FAA: Digitally-Signed Aircraft Registration Documents

The FAA today announced a new policy on accepting digitally-signed aircraft registration documents. The notice, appearing in the 4/20/2016 Federal Register (http://1.usa.gov/1WdQXsx) states, effective May 1, 2016 the FAA Civil Aircraft Registry “will accept printed duplicates of electronic documents that display legible, digital signatures that are filed in compliance with Parts 47 and 49 of the FAA Regulations.”

The policy encompasses all common aircraft registration documents and security instruments. It includes the aircraft registration form itself, which has until now been a multi-part carbonless form. The form will be available as a PFD, although the policy statement notably does not say the PDF version will be accepted with pen-and-ink signatures. Hopefully the PDF version instructions will clarify that.

While “will accept printed” indicates the absence of a full-blown online document filing system, it is a beginning and the description of acceptable “digital signatures” appears broad enough to encompass most commercially-recognized digital signature vendors such as DocuSign, Adobe EchoSign, Vasco eSign Live and others.