The Federal Aviation Administration loses track of 119,000 planes


Found in Colorado

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is missing key information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the US, a gap the agency says could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.

The records are in such disarray that the FAA says it is worried that criminals could buy planes without the government’s knowledge, or use the registration numbers of other aircraft to evade new computer systems designed to track suspicious flights.

Next year the FAA will begin canceling the registration certificates of all 357,000 aircraft and require owners to register anew, the Associated Press news agency cited them as saying on Friday.

About 119,000 of the aircraft on the US registry have “questionable registration” because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems, according to the FAA.

In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or is no longer functional…

The amount of missing or invalid paperwork has been building for decades, the FAA says. Up to now, owners had to register their planes only once, at the time of purchase.

The FAA sent out notices every three years asking owners to update their contact information if needed, but there was no punishment for not doing so.

RTFA. It’s worth a chuckle over a truly incompetent bureaucracy.

It doesn’t require a great deal of smarts to be a criminal, anyway. But, it surely aids the heavy hitters when the context of day-by-day operations of a federal regulatory agency are about as thorough as Mexican border controls.

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