How to
Buy an Aircraft

Step 1:
Choose the Make/Model
that is Right for You

Step 2:
Get Pre-Qualified
for Financing

Step 3
Shop Around

Step 4
Research Your Aircraft

Step 5
Put Deposit on Plane/
Open Escrow Account

Step 6
Pre-Purchase Inspection

Step 7
Verify the Aircraft
has a Clean Title

Step 8
Get a Quality
Insurance Policy

Step 9
Arrange Final Payment

Step 10
Closing Paperwork

Step 11
Pick Up your plane/
Schedule Delivery

Printable Version

Aircraft Buyer's Checklist

Step 4:   Research Your Aircraft
Gather all information related to your aircraft including, a complete list of specifications, photos, maintenance history, damage history, etc. Knowing the history of an aircraft is essential. All maintenance should be complete and well documented. Airplanes with missing records or major damage may still be good, but they are usually worth less and you may want to speak with a broker to determine value in a situation like this.

When buying a plane, the owner/seller should be willing to provide you with all the information you request. You can also do a little research on your own.

Resources to Help You Run a free aircraft background investigation including NTSB and FAA accident reports.

Order Aircraft Records: You can get copies of all 337s and the chain of aircraft ownership for an individual aircraft directly from the FAA. You will need the aircraft registration number and serial number to process the order. You can expect to receive a CD-ROM in the mail in a week to 10 days, unless the FAA is currently updating the file. If you need this information quicker, some Title and Escrow companies can retrieve the data within a day or two and email or fax it to you. The FAA charges $10 for this service, title companies will charge more but it may be worth it.

Google: It is always a good idea to type the aircraft registration number of the plane you are going to buy into a search engine like google. Occasionally you will find accident reports that for some reason didn't show up on the search or past owners talking about the history of the aircraft, which can be useful.

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