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Aviation News

Pilot and Mechanic Registration No Longer Required in Washington State

In July 2005 the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5414, which eliminated state pilot and mechanic registration fees. The details of the bill are as follows:

Senate Bill 5414

  • Eliminates pilot and mechanic registration fees.
  • Replaces lost revenues with a $.01 increase in the aviation fuel fee.
  • Budgets the $.01 increase in aviation fuel for airport pavement projects.
  • Eliminates the dedicated “Search and Rescue Account” and funds the program out of the “Aeronautics Account”.
  • Dedicates $433,000 for airport paving.

The elimination of pilot and mechanic registration, and increase in aviation fuel fees went into effect on July 1, 2005. Legislators originally proposed this bill to find a more efficient way to fund aviation programs while placing a higher emphasis on the repair and maintenance of aging airport pavements.

What Does This Mean for You?

Q: Am I required to pay pilot or mechanic registration fees?

A: No. Pilots and mechanics in Washington State are no longer required to register with WSDOT Aviation.

Q: Am I still required to register my aircraft with WSDOT?

A: Yes. Aircraft registration is still required annually in Washington State. Read more information about aircraft registration.

Q: How does the elimination of state pilot and mechanic registration affect my federal license?

A: The elimination of Washington State pilot and mechanic registration does not in any way affect your federal license. Read more information about your federal license.

Q: Pilot and mechanic registration fees fund air search and rescue. How will search and rescue be funded once registration is eliminated?

A: Air search and rescue (SAR) is a priority for WSDOT Aviation and will continue to be funded through aircraft registration fees and aviation fuel fees deposited into the “Aeronautics Account”. The new law will eliminate the dedicated SAR account and allow WSDOT to use revenues for the most immediate needs.

Q: I am a general aviation pilot. How will the 1-cent increase in aviation fuel fees affect me?

A: The average general aviation (GA) pilot operating a single engine aircraft flies less than 100 hours per year. Assuming an average fuel consumption of 15 gallons per hour, the average pilot will pay about $15 per year due to the 1-cent increase. This amount will be offset by the elimination of the pilot registration fee. Jet fuel consumed primarily by corporate aircraft generates 75 percent of the fuel tax revenue for WSDOT aviation. It is the largest source of funding for airport grants.

Q: How will the aviation fuel fee increase affect commercial airlines?

A: Commercial carriers are exempt from paying the aviation fuel fee.

Q: Who endorsed the bill?

A: Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and Washington Airport Management Association supported this bill.

Q: The 1-cent fuel increase will be used for airport maintenance. What kind of specific projects qualify as airport maintenance?

A: Through its Airport Aid Grant program, WSDOT gives grants to Washington airports for important improvement and maintenance projects. Most of our grants are devoted to maintaining airport runways. Our other grants are used for safety, maintenance and planning projects such as lighting, fencing, runway markings, airport layout plans, etc. Read more information about WSDOT’s Airport Aid Grant Program.

Q: How much does it cost to repave an airport runway?

A: Depending on repair type and length, it can cost anywhere between $250,000 – more than $1 million to repave an airport runway.