All aircraft which are owned by residents of the Commonwealth, or owned by nonresidents, if they are based in Virginia more than 60 days in a 12-month period, are required to be licensed. The licensing requirement includes aircraft which are based at both public-use and private-use airports, heliports and landing areas.
In essence, an aircraft license is identical to an automobile license. It is the aircraft owner's evidence of ownership and that the owner meets the minimum liability insurance requirements of Title 5.1-88.2 of the Code of Virginia. In addition, before any aircraft can be licensed by the Department of Aviation, the owner must have satisfied the 2% Aircraft Sales and Use Tax imposed by the Virginia Department of Taxation. Revenue from License fees and Aircraft Sales and Use Tax is deposited in the Aviation Special Fund and can only be used to benefit the aviation system in the Commonwealth. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to operate an aircraft which is not licensed in Virginia.
Private, Noncommercial Aircraft License
The annual aircraft license fee for a private, noncommercial aircraft is $5.00 and the fee for a private aircraft which is used for commercial purposes is $10.00. Fees for other classifications are described below. A renewal License Application will be sent to all properly licensed aircraft owners before the current License expires. The license decal must be displayed centered below the right-hand stabilizer on the fuselage or immediately aft of the cabin entry door. License decals for antique aircraft (aircraft built on or before December 31, 1945) and balloons may be carried with the aircraft's papers in the aircraft.
Beginning in January 1997, aircraft licenses will be issued in two parts - the traditional decal, to place on the aircraft as described above, and a second part that may be carried with the aircraft's papers or by the aircraft owner. The second part will be similar to a motor vehicle registration document and can be used by the aircraft owner to demonstrate compliance with the aircraft licensing statute.
An aircraft license cannot be transferred to the new owner if an aircraft is sold. The seller is required to notify the Department in writing when the transfer occurs, as well as furnish the Department with the name and address of the new owner.
In addition to the Private Aircraft License, the Department also issues Commercial Aircraft Licenses, Non-Commercial Dealer and Commercial Fleet Dealer Licenses and Contract Carrier Permits.
Contract Carrier Permits:
Aircraft owners who use their aircraft to provide flight instruction for a fee, or who operate under 14 CFR Part 135 to provide on-demand passenger, freight, or combination service, are required to first obtain a Contract Carrier Permit from the Department. The Contract Carrier Permit is required in addition to either the Commercial Single License or the Commercial Fleet License. There is a one-time fee of $50.00 for a Contract Carrier Permit.
Commercial Aircraft License - Single or Fleet:
A Commercial Aircraft License, Single or Fleet, is required for any aircraft which is used to carry passengers or freight "for hire," whether for compensation or not. In addition, a person who uses his or her aircraft to provide "for hire" or "on-demand" air service is required to have a Contract Carrier Permit issued by the Department. An aircraft operated under 14 CFR Part 91, which is used to carry passengers or freight from which revenue is earned, directly or indirectly, is required to have a Commercial License, or be licensed under a Commercial Dealers Fleet License.
All aircraft, including those owned by nonresidents of Virginia which are used to apply agricultural chemicals and pesticides are required to have a Commercial License and should also contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for specific information related to agricultural spraying at 804-786-3798. Note: Nonresident owned aircraft used to apply agricultural chemicals or pesticides are required to have a Commercial License issued by the Department whether they are based in Virginia for 60 days in a 12-month period or not.
Non-Commercial and Commercial Aircraft Dealers:
Aircraft owners and aircraft dealers who market or sell either their own aircraft or aircraft owned by a manufacturer to the public may be licensed as Commercial Dealers or Noncommercial Dealers in lieu of having a Commercial License to cover each aircraft.
The minimum number of aircraft that must be purchased for resale or sold during a calendar year is five aircraft. Each dealer is required to submit a report to the Department at the end of every calendar quarter which details all aircraft bought and sold during that 3-month period.
A Noncommercial Dealer is a person who does not use the aircraft covered by the license for anything other than sales demonstration purposes. The annual fee for a Noncommercial Dealer Fleet License is $50.00.
A Commercial Dealer is a person who uses the aircraft covered by the license for such purposes as flight instruction or carrying passengers "on demand," and in addition, offers the aircraft for sale to the public. The annual fee for a Commercial Dealers Fleet License is $75.00.