Author Archives: TBell24

2023 Hyde Drift Boat for sale

Pro Series XL Low Profile

This 2023 Pro XL low profile with less than a full season under its chines is ready to take you to the lake or river today! You can buy this beautiful boat today at almost 30% less than what it cost new.

  • New SeaDek Marine flooring!
  • Galvanized Deluxe Drift Boat trailer with TW4000 Electric Winch and Battery / Aluminum Wheels / 175/80 R13 Tires / Spare Tire / Jack Stand / Buckle tie down straps – Value $4300
  • Siberian 45 qt. Cooler with Tempress Cushion Hyde Logo Seat
  • 3/4 Rower bench with Low Back Rower’s seat and storage
  • Rear Pedestal Storage box with Tempress Cushion Hyde Logo Seat 
  • 3 Point Knee Brace Assembly
  • Easy Pull Side Anchor Assembly with 30 lb Steel Spike Anchor and 50′ rope and Rock Exotica and Harken pulley
  • Hyde Manganese Bronze Oarlocks with Sawyer V-Lam Shoal Cut wooden Oars
  • Motor Mount with Minn Kota 55lb Traxxis trolling motor with weedless prop
  • Hummingbird Depth finder

Over $21,000 invested….. Asking $15,950

Call John Bell 901-439-4300 or Tammy Bell 901-834-1600

The Importance of a Pre-purchase inspection on an Aircraft

The most important parts of a pre-purchase inspection on aircraft include:

  • Scheduling constraints
  • Test Flight / Visual Inspection
  • Log Book Research/ADs
  • Airworthy Items
  • Determine Health of the Engine or Engines
  • Corrosion Inspection
  • Acceptance Flight


The most important part of your aircraft purchase is the Pre-purchase Inspection, therefore, it is vitally important to find an unbiased third party to perform the inspection. Most aircraft dealers/brokers recommend using the maintenance facility you will use for future maintenance. Many times scheduling a pre-purchase inspection can be very difficult as it is very time consuming for the maintenance facility. Some maintenance facilities even refuse to do pre-purchase inspections. Therefore, it is vital that you or your broker have good communication with the maintenance facility to be sure the inspections you require are accomplished.

Avionics pre-purchase inspection

The Test Flight is necessary to verify the installed Avionics and determine their working condition.


Undoubtedly, the test flight is a crucial element in determining whether the installed avionics and systems work properly. As shown above, scheduling can be difficult due to the aircraft’s location and the buyer’s busy schedule, however, it is a very important part of the prebuy process. Negotiating a test flight and visual inspection by the purchaser or his representative before the cost of a pre-purchase inspection is usually the best plan in order to inspect discrepancies found during the process. Occasionally, the prospective buyer turns the aircraft down on cosmetics alone, so be prepared for anything.


Few owners realize how much value their aircraft log books contain. Erroneous, incomplete or vague log book entries can diminish the aircraft’s value substantially. These records must be analyzed by an experienced aircraft mechanic for correct component times, AD’s/SB’s, 337s, 8130s, etc. An experienced aircraft broker/dealer can determine what type of damage or repairs will affect the aircraft’s value.


Different mechanics have different views of what items to address in a pre-purchase inspection. Ultimately, the mechanic determines the airworthiness of the aircraft with a list of items acceptable to both parties, thereupon providing the buyer with a list of discrepancies which will need to be addressed. Of course, maintenance facilities that specialize in a particular aircraft make and model are more familiar with items indicative of potential problems relative to those models.

Visual and mechanical inspections of engine components by qualified mechanics are vital before purchasing an aircraft.


As I have noted, maintenance facilities more familiar with the particular make/model aircraft inspected will have guidelines for determining the health of an engine. Both piston and turboprop engines can be inspected internally with a borescope to determine the condition of the components and whether they will need maintenance in the near future. Most mechanics inspect piston engines for compressions, cracks, muffler wear, and oil leaks and contamination. They inspect turboprops with ground runs, leak checks, visual and borescope inspections, fuel and oil filters. Correspondingly, oil samples on both engines can show problems with internal wear.

Many of the aircraft produced today contain internal corrosion proofing.


The “C” word is just as bad for aircraft as it is for humans. Overall, it occurs in most aircraft, however, it can only be slowed down, not cured. Internal corrosion of the aircraft and components occurs markedly faster in saltwater environments as opposed to dry country areas. Hence, it is important as a part of the Pre-purchase process to determine in what areas the aircraft has been in operation to foresee potential problems prior to inspection. Most mechanics are familiar with the areas of concern and inspect those critical areas first before delving deeper into other minor inspections.


Once the mechanic provides a discrepancy list and addresses the repairs, the buyer will need to take a follow up flight to determine whether the systems operate satisfactory before closing. If the buyer decides to take a price reduction, then they become responsible for the repairs.

In summary, the Pre-purchase Inspection becomes the most important part of the aircraft selection process. Many times buyers become overwhelmed or miss a minor, but important part of the process. To be sure that the aircraft you are selecting is worth the purchase price and is in good condition, you may want to consider hiring a professional to help you with the process.

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Increasing Aircraft Values may leave your Aircraft Underinsured

Aircraft values have increased steadily since 2019. It has been an exciting time for many aircraft owners! Buyers are paying drastically higher prices for used aircraft.

Cessna 182 Values

As the used aircraft market continues to consolidate, buyers have remained active through the first two quarters of 2023. Since 2019 the average piston aircraft value has increased over 34%. Turboprop and business jets are up over 30%. The third quarter saw some models decrease in value while others are holding steady. See our AIRCRAFT FOR SALE page for additional information.

Beech C90 King Air Values

With the increase in aircraft values this may leave some owners underinsured. If you have been renewing your insurance policy with the same values, it may be worth a look at what it would cost to replace your aircraft in today’s market.

If you haven’t adjusted your hull values in recent years, take a look at these reasons why hull value is so important:

1. Replacement cost could exceed your Aircraft Hull Value

If you don’t have enough insurance to cover the cost of a replacement aircraft, you may have to come up with additional funds or settle for an aircraft of lesser value.

2. Your aircraft could be worth more than when you bought it

If you have kept up with aircraft maintenance, made upgrades to avionics and/or refurbishments, your aircraft could be worth much more than what you paid at the time of purchase.

Now is the time to make sure you have enough insurance coverage for your aircraft’s value. Feel free to contact us for your updated values and be sure to include any recent maintenance or upgrades to ensure an accurate market value.

Therefore, if you’re interested in receiving an update on your hull value, call John (901) 489-4300 or Tammy at (901) 834-1600 or email today! We will provide you with an accurate evaluation using VRef Aircraft Value Reference and analysis of the current market.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Safe travels for the holidays

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing you safe travels during the holidays.

We hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful! With the holidays just around the corner, we want to take this opportunity to wish you a joyous and safe Holiday Season.

This Thanksgiving our family is thankful for you, our customers! We wish safe travels to your families and wonderful memories during the holidays.

John B. Bell and family

Click here to view our aircraft for sale!

#AircraftforSale #BeechcraftforSale #LearjetforSale #BaronforSale #KingAirforSale #TaylorcraftforSale #JohnBellAircraft #HappyThanksgiving

Fall Aviation News 2019

An Amazing thing Happened!

Our Summer trip to Montana

by John B. Bell on September 30

An amazing thing happened on our Summer trip to Montana……

While eating dinner with several friends at the Continental Divide Restaurant in Ennis, MT, I was asked to tell my story of landing the King Air on the road. (Click this link for full story!) After I finished telling my story a man at a table nearby asked if I had landed that aircraft on Highway 96 near Franklin, TN. I said YES that was me. The man said, “I was there too, and I am a pilot! When I saw you fly over me at 150 ft. with both engines feathered, I knew something was wrong. I turned my truck around and then saw you land smoking those tires!”

Wow, what a small world we live in! Such an impossible coincidence 36 years later in a small corner of the world, simply AMAZING! 



1987 Beechcraft King Air C90A

King Air C90A 

by Tammy Bell on September 30

This is a nicely equipped King Air C90A with 7015 hours total time. 3466 SOH’s and 565 SPOH. It is ADSB and WAAS equipped and certified to fly into 2020!

Avionics: Avidyne EX-500 MFD with XM Weather and Radar and IFD540 Touchscreen WAAS GPS and ADS-B out. King KFC-250 Autopilot and Flight Director with dual HSI. 

Options include Raisebeck Wing Locker System, Dual aft body Strakes, Speed stacks and Gross Weight of 10,100 lbs.

Fresh Phase 1 and 2 inspections, Complete logs and no damage history. The owner is motivated to sell, so call us and make an offer!

Motivated! 1978 Lear 35A

Learjet 35A

by Tammy Bell on September 30

Buy a jet with an 1800 NM range for less than $450,000! Equipped with Honeywell Digital Electronic Engine Controls, a drag chute, and no damage history and is scheduled for ADSB install in January 2020!

10,300 hours total time and 870/3300 since CZI and 870/850 since MPI/Plenum. The avionics include dual Garmin GNS430’s, PMA8000B audio, King KMD550/850 MFD, TCAS, EGPWS, and Radar.

Optional equipment are Thrust Reversers, Engine sync, AC, Drag Chute, RVSM, and a Century III Wing with Soft Flite. This owner is also motivated to sell, so call us and make an offer. Will trade for a Learjet 45!

Price Reduced! 1974 Cessna 340 – SOLD!

Cessna 340

by Tammy Bell on September 30

This super well equipped C340 has been sold to a happy new owner!

4535 hours on the airframe and only 595 on both engines since overhaul by America’s Aircraft Engines.

The equipment includes a full-featured Glass Cockpit with a ‘Connected Panel’ providing wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Unbelievable avionics with Aspen Evolution 2000 PFD and 1000 MFD, MVP-50P glass panel engine monitoring system, GNS530W WAAS GPS, and much more!

Fly in year round comfort with Air Conditioning, pressurization, and De-ice. 

Owner Motivated!! 1976 Beechcraft B55 Baron

B-55 Baron

by Tammy Bell on September 30

The price on this Baron has been reduced, and the owner is ready to move on to his next aircraft. 010 hours total time and 340/1325 hours on the engines. 

Excellent avionics included with this Baron are WAAS Garmin GTN650 GPS/Nav/Comm/MFD, GMA350c bluetooth Audio panel, GTX345 Transponder with ADS-B Out, and a King KFC-200 Autopilot and Flight Director with an HSI.

The dual yoke, large baggage door, and de-icing equipment make it a perfect aircraft for year round flight. With a little paint and TLC it will make great business or pleasure aircraft. Call us and make an offer!

Price Reduced!! 1970 Beechcraft E55 Baron

E-55 Baron

by Tammy Bell on September 30

The price on this Baron has been reduced to $129,900. This Baron is flown regularly and has an average of 195 hours per year. It has 440/725 since engine overhauls and has excellent IFR avionics. 

Avionics include WAAS, two 5” GPS Moving map displays and ADS-B including Weather, Traffic and Electronic Charts! It’s a superb all weather IFR plane with de-ice too.

1963 Beechcraft P35 Bonanza

P-35 Bonanza

by Tammy Bell on September 30

This P-35 Bonanza is hangared in Savannah, TN, with 5685 hours total time and 1065 since Factory Reman 300 hp engine. It is IFR equipped with King with a GPS, digital Nav/Com, transponder and stormscope. The autopilot has been replaced with an STEC 60-2 with alt. Hold and pre-select, HSI and much more. 

Price Reduced!! 1943 Taylorcraft Clipped Wing

Taylorcraft Clipped Wing

by Tammy Bell on September 30

This beautiful aerobatic aircraft was once owned and flown in Airshows by the famous Sandi Pierce who was a wing walker! It has a 100 hp Continental engine overhauled 205 hours ago and a McCauley Climb prop. Own a piece of history for only $29,900


John Bell Aircraft, Inc.

14 County Road 523, Como, MS 38619

(901) 489-4300

Turbine Multi-Engine Glider Rating

In Spring of 1983 I was working as a sales manager for Memphis Jet center. We obtained a King Air 90 with no reversers previously owned by Bob and Spence Wilson which they traded on a King Air 200.

On Tuesday, June 23, I had a sales demo with George Nickey, a Memphis real estate developer, going to Nashville, TN. I instructed the line service to top off N75XA, a 1965 model King Air 90 LJ-50, with very inaccurate fuel gauges. While in the front lobby I observed the fuel truck in front of the aircraft with caps off and then went to review the flight plan. 15 minutes later I went to the front desk and asked to see the fuel ticket. The fuel sheet was in the truck across the ramp, so I walked over to see how much fuel it took. The fuel sheet showed N75XA taking 274 gallons of fuel which sounded like the correct amount as I had flown it the day before on a shorter flight and the aircraft holds 384. The previous flight would have taken approx. 100 gallons so that sounded correct.

George Nickey arrived, and we preflighted the aircraft with him in the left seat. We spent 30-40 mins on the ground going over systems and airframe. Due to the weather I had to file an instrument flight plan to Nashville with 600 ft ceilings and 2 miles visibility. We finally take off and climb to 11,000 ft breaking out of the clouds at 8000 ft. As we approach BNA, we are cleared to 8000 ft. Soon after we re-entered the clouds the left fuel flow went to 0, and the engine quit running. I reached across George and activated the manual cross feed. The engine started again, and I declared an emergency with Nashville approach. 5 minutes later both engines quit and fuel flows to 0. I notify approach that I need a vector to the expressway. They turn me right to a heading of 135 where they say there are fields down that way….

At that time I feathered both engines to extend my glide and told George to get in the back, sit behind me and prepare to crash. My initial reaction was that someone had done me in! I thought about my new wife, Tammy, since we had just been married the previous year. My next thought was if I had ever done any fancy flying NOW WAS THE TIME!

I broke out of the clouds at 600 ft and George yelled “There is a field to the right!” It was your typical Nashville field, 5 acres and a big rock in the middle, so I keep looking around. Next I spotted a two lane rural highway which I later learned was Hwy 96 which runs East and West out of Franklin, TN. Having done thousands of spot landings in my past, this one had to be my best.

On left downwind I observed a pickup truck heading West. I also saw a dump truck heading East towards me. Indicating a rate of glide of 120 knots I crossed over the pickup truck and fully cross controlled the aircraft into an extreme slip to lose airspeed. Going across the pickup at about an 70 degree angle, I kicked it back to line up with the road and touched down 100 ft in front of the truck. I retracted flaps about ten feet off the ground to get the best braking action and laid on the brakes. On the hilly road I topped the first hill and could see the dump truck still coming. The mailboxes beneath my wings were racing by as I tried to slow the aircraft down. As I topped the 2nd hill the dump truck hadn’t slowed down or noticed me, so I am standing on the brakes and burning rubber.

At the top of the 3rd hill my speed had slowed sufficiently to pull off the road. The dump truck pulled around my wing still sticking out in the road and stopped. George went flying out of the cabin door as the dump truck driver stopped. He stepped out of his truck and asked “ya’ll having any trouble?” George replied, “No we just stopped for a coke!”

The pickup truck that I went over sideways and landed in front of caught up to us and stopped. The lady driving got out and ran up to me and shook me shouting, “You could have killed us!” I replied, “No, Ma’am, I was not going to hit you.” Her husband finally pulled her away saying, “Mable, the man did the best he could!” Another car drove around us but didn’t stop.

Next a young man came down the driveway. He was 16 years old and had just joined the Civil Air Patrol. I thanked him for his first rescue and gave him $100 to guard the airplane.

The FAA arrived a very short time later. He asked me what happened, and I replied, “Well it is out of fuel.” The FAA then took his measuring wheel to see the stopping distance and returned to me saying that I stopped it in 1190 ft. He said, “You must have used full reverse to do that.” I just replied, “Yes Sir”, jokingly.

I called Howard Entman, the owner of Memphis Jet Center, to tell him what happened and explain that we would need to have a truck come pick it up. Howard said that he would come up and fly it out, but I decided that I would be the one to fly it out.

The next day was a circus! The Stevens Aviation fuel truck driving down to refuel the plane was following two Highway Patrol escorts too closely, and they collided. After they finally arrived I asked them to top off the nacelle tanks only, so it would be light enough for the short take off.

The aircraft received very little damage in my landing except for a power line which took off the rotating beacon, however, the Nashville FSDO took 3 hours to determine that it was airworthy for take off. During this time a crowd of about 200 people gathered in the heat to watch the show. Ambulances, fire trucks, and police gathered in preparation for my departure. Two different people came up to me and offered me a beer! I asked the Highway Patrol for cones to mark the power lines.

After the FAA finalized their report I taxied down to the point where I landed. Again with the mailboxes racing beneath my wings during my takeoff roll, I looked up only to see patrol cars at the end of the road stopping traffic. On the 3rd hill I had enough speed to lift off and pulled up over the patrol cars. Making a left turn over the huge crowd, I had thoughts of a victory roll but decided I was probably in enough trouble and just waved the wings to say ‘Good bye’. The next day the headlines in the Tennessean read, “Plane Runs Out of Fuel, Lands on Highway 96”.

Upon returning to Memphis Jet Center to determine what happened to my fuel, I learned that the lineman fueling N75XA had quickly departed. The other linemen said that he stopped fueling N75XA because he thought he was supposed to be fueling the Wilson’s other King Air. They said he had been smoking weed and was never heard from again!

The FAA filed a violation and tried to take away ‘All Airman Certificates’ held by me for 90 days for violating FAR sections 91.5 and 91.9 for improper visual inspection of fuel tanks. (Click here to read the NTSB Case) My great lawyer, June Entman, defended me at the NTSB court where we had 19 King Air pilots prepared to testify that you cannot visibly determine the amount of fuel in a King Air due to the dihedral in the wings. On the 13th pilot’s testimony the judge stipulated against the FAA lawyer’s protest that it was not necessary to visibly check a King Air for fuel. Even with this stipulation the NTSB judge said you must have done something wrong so you are guilty! June appealed the ruling where the judge turned it over with not guilty. To this day, I have not received an FAA Air Metal or an endorsement on my pilot’s license for a “turbine multi-engine glider rating”…

George Nickey was initially understandably upset with me, however, after being told by several other pilots that he was lucky that I had been the pilot, he bought 3 other airplanes from me.

Can you fly after your FAA Registration expires?

The quick answer is NO!

     Once your FAA Aircraft Registration has expired, the aircraft is not authorized for flight. You must now start a re-registration process which can take a minimum of 6 weeks to several months. There is no way to expedite this process. You cannot fly on a pink slip until the process is complete, and you may risk losing your original N Number.

     In 2010 the FAA revised the aircraft registration process to require re-registration of US aircraft every 3 years. The FAA will mail a notice 180 days prior to the expiration date to the address provided on the Registration Application (Form 8050-1). 60 days before expiration you will receive one additional notice. Many times these notices are overlooked or misplaced.


  • Look up your aircraft on the Search Aircraft Registration Information web page. Verify that the mailing address and the names of owners shown are correct. If the mailing address is wrong, the owner should update the address promptly. It may be useful to print the results page.
  • It is advised to file a registration renewal application about five months before expiration. Complete AC Form 8050-1B Aircraft Registration Renewal Application online. Print the form and sign it as appropriate for the aircraft’s type of ownership. Send the form and the $5 renewal fee to the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch at the address shown.
  • You may complete the Aircraft Registration Renewal online after you receive the FAA EXPIRATION OF AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION NOTICE in the mail. You will need the ‘Online Security Code’ supplied by the FAA in order to complete the renewal online. Note: The online option is available only if no changes need to be made.
  • Pay an aircraft title company to handle the renewal process for you.


  • Fortunately, there is a legal way to obtain a new registration. If you transfer ownership of your aircraft to another entity and file for a new registration with the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch, you can fly away on a pink slip anywhere in the United States. Take caution in the transfer so that you do cause sales taxes to be due and be sure to transfer insurance coverage to the new registrant.

How to Buy and Sell Used Aircraft

Clients nationwide have trusted the expertise of JBA for over 50 years. Read John’s in-depth article on ‘How to buy and sell used aircraft’.



Analyze Your Needs

Impulsivity is one of the most common mistakes in purchasing a used aircraft. Buying an aircraft without fully considering the effects of your decision can be costly. You should take the time to analyze your requirements carefully and be realistic. Consider your typical flight load, trip distance and conditions of flight, and then compare aircraft. To avoid the trap of buying more than you need or can use, ask yourself if you really need all the fancy bells and whistles. If possible, go rent or lease the particular aircraft make and model you are interested in. This allows you to get a feel for how well it meets your requirements.


Find a good insurance company and discuss your plans. Be sure you are buying an airplane that you can get insured to fly without too much trouble. The insurance company may require you to have more hours in make and model. You need to know this up front, so you can get the experience or choose a different make / model. Often times, you may qualify for insurance after you meet a minimum requirement such as five hours of instruction in a similar make and model. By knowing these things ahead of time, you can be one step ahead of the game.


GET FINANCING APPROVAL EARLY IN THE PROCESS. The reason for this is simple: the ability to act quickly. Whether buying new or used, it’s important to know what you can afford and what the bank will lend you (assuming you’re getting a loan for the purchase). There are many aircraft lenders that can pre-approve you over the phone in as little as fifteen minutes, or you can apply online. Once you have been pre-approved, you are under no obligation to use the loan; it will just be there for you if and when you need it. This will allow you to concentrate on finding the right aircraft, and enable you to immediately make an offer when you do find it. A great buy can slip through your fingers if another buyer comes along while you’re busy trying to find financing.

Factors that affect Aircraft Value

OBTAIN THE MOST INFORMATION POSSIBLE BEFORE GOING TO SEE AN AIRPLANE. The following will be questions to ask your seller:

Engine hours

This will be a major factor on resale value of your aircraft. The closer an engine is to its recommended time between overhaul (TBO), the less its value. Equally important is a record of consistent use coupled with a good maintenance program. Regular use helps keep seals and other engine components lubricated and in good shape.


Be careful of the terminology used to describe engine condition. A top overhaul involves the repair of engine components outside of the crankcase. A major overhaul involves the complete disassembly, inspection, repair and reassembly of an engine to specified limits. If an engine has had a top or major overhaul, the logbooks must still show the total time on the engine, if known, and its prior maintenance history.

Installed equipment

such as avionics, air conditioning, deicing gear and interior equipment. The big item here is usually avionics that can easily double the value of some older aircraft. Also, older equipment is generally more expensive to maintain.

Airworthiness Directives

ADs are issued by the FAA for safety reasons and are a fact of life for most every aircraft. Once issued, owners are required to comply with the AD within the time period allotted. It’s important to look at the AD history of an aircraft. Check the nature of the ADs and whether they are recurring or one-time compliance. Make sure the logbooks show compliance with all applicable ADs. You can search for ADs on AOPA’s Web site or you can have a list prepared by Aircraft Title and Escrow Service.

Damage history

major repairs can affect the value of an aircraft significantly, but may be hard to pin down. A damage history will decrease the value of an aircraft, depending on the type of accident, nature of the damage and the degree to which major components have been involved. Any aircraft with a damage history should be closely scrutinized to make sure it has been properly repaired in accordance with the applicable FAA regulations and recommended practices.


Check new paint jobs carefully for evidence of corrosion under the surface. Interior items should be checked for proper fit and condition. Done properly, both items enhance the value of the aircraft. Be sure to inspect the aircraft wing surfaces for hail damage which can severely affect your resale value.


Pre-Purchase Inspection

Before buying, have a mechanic you trust give the aircraft a thorough inspection and provide you with a written report of its condition. Choose a knowledgeable individual who has no fiscal interest in the airplane or selling you any other airplane!

A pre-purchase inspection should include a thorough mechanical inspection of the aircraft, an inspection of the aircraft log books and other records such as FAA Form 337 (Report of Major Repair or Alteration) and AD compliance. Ideally, the mechanic you select to do the inspection should have experience and be familiar with the problems that may be encountered on that type of aircraft.

A pre-purchase inspection is not an annual inspection, although the buyer and seller could agree to such an arrangement. It is very important to insist on inspecting the ‘deal breaking’ items first, as the aircraft may be found to be un-airworthy and be grounded. IMPORTANT: Be very careful to specify to the shop or mechanic performing the inspection that the ‘pre-purchase’ inspection will come BEFORE the annual inspection!

Poor annual inspections or improper repairs could cost a new owner thousands of dollars if not more. Be aware that 100-hour inspections are not annual inspections. It indicates only that the aircraft was found to be in airworthy condition at the time of inspection.

Other important items to inspect for are:


One of the main worries of buying a conventional airplane these days is the specter of widespread corrosion. Check the logbooks to see where the airplane has lived most of its life. Many entries from coastal cities should tip you off to be extra cautious of corrosion. Also look for recent and consistent call-outs for corrosion protection. Treatment with products like ACF-50 and Corrosion X have been successful in stemming the spread of corrosion in even beach-bound airplanes, but they cannot replace metal that’s already gone. So look carefully.

Weak engine

If you find an engine that supposedly has low time since new or overhaul but has low compression, high oil consumption, or many contaminants in the oil filter, look out. (As part of your prepurchase inspection, you should take hot and cold compression readings and a peek inside the oil filter element.) You could be dealing with either a bad overhaul, a non-overhaul (a paint and paperwork exercise), or poor maintenance. A low-time engine should look, run, and smell like a low-time engine. Be on guard for parts-bin engines, as well; you might run across a powerplant with two chrome cylinders, two steel, and two of indeterminate origin. To be conservative, in this case you should budget for a complete top-end overhaul.

Uncommonly low time

Inactivity is the bane of all aircraft, so be cautious of the glowing praise from the seller of a 500-hour-since-new 1956 (or even 1976) airplane. It’s far better to have higher total time and a history of constant and frequent use than a so-called cream puff that was flown only to get a $100 hamburger on every third Sunday.

Undocumented or poor damage repair

It’s said that there are two types of retractables, those that have landed gear-up and those that will. Look at both the logs and the airframe for evidence of skin patches, structural-member replacement, or mysterious “flaps replaced this date” entries. Properly fixed and documented repair notes hurt the price less than the sneaky “don’t ask, don’t tell” types.

Obviously, the outcome of a pre-purchase inspection is likely to affect price. If a mechanic discovers a serious problem, the buyer is not likely to close the deal without a reduction in price equal to the cost of the repair. For that reason, the seller may be wary of such an inspection. Nevertheless, it is to the buyer’s advantage to insist upon one. Once the deal is closed and the buyer takes possession of the aircraft, it will be extremely difficult to force the previous owner to bear the cost of repairs that should have been performed before the sale.

Transfer of Ownership


Sales Contract

Once you have decided to buy a particular aircraft, put the terms and conditions of the agreement in writing. This is for the protection of both parties since it is often difficult to enforce verbal contracts. The agreement need not be complicated, but it should clearly state the intentions of the both parties. Each state has different laws which will govern the interpretation of your agreement, so be sure to specify which state will have jurisdiction.

Title Searches

A clear title is a term commonly used by aircraft title search companies to indicate there are no liens (chattel mortgage, security agreement, tax lien, artisan lien, etc.) in the FAA aircraft records. The Civil Aviation Registry does not perform title searches for the aviation public; however, the aircraft records contain all of the ownership and security documents that have been filed with the FAA.

The Civil Aviation Registry records acceptable security instruments. In addition, some states authorize artisan liens (mechanic liens) and these may also be recorded. Check your state’s statutes. Federal liens against an owner (IRS, drug, repossession, etc.) may not show at all!

Have a title search done by an attorney or qualified aircraft title search company. A list of title search companies qualified in aircraft title and records search can be found on AC Form 8050-55, Title Search Companies, available from the Civil Aviation Registry.

You wouldn’t think of purchasing a house until you have the records examined. You should do the same when purchasing an aircraft, which also represents a substantial investment. Even though you are planning to purchase the aircraft from an established dealer, it makes good sense to determine the true status of the aircraft records before you buy.

Aircraft records maintained by the FAA are on file at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. Microfiche copies of aircraft records maybe requested for review. For more information on how to order and costs, contact the Civil Aviation Registry at (405) 954-3116. There may be other records filed at federal, state, or local level that are not recorded with the FAA.

Cape Town International Registry

As adopted in the United States by The Cape Town Treaty Implementation Act of 2004 – August 9, 2004 which:

  • Recognizes the International Registry as an additional place for the filing of interests, including prospective interests, in certain airframes, helicopters, and aircraft engines.
  • Establishes the right for owners of these aircraft to grant an Irrevocable De-Registration and Export Request Authorization (IDERA) to a secured party.
  • Reduces from 750 to 550 rated take-off shaft horsepower the size threshold for aircraft engines eligible to be recorded as collateral in security instruments.
  • Establishes the Civil Aviation Registry as the Authorizing Entry Point.

The effective date of these changes is March 1, 2006.

Aircraft and Aircraft Engines Eligible for International Registry Recording:

  • Airframes that are type certificated to transport:
  • At least eight (8) persons including crew; or
  • Goods in excess of 2750 kilograms (6050 pounds)
  • Helicopters that are type certificated to transport:
  • At least five (5) persons including crew; or
  • Goods in excess of 450 kilograms (990 pounds)
  • Jet propulsion aircraft engines with at least 1750 pounds of thrust or its equivalent.
  • Turbine-powered or Piston-powered aircraft engines with at least 550 rated take-off horsepower or its equivalent.

The text of the Cape Town Treaty and the Protocol on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment are available at

The IR, as it is commonly referred to, adds a great deal of complication to a transaction.  Remember that just because one party doesn’t want to use the IR, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Also don’t just believe what someone tells you about it, make sure you get advise from people with real experience. Call us if you have questions about the IR, or why you should use us on your IR closing.



Aviation closings are unique in many aspects.  No one closing is the same as the next. Whether the plane be brand new, or thirty years old each one is worthy of going through escrow, as escrow can afford protection and simplicity to all parties involved.


Your money stays with an informed neutral party, and you are assured clear title of the aircraft. The paying of liens and filing of the Bill of Sale will be done by the escrow company and transfer of ownership will occur very quickly with their desk at the FAA.  The documents will be correct the first time, so you won’t get a reject from the FAA and have to re-file or correct mistakes. If your aircraft is eligible for the IR it makes near necessary to close with an escrow company. Ultimately the cost is minimal, and the protection immeasurable.


When your funds come to an escrow company, the escrow company will ensure they are clear and safe to use. If your aircraft has a lien on it, then the escrow company will take care of getting the release and ensuring title is cleared upon the sale. The transfer of ownership documents will get filed immediately and you don’t be responsible if the aircraft is involved in an accident or illicit activities.

Bill of Sale

The first item to fill in is the price of the aircraft, where it says “For and in consideration of $___” To preserve he confidentiality of the transaction, the FAA will accept the phrase “$1 & OVC” (Other Valuable Considerations) in this spot, and most Bills of Sale are filled out in this fashion.

First, make sure the seller signs the Bill of Sale in exactly the same manner as is shown on your title search. Omitting a middle initial, for example, is not acceptable to the FAA, and can lead to title problems when you go to resell.

In the section for the buyers name/address, take care to see that you use the same name and title that you will be using for the registration. Under “title”, a private individual will use “owner”, while corporate purchasers will use “President” or other appropriate corporate title. Use caution here if you have a partner: the titles “partner” and “co-owner” mean very different things, and an uninformed buyer may unintentionally give his partner the right to sell the aircraft without his knowledge!

Once the seller has provided you with a Bill of Sale and all applicable lien release(s), and you have provided him with certified funds, the sale is complete. Your responsibility is to file the Bill of Sale according to the instructions on the form, along with the lien release(s). If you are financing the aircraft, this paperwork will be handled by your bank.

CAUTION- If you or the sellers bank fail to file the lien release, the FAA will still accept you as the new registered owner, but the lien will remain on file against your aircraft!


Aircraft Registration

Obtain form AC 8050-1, “Aircraft Registration Application”, from the FAA, and complete it according to the attached instructions. Retain the pink copy and place it in the airplane: it will serve as a temporary registration until you receive the permanent one in the mail.

Individual, Partnership or Incorporation

There are a lot of ways to register your aircraft. While simple individual ownership or partnerships are the most common ways to hold title to an airplane, there are alternatives. You may wish to place the airplane in a limited liability partnership or a corporation, which offers the owners some measure of protection from liability.

Corporate ownership of an airplane has one main advantage — it shields the principals from liability. I suggest a corporation which is set up to run the airplane business. You can be the sole shareholder, CEO, and only employee. The company is responsible for maintaining the airplane and paying for expenses incurred in its operation. Similarly, you are expected to pay the corporation for use of the airplane. It’s important to understand that you must be extremely careful in structuring the corporation and be certain that the entity has its own books — including credit cards and bank accounts — separate from your own. You must also abide by the myriad other legal and procedural requirements of a corporation, including shareholder meetings and payment of incorporation fees. You may also be required to file quarterly estimated taxes.

Incorporating as a Subchapter S Corporation, a very flexible type of incorporation, will allow many tax advantages. It will allow the shareholders to be taxed as though in a partnership, rather than in the sometimes-higher corporate tax bracket.

It is excellent advice to seek counsel before making the final decision on incorporation for your airplane purchase. Corporate rules vary by state, and it’s in your best interests to have a local expert do the legwork for you.



You should also have pre-arranged insurance for your new aircraft. This should be activated by phone or fax the moment that the Bill of Sale is signed.


Aircraft Documentation

  • Bill of sale, sales contract, and/or release of lien
  • Either FAA Form 8100-2, Standard Airworthiness Certificate, or FAA Form 8130-7, Special Airworthiness Certificate.
  • Log Books and Maintenance records containing the following information:
  1. The total time in service of the airframe, each engine, and each propeller;
  2. The current status of life limited parts of each airframe, engine, propeller, rotor, and appliance (s);
  3. The time since last overhaul of all items installed on the aircraft that are required to be overhauled on a specified time basis;
  4. The identification of the current inspection status of the aircraft, including the time since the last inspections required by the inspection program under which the aircraft and its appliances are maintained;
  5. The current status of applicable Airworthiness Directives (AD) including, for each, the method of compliance, the AD number, and revision date. If the AD involves recurring action, the time and date when the next action is required; and
  6. A copy of current major alteration to each airframe, engine, propeller, rotor, and appliance.
  • Equipment list, and weight and balance data.
  • Airplane Flight Manual or operating Limitations.


Don’t get emotional about the purchase. There are no steals — if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!