Originally Posted by jcarne
Airworthiness certificates expire? I can't find anything indicating it on mine. Did this change at some point? Just trying to gobble up the info!
§ 21.181 Duration.
(a) Unless sooner surrendered, suspended, revoked, or a termination date is otherwise established by the FAA, airworthiness certificates are effective as follows:
(1) Standard airworthiness certificates, special airworthiness certificates - primary category, and airworthiness certificates issued for restricted or limited category aircraft are effective as long as the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations are performed in accordance with Parts 43 and 91 of this chapter and the aircraft are registered in the United States.
(2) A special flight permit is effective for the period of time specified in the permit.
(3) A special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category is effective as long as -
(i) The aircraft meets the definition of a light-sport aircraft;
(ii) The aircraft conforms to its original configuration, except for those alterations performed in accordance with an applicable consensus standard and authorized by the aircraft's manufacturer or a person acceptable to the FAA;
(iii) The aircraft has no unsafe condition and is not likely to develop an unsafe condition; and
(iv) The aircraft is registered in the United States.
(4) An experimental certificate for research and development, showing compliance with regulations, crew training, or market surveys is effective for 1 year after the date of issue or renewal unless the FAA prescribes a shorter period. The duration of an experimental certificate issued for operating amateur-built aircraft, exhibition, air-racing, operating primary kit-built aircraft, or operating light-sport aircraft is unlimited, unless the FAA establishes a specific period for good cause.
(b) The owner, operator, or bailee of the aircraft must, upon request, make it available for inspection by the FAA.
(c) Upon suspension, revocation, or termination by order of the FAA of an airworthiness certificate, the owner, operator, or bailee of an aircraft must, upon request, surrender the certificate to the FAA.
Our airworthiness certs fall under "experimental - amateur built" and not R&D/training/market survey, so the regs don't specify an expiration date. That may not have been the case for the aircraft with valid annuals but an expired cert. Section 1a says it has to be maintained in accordance with standard techniques and practices and all ADs complied with in order for the cert to remain valid for standard certs. It doesn't explicitly say the same thing for experimental, but I think thats a gray area. You're technically allowed to ignore ADs and SBs for parts in your aircraft, and while the FAA won't revoke your cert for that, I wouldn't personally think an aircraft is airworthy with outstanding safety issues that need to be addressed. You may also be opening yourself up to liability if you sell your plane knowing it had safety issues that you didn't disclose or fix, but thats a question for the lawyers.