You have to be pretty wealthy to own your own jet. You don't have to be nearly as wealthy to register it, which costs just $5 every three years. But the New York Times reports that hasn't stopped Donald Trump from letting the registration for his private Cessna to lapse. That means Trump has taken dozens of campaign trips in violation of FAA regulations since the registration expired Jan. 31. The snafu could keep the Cessna, which the Times notes has "become a critical part of the billionaire’s image he has sought to project on the campaign trail," on the ground for days or even months.
Flying without a valid registration is punishable by a civil fine of up to $27,500, a criminal fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years in prison. But, the Times reports it's unlikely the FAA will seek the maximum penalty—if they seek one at all—in Trump's case. It's also unlikely the lapsed registration will keep Trump grounded; he has four other aircraft with up-to-date registrations. A Trump campaign spokesperson tells Talking Points Memo "the standard renewal process is just about complete." But records shows multiple warnings, including a final notice, were sent prior to the registration expiring. The Times states the situation could be just one more sign of what has been an occasionally disorganized campaign.