A lien is the right to enforce property possession when a debt is owed. When it comes to aircraft, it's possible to impose a lien on an airplane if the owner is indebted to another person for a mechanic's service, fuel costs, or some other issue. Sapling explains how aviation liens work so you can rest assured that your debt will be honored.
The first step involves filing a civil suit. This is a common way to recoup debt for a number of circumstances, including contract disputes and debt owed on other types of property. Your ability to later file a lien will typically depend on the success of your case. If a judge finds your claim to be legitimate, the other party will be ordered to repay the money owed to you. That doesn't mean you should file the lien right away, however. It's best to allow the person some time to see if the debt is paid, and the court usually provides a timeframe in which the debt will need to be paid. If it remains unpaid after the deadline, you can move onto the next step.
The process for filing a lien involves filling out a form and paying a fee within the jurisdiction where the original civil suit was filed. This usually takes place at the county recorder or county clerk, although it typically depends on where you live. The type of lien will vary depending on the issue that occurred. For example, if you're filing a mechanic's lien you'll need to use a specific form for that purpose.
Next, you'll need to contact the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to register the lien. After paying a $5 fee, the lien is then registered with the FAA, which prevents the aircraft owner from making a sale until the debt is paid. While some states don't allow for aviation liens to be recorded, Texas does honor this process.