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How to pay the seller of an aircraft

In practical terms how would you pay for an aircraft that is not being sold through a broker? When I bought my previous aircraft I just transferred the money and got sent the logbooks. But the sum of money being paid was low enough that whilst I would have been upset to be cheated of it, it would not have changed my life if I’d lost it either.

I’ve inherited some money and I’m looking at various aircraft that are a little more valuable – perhaps 50K£ or so.

Presumably one could involve a solicitor as when buying a house. What puts me off is not so much the inevitable cost, but the probable need to make appointments and whether it might put a seller off.

One could also presumably take the seller into the bank, organise a bank transfer, and be handed over the logbooks and get the CAA transfer of ownership letter handed over in the same room at the same time.

Obviously one would need to be certain the person you’re dealing with is actually the true owner… Ask them to bring a passport and bank cards..?

Any other practicalities or potential scams I haven’t thought of?

I found this gem on the CAA website: “If the aircraft is the subject of an irrevocable de-registration and export request authorisation (”IDERA") this must be revoked before the aircraft can be re-registered."

People are generally more honest than you give them credit for. The scams are few and the ones you hear alot about. Lots of airplanes are bought and sold with no fuss. There is no need to get a solicitor.

- Establish who owns the airplane
- Establish no mortgage or lien exists
- Get your pre purchase inspection done
- Agree a price
- Pay a deposit (EFT/Bank Draft/Cash)
- Sign an aircraft purchase agreement
- Collect the aircraft on agreed date
- Pay balance (EFT/Bank Draft/Cash)
- Seller signs registration document
- Seller signs bill of sale
- Seller hands over docs, keys and possession of aircraft
- You fly home

I have often bought airplanes sight unseen, and paid for them before ever seeing them. I’m at it all the time so sometimes I win and the odd time I loose.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EIBR, Ireland

I’ve used the same escrow services for all my purchases. I can recommend them highly – Kim Thompson at Powell Airtitle in Oklahoma. I’m sure they do international as well.


Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 18 Feb 22:55

One thing is to list everything to be included e.g. which exact logbooks and other paperwork which you saw on the prebuy, and these must be delivered.

I don’t think you can fully guard against a clever scammer but I am sure they are very rare.

Aircraft, like cars and houses generally, are sold “as seen” so there is no warranty other than where explicit warranties were made e.g. “I have never had a single avionics failure” and getting these in writing might be a good idea, depending on what they are.

Based on what I hear fairly often, you do need to be on the lookout for a “reduced amount of truth” in some areas, because people tend to sell planes, cars and houses for the same reasons

As to how you actually pay, in the old days you would bring a bank draft (an irrevocable cheque drawn on a bank, not a person, and these still exist) and hand it over. Today you can do a bank transfer from a laptop, and the seller has the money almost immediately.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Can you transfer such large amounts of money instantaneously? I thought that for anything over 10K you needed a SEPA transfer which in my limited experience often seems to take rather longer than it should.

Last Edited by kwlf at 18 Feb 22:59

From Barclays site

So you can spend your 50k fairly easily

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I could not get HSBC to allow me to transfer more than £10K/day when I sold my UK house.

I’m with HSBC, though thinking of changing at some point. My limit is 10K. I think there may be higher limits if you are transferring within the same bank.

Out of sheer curiosity I just checked my HSBC (UK) accounts and limits are GBP25k / day within UK, 50k internationally, 200k within my accounts. I doubt very much that I’m richer than you guys!

For my most recent purchase, after reviewing the FAA title and maintenance records myself (downloaded electronically by an IA), and after an extensive pre-buy inspection by A&P friends, and with them having the plane, hard copy maintenance logbooks since new, and other data already in their hangar, I paid with $100 bills.

The problem with cashiers cheques, bank drafts etc today is that they are relatively easy to fake.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 19 Feb 01:21
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