Aircraft Ownership

Are you buying an aircraft, selling one, or forming an aircraft “partnership”?  If so, you need experienced legal advice to avoid many of the common pitfalls associated with these activities.

Be wary of lawyers who offer to “help” with your purchase but do not have real aviation experience. Many experienced corporate attorneys will tell purchasers of aircraft to hold title in an LLC or corporation (for liability protection), but it may subject the owner to needless Federal Excise Tax and possibly even get them inadvertently designated as an “air carrier” by the FAA. Hire the wrong attorney, and you might be forced to make a claim against their malpractice carrier to reimburse you for unnecessary taxes paid.

Our firm can assist you with all aircraft ownership needs, from purchase agreements to ownership challenges and beyond. If you are considering owning an aircraft with one or more co-owners, you need an attorney-drafted agreement between all of you that clearly outlines your rights and responsibilities toward each other. Absent a written agreement, many aircraft partners will develop differing understandings of their obligations (scheduling, maintenance reserves, etc) which can lead to larger problems. Aircraft co-ownership can be a great way to own a plane with reduced (shared) fixed costs, but all the benefits fall by the wayside when the partners can’t get along later.

Another common situation where aircraft owners desperately need legal counsel is working with their insurance carrier after a claim. Many insurers seem friendly and helpful in the claims process, only to fail to pay significant damages due to “technicalities”. Have you read your policy’s “betterment” clause that allows the carrier to replace time-based parts for a fraction of their cost (and stick you with the difference)?  This is no time for an aircraft owner to learn the law; you need an attorney with an aviation background right away. Our office welcomes all aircraft owners and prospective purchasers to contact us for a consultation without charge.