an airworthiness inspection from the FSDO Maintenance inspector or a DAR (Designated Airworthiness Representative). This is the inspection to determine if the government thinks your aircraft is flyable. Have some one who knows your airplane type go over it with you before the fed shows up. This will reduce the delays in flying again while you work on the discrepancies the fed finds.
If you personally built the airplane, at the time of airworthiness inspection, request from the inspector the forms and approval to be designated a "Factory Mechanic". This will allow you to do ALL maintenance on your aircraft and to perform the annual "Conditional Inspection". And the inspector will want to see the "Construction Log" and pictures of the construction. None of the ultralight aircraft will have these!! There should be some procedure to solve this problem in the NPRM. It will, however, be to your advantage to have airplane/engine log books. These will show serial numbers and maintenance performed on your aircraft.