Selling your airplane can be a daunting task. Sometimes Sellers have an emotional attachment to their airplane that makes it even harder to start the process. Usually there is a very logical reason for making the decision to sell, but that doesn't necessarily make it easier.
Here are things that need to be done. I have added my own thoughts to these steps, so please don't use this as an all-inclusive, absolute check list. If you are a member of AOPA, they have a great section on their website pertaining to buying and selling airplanes. You can find the information they offer to Sellers here: AOPA – Sellers .
The transfer of funds for the sale of your airplane is beyond the scope of this web page, so I am going to skip that part.
Once you have a deal, one of the first things to complete is an Aircraft Bill of Sale form. Be aware, when the Bill of Sale is signed is when the actual transfer of ownership takes place. Although it doesn't have to be the exact form, it is easiest to use the FAA form is 8050-2. These forms are readily available on the internet. Here is a link to the form offered from FAA.gov: Form 8050-2 . Be careful when you fill out the Bill of Sale. The Seller name has to be EXACTLY as shown on the current registration. If it isn't exact, the Aircraft Registration Branch will return it with a form letter telling you what needs to be changed to make it work. With a little attention to detail, this annoyance can be avoided. Here is a link to a page on my site that details each block of the Bill of Sale and my suggestions on how to fill in each item: Aircraft Bill of Sale – Form 8050-2 Suggestions. Be sure to make of copy of the completed Bill of Sale to keep for your records.
Don't forget to remove the FAA Registration Certificate from the airplane before you turn the airplane over to the new owner. The back of the Registration Certificate needs to be filled out and mailed to FAA registry. The address to send it to is on the back of the Certificate. I would highly recommend making of copy of the front and back of the Certificate before you mail it – just for your records.
Also remove the State Registration Certificate from the airplane and follow whatever instructions are on it to show the change of ownership. If you need to fill out information on the certificate to show the change and send it to the State Registration for your particular state, be sure to make a copy of it before you send it – just for your records.
Also, if you have a FCC radio station license, remove it also. You don't have to do anything with it, but you don't want it to go with the airplane. Just keep it in your file.
It is the buyer's responsibility to fill out the new registration form 8050-1 and have the pink copy as a temporary registration to fly the airplane. These forms must be an original multi-part Aircraft Registration Application AC Form 8050-1. They are available from the Aircraft Registration Branch or your local FSDO. If it is convenient to get a copy of this, it might be handy, but certainly not a requirement.
Another thing to address is the aircraft insurance. Don't forget to contact your insurance agent to make whatever changes necessary when you sell your airplane.
One last thought on selling your airplane. If you are selling an experimental or homebuilt, the Experimental Aircraft Association has a whole section on buying or selling a homebuilt here: Selling/Buying a Homebuilt . At the very least you will want to have some kind of waiver and release of liability from the buyer. EAA has such a document that is available here: EAA Proposed Waiver .
For details on my Brokering Services, please see this page of the site. If I can answer any questions for you – or if you are interested in more information about my Broker Services – please feel free to contact me either by chat (upper right corner of this page), by email or call me toll free at 877-209-7506. I always look forward to hearing from fellow aviators!