If you make a living servicing aircraft, it is reassuring to know that you have legal recourses available if someone fails to pay you for work.
One option you have is to place an aviation lien on the aircraft. It is crucial to do this correctly following state and federal laws. Otherwise, you could lose your chance to reclaim what the owner of the plane owes you.
Perfecting a lien legitimizes your claim on an aircraft
You might think you can refuse to release the aircraft and tell the owner you have placed a lien on it. However, this could lead to problems. You must correctly register your aviation lien for it to become legal. Texas law requires you to submit your lien to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aircraft registry within 180 days of the last service you provided. These are the details you must give:
- Your name and contact details
- Name and contact details of the owner
- Details of the aircraft
- Details of the money owed
Most aircraft owners will not be happy if you place a lien on their plane. They may mount a legal challenge to dispute your lien and have it removed. Typically they will look for filing errors, contest whether you carried out the work or challenge the price charged. Take care if there are disagreements about pricing or services provided. Make sure your sums are correct. Otherwise, they may accuse you of intentionally overcharging.
Finally, you must sign the lien document and pay the appropriate fee. It is best to seek legal help to perfect your aircraft lien and ensure it will hold up. Otherwise, you could see your chances of payment disappearing into the sky and evaporating like vapor trails.