What to do when transferring aircraft ownership

transferring aircraft ownership

If you’re in the market for a turboprop or twin engine aircraft, or you’re in the process of buying one, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you’re transferring aircraft ownership. There are certain paperwork processes that should be followed, as well as items that you should look out for so you can be confident that you’re getting the best deal.

Pre-purchase Inspection

At Winner Aviation, we strongly recommend a pre-purchase inspection to ensure the aircraft is in top shape. We tailor pre-purchase evaluations to the individual aircraft and leave no stone unturned. Pre-purchase inspections typically include paperwork review, airframe general condition inspections, engine visual inspections, empennage review, wing inspections, and avionics inspections to ensure all installed equipment is operating properly.

A pre-purchase inspection isn’t required to purchase an aircraft, but it’s certainly advisable so you understand the full scope of the health and airworthiness of your aircraft.

Transferable Programs

The aircraft you’re looking to purchase likely has programs attached to it. For example, if you’re purchasing a King Air, the engines may be on a warranty program. You’ll want to ensure the program transfers alongside the purchase and that, if there are any transfer fees, they are discussed up front and negotiated as part of the aircraft cost. The same applies with any warranty programs associated with any avionics installed on the aircraft.

Transferable Subscriptions

Similarly, the avionics systems may have subscriptions attached to them and you’ll want to ensure that they also transfer. Most of the time, it’s the new owner’s responsibility to purchase a specific subscription that they want. However, if an avionics component has a few months left on the previous owner’s annual subscription, you can negotiate the transfer of that subscription.

Look out for liens

If there are any liens on the aircraft, you will want to know about them immediately. It’s advisable to hire a title company to research liens, title, and history ahead of making a purchase. If there does happen to be a lien on the aircraft, you can negotiate that the seller pays off the lien prior to resell.

It’s important to be just as diligent with the engines, as well. Engines titles are listed separately from the aircraft, so make sure the title company is researching engine titles as well to ensure there are no liens on the engine.


It’s incredibly important that all aircraft maintenance records and logbooks get transferred with the aircraft. This includes airframe logbooks, engine logbooks,propeller logbook, aircraft specific wiring diagrams and any STCs that have been performed on the aircraft. With STCs in particular, they are sometimes difficult documents to obtain after the work has been done, which could become a hassle for you, the purchaser. Any work that has been done to the aircraft in terms of modifications should be documented and passed along to the new owner.

FAA and ELT Registrations

You’ll want to make sure the FAA registration is current on the aircraft. Re-registering is required every 3 years, so maintaining that schedule will be important post-purchase. ELT registration is also important to ensure the emergency equipment is up-to-date and clearly documented. ELT re-registration is required every 12 months.

Extra Equipment

Also ask if the current owner has purchased any additional equipment for the aircraft. For example, oftentimes owners will purchase an extra set of wheel assemblies to have on hand. Ask the owner as you’re negotiating a purchase to ensure those components and materials get transferred with the aircraft.

Let Winner Aviation handle your pre-purchase inspection

Let Winner Aviation handle the pre-purchase inspection on the aircraft you’re considering. We want you to be as informed as possible going into such a large purchase and financial decision, and a thorough inspection will help. Contact us today for a quote on a pre-purchase inspection.

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