Reviewing Aircraft Purchase Agreements

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Purchasing an aircraft, either in full or as part of an ownership share, can be an extremely complex transaction. Under the statute of frauds, contracts or agreements for the transfer of an aircraft must be in writing to avoid confusion. With all of the different legal language that goes into writing a contract for the sale or purchase of an aircraft, and all of the legal rules you must comply with, the average aircraft buyer should not write an aircraft purchase contract without the guidance of an experienced aviation attorney. 

Aircraft Purchase Agreement Elements

An aircraft purchase agreement is an agreement to purchase or lease an aircraft, or in some cases to purchase a partial ownership stake in a plane in the case of a fractional ownership agreement.

The aircraft purchase agreement must contain all of the information relevant to both the aircraft buyer and seller. This information usually includes:

  • Information about the cost of the sale
  • Information and/or warranties about the condition of the aircraft
  • Details about the make, manufacture and age of the plane
  • Information about the parts or components of the plane
  • Payment methods and information about how the money for the sale is to be delivered

Reviewing Aircraft Purchase Agreements

When reviewing a purchase agreement, an aircraft buyer needs to ensure that he does due diligence and fully researches the plane he is buying. A buyer of an aircraft can become liable for damages that occur as a result of the use of that plane. Therefore, an aircraft buyer should ensure that a plane is properly inspected.

In some cases, the General Aviation Revitalization Act can also preclude a buyer from suing a manufacturer of a plane or parts for defects if the plane is more than 18 years old. A buyer must thus carefully consider this legal restriction and verify the age of the plane before purchase.

The FAA and other related organizations also have rules and regulations when it comes to the safety requirement of aircrafts. Owners should ensure that a thorough inspection identifies any potential issues so they do not end up purchasing a plane that cannot be flown.

Important Legal Elements

In addition to a contract between buyer and seller, FAA forms may need to be reviewed and requirements satisfied. These forms include FAA Form 8050-2, which is an Aircraft Bill of Sale Preparation guide, and FFA Form 8050-3, which is an official certificate of aircraft registration. Other forms may also be exchanged between an aircraft buyer and the FAA. An aviation attorney can help buyers to ensure they comply with all FAA requirements in the transfer so they can properly register the aircraft and be in compliance with the law.

Getting Help from an Attorney

An experienced aviation attorney can lead you through the process of purchasing an aircraft to ensure you are protected. Not only are aircrafts expenses investments, but they can also be very dangerous if not properly maintained. An attorney can help you avoid potentially lawsuits, loss of life, or other such issues by helping to ensure your plane purchase is legitimate and a wise decision.