Is an Aircraft Bill of Sale Necessary?
Yes, it is required by law to execute this agreement. It is a formality that can function as proof of sale and be held on record for future reference. It must be prepared in duplicate, meaning that two copies of the form must be filled out and signed, making sure that the name of the purchaser is going to be the same as the applicant on the registration. Both of the original copies will go to the buyer who will then have to present one during registration and retain the other for their records (the seller may make a photocopy for their records).
How to Sell an Aircraft
Selling an aircraft can seem like an intimidating task, but as long as you comply with the following guidelines, you should experience a smooth transaction. Below, we will explain the general process of the exchange and list the necessary paperwork required for the transfer of ownership to avoid any legal issues.
1. Determining the Value
Before you list your aircraft for sale, it is wise to get a general idea of what its worth. The AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) provides a useful tool called the Vref, an abbreviation for “Valuation Reference”. It is a service that estimates the aircraft’s worth based on the many variables associated with an aircraft. That being said, it is not the be-all and end-all. It is still recommended to have the aircraft appraised by a professional. Many factors go into the pricing of an aircraft such as the demand for a particular model, its history, damage, repairs, etc. If you take all these considerations into account, you should be on your way to determining the true value of your aircraft.
2. Listing/Advertising Your Aircraft
Now that you have a selling price in mind, it’s time to list your aircraft for sale. You may want to start by posting a description of the aircraft, photos, and price to a classified ads website. There are several sites where you can post your aircraft for sale so that you can reach the most potential buyers. These would include sites such as:
3. Negotiating with the Buyer
Once you are contacted by a potential buyer, you must discuss and agree upon the terms and conditions of how the sale will transpire. Some things you will need to determine would be the price in which the aircraft will be sold for, the method of payment (traditionally cash, wire transfer, certified or cashier’s check), if the buyer would like a pre-purchase inspection, etc. After coming to an agreement, it’s time to start the paperwork.
(AOPA is partnered with Aero-Space Reports who provide a program called Aircraft Title and Escrow Services, which helps handle the exchange of funds during the transfer of ownership of an aircraft.)
4. Executing the Bill of Sale
The most crucial aspect of selling an aircraft is completing a bill of sale. Make sure both parties are present and follow the instructions below:
Step 1 – General Information – Provide the following requested information into the corresponding spaces:
- In consideration of (enter the numerical sales price in dollars)
- United States Registration Number
- Aircraft Manufacturer and Model
- Aircraft Serial Number
- Date of Sale (day, month, year)
Step 2 – Purchaser Information – Buyer has to supply the following personal details:
- Name (first, last, middle initial)
- Zip Code
Step 3 – Dealer – If the transaction involves a dealer, you must provide the following:
- Dealer Certificate Number
- Executors, Administrators
If a dealer is not involved, simply leave blank.
Step 4 – Seller(s) Signatures – To finalize the contract, any sellers who have an interest in the aircraft must provide their:
- Typed or Printed Name
- & Title
2 copies of this form must be completed and contain original signatures. If a trade name is used for either the purchaser or seller, the owners and co-owners of the company must provide their individual names as well. Once completed, send a copy with the signatures in ink to:
FAA Aircraft Registration Branch
P.O. Box 25504, Oklahoma City, OK
Registering an Aircraft
To legally fly an aircraft, you must first register it with the FAA. To do so, you must be a citizen or have authorization from the federal government to register. Send the following items to the Aircraft Registration Branch:
- Proof of Ownership (the Aircraft Bill of Sale – Form 8050-2)
- A completed Aircraft Registration Application (Form 8050-1)
- Be prepared to pay $5.00 fee for registration to the FAA.