Many aircraft owners are surprised to learn that their aircraft and associated ownership information is available to the general public, simply for the asking.  They are often even more surprised to learn that this information is mined, published and sold through subscription services.  In addition, every aircraft now operating in ADS-B Airspace must continually broadcast its ICAO data which includes aircraft location, aircraft owner data, and flight plan details. This information is accessible to anyone for free who has access to the ADS-B signal.

The public accessibility of FAA Registry documents along with the new ADS-B requirement make it easy for just about anyone to discover owner details. This can result in unwelcome commercial solicitations, flight tracking by business competitors, and even increased security threats.  The fact of the matter is that aircraft owners simply do not receive the same level of privacy as the owners of other types of vehicles, and this can create a variety of concerns.

The best way to shield the beneficial owner’s identity from the general public through the creation of a privacy trust offered by TVPX Aircraft Solutions. With a TVPX Privacy Trust, publicly accessible documents filed with the FAA Registry do not reference the beneficial owner. Like any aircraft owner, the trustee must provide certain information to the FAA and law enforcement upon appropriate request. However, the TVPX Privacy Trust limits access of personal information contained in documents filed with the FAA registry to those with a legitimate need to know.  It is important to know that this structure was developed with the approval of the FAA and is designed to provide a legitimate layer of privacy, not secrecy for nefarious activities.

The Privacy Trust is established via these three steps:

  • Formation of the Beneficiary Trust:

The aircraft owner (the “Owner”) forms a Wyoming statutory trust with TVPX ARS Inc. as trustee which acts as the Beneficiary Trust.

No Owner information is disclosed to Wyoming to form the Beneficiary Trust.

No Owner information is disclosed to the FAA.

  • Formation of the FAA Registration Trust:

The Beneficiary Trust forms a second trust with TVPX Aircraft Solutions Inc., as Owner Trustee (“Owner Trustee”) which acts as the FAA Registration Trust.

FAA Aeronautical Center Counsel (the “ACC”) reviews the FAA Registration Trust, which is ultimately filed with the FAA; however, only the Owner Trustee and the Beneficiary Trust title are disclosed.

  • Formation of the Operating Lease Structure:

The Owner Trustee as lessor enters into an Operating Lease Agreement whereby the trust transfers operational control of the aircraft to the true owner.

This lease is neither submitted to the ACC for review nor filed with the FAA registry.  Instead, the lease is structured so that it qualifies to be filed with the FAA Technical Section for truth-in-leasing purposes.  This ensures both the owner and operating entities will have privacy, as Code Section 14 CFR 91.23(d) provides that lease agreements filed with the Technical Section are deemed “privileged and confidential and will not be made available by the FAA for public inspection . . . .”.  In other words, the lease is not a public document and cannot be obtained via a FOIA request.

This process goes a long way to shielding owners and operators’ identities, though it can’t provide full identity protection.  There are people who will still take pictures of passengers getting on and off aircraft; someone inadvertently disclose owner information; and some people know how to dig into FAA LOA databases to learn who the operator is.  That said, this privacy trust option provides the best identity protection currently available in the industry.

The information in this article is an introduction to the measures you need to take provide an added measure of security in aircraft ownership and operation and is therefore general in nature.  Please feel free to contact one of our experienced aviation attorneys directly to discuss your specific business/personal needs.