How to Sell an Airplane

Do you fancy the newest aircraft model on the market? Or is it that you wish to experience new flying activities? Maybe you want to trade your current aircraft for a new one with a more significant, useful load.

Regardless of your intentions for selling your aircraft, you must do it right the first time. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 5,400 aircraft fly during peak hours daily. And the number can only go higher as more people purchase planes.

Because selling an aircraft is not an everyday walk in the park, we intend to make it easier by helping you get everything in order. But first, you must have all the airplane's warranties, maintenance records, AD compliance, certificates, logbooks, and everything else associated with the aircraft. 

Of course, as a devoted aviation lover, the next big step is to whet your potential buyer's appetite by getting your aircraft in a pristine state. Nothing entices a buyer more than seeing that faithful bird in tip-top shape.

At AirMart Aircraft Sales & Brokerage, we've created a guide below to help you sell an aircraft at top dollar.

Read on for tips on how to get started.

Understand the Aircraft Selling Process

Selling your aircraft – especially a one – is often a time-consuming and complex experience. Thus, it's advisable to enlist the services of experts like pre-buy specialists, aviation attorneys, aircraft brokers, and other associated professional organizations.

Here are the requisite sales steps:

1. Take Good Photos

Using a digital camera or smartphone, take good quality, high-resolution photos. Take close-up pictures of the avionics package, the panel, all the sides of the aircraft, and a few of the interior. 8 to 15 photos are sufficient.

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2. List the Equipment

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, creating a list of all the aircraft's noteworthy features, modifications, equipment, and avionics is advisable. This ensures that advertisers or prospective buyers have all the information they need when needed.

3. Keep a Record of the Hours
and Inspection Times

A prospective buyer wants to know the next inspection due date. You, therefore, must make it easy to get the records. Other crucial aspects to include in the list are:

  • Transponder and Pitot/Static tests
  • Propeller Time Since Overhaul
  • Engine Time Since Top Overhaul
  • Engine Time Since Overhaul (SMOH)
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Engineers Working With Airplane

4. Describe the Aircraft's Condition

One person's 9 could be another person's 5. When using a number to rate your aircraft, you should know that the National Aircraft Appraisers Association keeps the average rating at 5. Thus, using numbers like 8 or 9 means the aircraft is exceptional.

Another reason why there are fewer written descriptions is that an advertiser allows enough photos for potential buyers to make their judgment.

When you're with your plane, examine it objectively as you did when buying it. You'll want to be ready with honest answers when a potential buyer creates time to see it.

5. Digitize the Logbook

Potential buyers will ask for your logbooks. Prepare them in advance. We recommend you get a professional to do it for you.

Happy Pilot Travel Holiday Theme With Airplane

Which is Better, Broker or Selling It Yourself?

Engaging a broker like AirMart means dealing with someone more experienced in assessing the aircraft's value and selling. Brokers understand the aircraft's make and model and aim to get you the best price.

As a broker, AirMart's job involves listing the aircraft and using our network to find a potential buyer quickly. We assess the aircraft's value.

On the other hand, selling it yourself means you are personally responsible for listing, videoing, photographing, and correctness. However; you also gain the benefit of keeping the entire profit.


If engaging the services of a broker, you must validate the authorization of the broker selling the aircraft on your behalf with a written agreement. In addition, you should be well versed with the pre and post-sale payment arrangements.

Here's the world's best aircraft sales broker and dealer.

At AirMart Aircraft Sales & Brokerage, we pride ourselves on a vast buyer network looking to buy an aircraft like yours.

Broker Meeting Clients
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Doing it Yourself

As stated before, you can sell the aircraft all by yourself. The main advantage of this is you enjoy all the returns from the sale. However, there's a downside to this decision. You may experience challenges in validating a potential buyer and closing the deal.

Ensure such information is readily available in the description posts. Consider other listing options such as online forums, local FBO, and publications.

Crucial Steps to Follow

Whether you're engaging the services of a broker or selling yourself, there are vital initial steps you must follow:

  • Determine a fair market price.
  • Calculate the book value and trade value (comparing the price of a similar model in the aviation classifieds).
  • Establish the selling method, whether via a broker or a direct sale by the aircraft owner.
The Money Writes With White Chalk Is On Hand, Draw Concept.

Set a Realistic Asking Price After Obtaining the Aircraft Appraisal

Understanding the aircraft's accurate value helps you set realistic expectations of how much money to expect to earn from it. On most occasions, an aircraft sells close to market value, and you must understand that selling it may take longer owing to demand or lack thereof.

Additional equipment installed on the aircraft may add value, but depending on the circumstances, such additions may make the plane less desirable to other buyers.

It's also necessary to disclose the damage history. It may be a huge black eye in the face, but it doesn't mean it ruins the deal. Some buyers prefer aircraft with manageable damage history for personal use or charter at a lower cost. 

Once you review the aircraft's value and potential challenges, invite your broker, and you two can discuss the asking price. Let the broker know whether you wish for a quick sale or are willing to be patient to get the right buyer at the right price.

Jetliner Repair

Sell Your Aircraft

If you've advertised and appraised the aircraft well, then soon enough, you'll land some offers.

Arrange for aircraft views during the day in conducive weather. If the aircraft's in the hanger, bring it out to the sunshine and allow it to gleam. Ensure everything is working perfectly.

Finally, have a sales contract. Generally, this is what you should have in the agreement:

  • The aircraft's full description, plus all its equipment
  • Its delivery method (Where, when, how)
  • The total cost; The down payment, and arrangements to clear the balance
  • Escrow company to handle the down payment
  • The condition of the aircraft, if there are any known defects or if it's AD non-compliant
  • Seller recourse if buyer defaults on payment
  • Buyer recourse if aircraft isn't as indicated

Because of the amount of money involved, a well-drafted sales contract saves both the buyer and seller from a potential court face-off.

Fraud Protection

Like in every other industry, there are those hellbent on trying to steal assets. Beware of fraudulent people that pose as potential buyers. Perform your due diligence and do background checks on potential buyers.


Verify the potential buyer's pilot certifications on the FAA public database. Check their social media presence, confirm their profiles, review their history, and check their occupations.

Be on the lookout for indications of questionable information and see what's worth a second opinion from a dealer or broker.

Transfer of Funds

We recommend a bank wire transfer to send and validate the payment immediately. Beware of check and cash frauds.

Bill of Sale

Download the FAA Bill of Sale form or get it at the local Flight Standards District Offices near you. Having a buyer sign the bill of sale is one of the critical steps in the sales process.

You're required to have two of these forms, one for the seller's records and the other goes to the FAA.

Bill Of Sale
Insurance Coverage


Insurance is vital when transporting the aircraft. Different providers offer a wide range of policies during the transfer. Thus, make a point of understanding the insurance details in case an incident happens during the transfer.

Aircraft Transfer

At this point, you need to remove all your personal belongings from the aircraft. The transfer is the last step of the sale process.

  • Finalize the sale information at the back of the aircraft registration and send it over to the FAA registry for your safety. Validate the address information by calling the FAA at 1-866-762-9434.
  • Provide the aircraft's records and logs as required. Ensure you keep records of the copies.

Key Takeaways

Selling an aircraft may be a tedious process. Unless you approach it the right way, you'll likely experience lots of turbulence. With this guide, we hope we've shed enough light on what to expect at every stage of the process. When you follow the correct procedure as stipulated, your aircraft will sell fast and to the right audience.

AirMart Aircraft Sales & Brokerage has been operating for over 50 years and can help you make your sale with the utmost efficiency because we've been there, seen that, and done it. And the icing on the cake, we have a roaster of purchasers ready to purchase your plane.

Post your aircraft with us; we guarantee maximum buyer visibility and the best prices.