Buying an airplane: escrow and hangers and stuff.

by w3woody

Just last week I finally came to an agreement with the seller of the airplane I’m looking to buy. It’s a nice Piper Arrow from 1974, complete with speed mods, a 430 (not WAAS), and an AM radio. (Okay, technically an ADF receiver.) It also has a nice 3-blade prop and the engine compressions in the logs seem to be excellent.

So we came to an agreement. The price we settled on was $62,500, and perhaps $1500 to $2500 more than I wanted to pay for the airplane–but then, I’ve never one to allow perfect to get in the way of good enough. There are a couple of minor niggles, naturally, for a 1974 airplane: the step is rusted (and I’ve already asked for it to be repaired or replaced), and the trim where the door meets the fuselage doesn’t look all that great. But by and large the airplane looks like it’s in great shape and has been well cared for (if the logs are to be believed) as well as hangered.

So yesterday I arranged a hanger at RDU, and dropped off a check and the paperwork for a TSA background check so I can actually drive onto the airport. The background check takes approximately 3 to 5 working days, so I should have a badge next week.

As to the hanger, it’s a very nice large hanger from Landmark Aviation, and the going rate is $490/month. (I got a discount by paying the entire first year’s rent all at once.)

Escrow and title was opened with AIC Title, which was recommended by one of the insurance companies I talked to. Their cost is around 1% of the purchase price of the airplane: around $625 in this case.

Now transferring title of the airplane–beyond money and a title search and title transfer, as well as registration in the great state of North Carolina, ‘natch–essentially requires the buyer to fill out form AC 8050-1, a tiny little carbon-paper based form which must be obtained in person from an FSDO (or can be mailed to you from an escrow company), which asks for the new owner’s name and signature, and form AC 8050-2, a bill of sale from the current owner, signed in ink.

Of course I’m getting the title search done; while everyone I’ve dealt with have been the nicest people I’ve encountered–trust but verify.

And of course the different airplane and purchase price (and hull value) means my insurance is slightly larger: it works out to be $1,250/year.

So on Friday I drive down to South Carolina for a second time to do the pre-buy inspection. I’ve opted to do an owner-assisted pre-buy inspection, which is where I get to spend an afternoon with the mechanic as we pour through everything with the airplane itself. I opted for this because I wanted to spend time looking at the aircraft and understanding it for myself.

And hopefully if the weather is good I’ll get a chance to actually fly the aircraft as well, as one of the conditions of sale. (To make sure the airplane flies true.)

And if all goes well, I plan to take posession of the airplane the following week, and arrange for a CFI in South Carolina to fly the airplane back to RDU, and I’ll give him a ride in my airplane (!) back to South Carolina.