Contrast this to the simplicity of transferring aircraft ownership.
For those of you who've never done it, it's
easier than buying either a boat or a car in many states- requiring
usually only a single signature - and
that one needs not even to be notarized! Here's how it goes, and what
to watch for:
First, the seller should provide a lien release (if necessary)
and a Bill of Sale. (If there's a problem, you can download one
in Adobe PDF format here).
The first item to fill in is the price of the aircraft, where it
says "For and in consideration of $___..."
To preserve he confidentiality of the transaction, the FAA will
accept the phrase "$1 & OVC"
(Other Valuable Considerations) in this spot, and most Bills of
Sale are filled out in this fashion. Most of the rest is self-explanatory,
but a few other items should be noted:
First, make sure that the seller fills
out and signs both copies, as the carbon between the two
does not extend down to the signature line. Also make doubly sure
that he signs in exactly the same manner as is shown
on your title search. Omitting a middle initial, for example, is
not acceptable to the FAA, and can lead to title problems when you
go to resell.
In the section for the buyers name/address (you!), take care to
see that you use the same name and title
that you will be using for the registration. Under "title",
a private individual will use "owner", while corporate
purchasers will use "President" or other appropriate corporate
title. Use caution here if you have a partner:
the titles "partner" and "co-owner" mean very
different things, and an uninformed buyer may unintentionally give
his partner the right to sell the craft without his knowledge!
Once the seller has provided you with a Bill of Sale and applicable
lien release(s), and you have provided him with (lots of) money,
the sale is complete. Your responsibility is to file the Bill of
Sale according to the instructions on the form (it only costs $5),
along with the lien release. If you are financing the aircraft,
this paperwork will be handled by your bank.
CAUTION- If you or the sellers
bank fail to file the lien release, the FAA will still accept you
as the new registered owner, but retain the lien against your aircraft!
Be sure to do this, or you could be in for a rude surprise years
from now, when you go to resell. (Bankers, conservative by nature
and profession, often perform a second title search 1-2 months after
the purchase to confirm clear title before the trail gets cold.)
Even though you now own it, you still can't fly it! It must be
registered in your name. Obtain form AC 8050-1, "Aircraft Registration
Application", from the FAA, and complete it according to the
attached instructions. Retain the pink copy and place it in the
airplane: it will serve as a temporary registration until you receive
the permanent one in the mail. (This usually takes twice as long
as stated, so don't get nervous.) The FAA has made available full
You should also have pre-arranged insurance
for your new toy. This should be activated by phone or fax the
moment that the Bill of Sale is signed.
True Story: We once saw a buyer purchase a Cessna 340 that was
parked on the ramp at a major metropolitan airport. While the buyer
and seller were inside the terminal having lunch and completing
the transaction, a thunderstorm moved in rapidly. When the new owner
returned, he discovered that his 340 had blown directly into a parked
Cessna Caravan, creating an expensive hole in the Caravan's fuselage.
No one was ever able to determine who owned the aircraft at the
time of impact, but everyone was insured. Make that phone call!
You are now the owner of a registered,
insured, personal aircraft.
Please fly it safely!