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2 Answers

Buying and selling planes as a private pilot

Asked by: 3133 views FAA Regulations

Suppose you are a private pilot, and own an airplane and wish to sell it. A prospective buyer wants to take it out and try it -- or perhaps even get the x hours in type his insurance company requires -- before he signs on the dotted line and flies it home.

If the buyer takes the plane out as the PIC, alone or with an instructor or with the owner as just a passenger, and pays the seller an hourly fee for the use of the plane, it looks like the seller has just run foul of the rules against offering his plane for charter or rent. If the buyer and seller go out together with the seller as PIC, and the buyer pays more than half the cost of the flight, it looks like the seller is flying for compensation.

Do people simply ignore this when they buy and sell their planes to each other? Is there an exemption for this that I am not seeing (e.g., paying someone for the right to inspect/flight test their plane for possible purchase is not the same as just paying someone to fly his plane)?

Does it matter if you only do it once -- selling a plane you've owned for personal use for some time -- as opposed to "flipping planes" the way some people buy, fix up, and then sell houses?




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2 Answers

  1. Matthew Waugh on Aug 03, 2012

    I’m not sure you’re very clear on the rules about renting aircraft. You can rent your aircraft all day long, you don’t need any special permission. Likewise, for the purposes of flight instruction, a flight instructor can also be hired to fly with the pilot(s).

    Of course the buyer should just buy the plane (and the seller should make them buy the plane) before they go wandering about the sky getting insurance experience. If the buyer wants to see the plane fly then the seller should take them flying (which is just you giving a nice person a ride in the plane). I think you are making this too complex and/or you are dealing with a dirtbag buyer who wants to log time in your plane, break it, and walk away.

    As to your last paragraph – the NUMBER of times you perform an illegal action can affect the punishment, but it doesn’t make the action any more or less illegal. Although it probably changes the odds of you being caught.

    A far BIGGER question is – do YOU have insurance coverage (nobody cares about the buyer, that’s their problem). If you rent the plane to somebody and they prang it, will your insurance cover this commercial operation?

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  2. Gordon Bower on Aug 03, 2012

    “You can rent your aircraft all day long, you don’t need any special permission.” …. I may well not be clear on the rules. I thought that if a plane was rented out, it became subject to the record-keeping requirements and 100 hour inspections rather than annuals (such that renting it out even once was a no-no unless it was less than 100 hours.) As well as the insurance requirements, of course.

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