Thursday, April 23, 2015

Papers Please! or How the heck do you buy an airplane?

Nothing mechanical going on today on the Cherokee, but I wanted to share with you guys the process of registering a plane in your name.  I'm assuming that many of you (like myself) have never seen this side of aircraft ownership.

At this point in my life I have bought two houses and a handful of cars, and every one of these purchases necessitated a figurative mountain of paperwork.  I am pretty sure my last two mortgage paperwork directly contributed to climate change with the amount of trees it took to print them out.

With that said, surly purchasing a machine that FLIES IN THE AIR would require an unfathomable amount of paperwork.....turns out the answer is "no not really"

In fact you only need 3 things.

1. A bill of sale (which you can print out from the FAA website)
2. An aircraft registration form (which you can acquire from your local FBO)
3. a five dollar bill

This is the bill of sale, which you can download as a pdf from the FAA website.

You fill out the top part in ink as the buyer, and the seller (registered owner) signs that bottom part.  He only signs it once and prints his name.

Technically you now own the airplane.

If you lived here in NC and you wanted to buy my 64 Buick we would have to go to a bank and find a notary and fill out a bill of sale and have it notarized.  Then you would need to goto the DMV and fill out all this paperwork and have a title issued in your name.   But here I was able to buy an airplane over some beers and wings after work...that just blows my mind.

Once you get your bill of sale filled out and signed you will need to visit your local FBO and pick up a registration form.  This form is a duplicate form with a white and pink carbon copy.

All of the instructions for filling out and sending in the form are on the first page.

This is the white copy (trust me it's white) this is the form you fill out and eventually will send into the FAA.

This is the pink carbon copy.  You will keep this copy and put it in your airplane.  This immediately functions as a temp 90 day registration for your airplane.  If your plane was airworthy you would then be good to go flying.

From here you would need to send in the bill of sale, the white copy of the registration form and a $5 dollar bill to the address on the instructions (on the reg form)

The FAA will then record your registration and the N number will then be officially registered to you.  In the event the FAA is unable to issue you a registration within 90 days, they will issue you another temp registration.

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