NEW YORK (December 10, 2010)--The Federal Aviation Administration's aircraft registry is missing key information about who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial planes in the U.S. and the FAA fears the information gap 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.
About 119,000 of the planes on the U.S. registry have "questionable registration" because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems.
To fix the problem, all aircraft owners will be ordered to re-register their planes.
Next year, the FAA will begin canceling the registration certificates of all 357,000 aircraft and require owners to register anew.
Some owners received notices last month.