Aviation Practice


  • Aircraft Purchases and Sales

  • When purchasing or selling any size or type of aircraft, it is important for a buyer or seller to retain an aviation attorney who possesses the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate through the complicated, and sometimes lengthy, process. Aviation law is a complex field that incorporates many different aspects of the law. An aviation attorney plays a vital role as an advocate and consultant while guiding the client through the process. This includes, for example, negotiating with third parties on behalf of the client, working with the client to minimize both taxes and registration fees, and providing consultation on options for liability protection. An attorney ensures that every necessary step is taken to avoid future headaches with the various state, federal, and international regulators.
  • Aircraft Title Search Review

  • An attorney can employ a qualified escrow and title company to complete title searches on the aircraft. The attorney will then review the results of the title search prior to the completion of any transaction to ensure that both the aircraft and the engines are free and clear from any claims, liens, judgments, or fractional interests.
  • Aircraft Leases

  • Leasing an aircraft can provide an income stream and management services that may offset some of the costs and expenses of aircraft ownership. An attorney can assist in the drafting and negotiating of all lease terms to ensure the viability of the lease and protect the client’s interests.
  • Hangar Leases

  • Leasing a hangar requires coordination between various regulatory authorities including the FAA, the airport board, and state and local governments. An individual considering leasing a hangar should employ an attorney to draft the lease agreement and facilitate negotiations.
  • Financing

  • An attorney can work with the client’s financial institution to ensure all necessary paperwork is completed and facilitate a smooth closing.
  • Consultation on 1031 Exchanges

  • A 1031 exchange, commonly referred to as a “like-kind exchange”, is a tax deferred exchange of income-producing property. It is important to consult with an attorney prior to completing a 1031 exchange to complete the exchange correctly and avoid tax liabilities.
  • Aircraft Taxation and Registration Fees

  • Planning for tax and registration fees prior to the purchase of the aircraft can save an aircraft owner thousands of dollars. Each state has significantly different taxation laws and registration fees for aircraft owners. An aviation attorney with knowledge of various state laws can assist an aircraft owner in choosing the state in which to register the aircraft and advise him or her on the most advantageous tax strategies.
  • Aircraft Registrations (State, FAA, and International)

  • An aircraft must be registered with several different regulatory bodies upon transfer of ownership. Improper registration can result in impoundment of the aircraft, imprisonment of the aircraft crew, and fines assessed against the aircraft owner. A potential aircraft owner should employ an attorney’s advice to ensure proper registration.
  • Business Entity Consultation

  • Often, an aircraft owner chooses to hold his or her aircraft within a business entity for liability protection or tax planning purposes. An attorney can provide advice on the most advantageous type and location of the business entity and can assist in the entity’s creation. An attorney can also provide advice on business succession or transfer planning to ensure aircraft ownership continuity.
  • Non-Resident Aircraft Purchases

  • In order to register an aircraft in the United States, the owner must be: a US citizen, or a non-US citizen lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, or a corporation organized and doing business under US law or state law provided the corporation meets the qualifications established in FAR Part 47. An attorney can assist non-US citizens in aircraft acquisitions and FAA registration with the use of business entities or Owner Trusts, as well as drafting operating agreements or leases in compliance with FAR Part 47. Provided the business entity or Owner Trust is properly established, and an operating agreement is executed, non-US citizens may purchase, register and operate an aircraft in the United States.
  • Aircraft Liability Protection Planning

  • An aircraft owner should consult with an attorney for advice on liability protection. One of the easiest and most effective ways to plan against future liabilities stemming from aircraft ownership is to form a business entity in which to own the aircraft. This creates a liability shield which helps to protect the owner from becoming personally liable for any claims arising out of the ownership or operation of the aircraft. For further liability protection planning, a qualified aviation attorney can also review an insurance policy to confirm that the aircraft is adequately insured.
  • FAA Certifications and Regulations

  • FBOs: A fixed-base operator (FBO) is a commercial business regulated by the FAA that offers services such as flight instruction, hangaring, fueling, and aircraft maintenance. An attorney can aid in navigation and compliance with the various regulations that govern FBOs.
  • FAR Part 145 Maintenance Operations and FAR Part 135 Charter Operations: A FAR Part 145 Maintenance Operator is a maintenance shop that holds a FAA repair station certification allowing it to perform certain maintenance and repairs on aircraft. A FAR Part 135 Charter Operator is a charter service that holds a FAA air carrier operating certificate that allows it to provide charter services to the general public. An attorney will assist in the application process necessary to obtain the certification and ensure compliance with all corresponding FAA regulations.
  • An aviation attorney can also assist with other FAA certifications.
  • Fractional Ownership

  • An attorney should draft or review all fractional ownership contracts or business agreements and provide advice on the legal issues involved.


Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended to provide specific legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be created by an explicit agreement with our firm.