Those who do mechanical work in the aviation industry often don’t receive full payment in advance. Instead, they trust that the owner of a plane will pay the bills when they finish the work.
Getting a plane back to the point where it can pass FAA inspections can sometimes be a challenge. You may have expected only to spend a day or a few hours on a particular plane, only to have it consume much more of your time and energy.
If an owner doesn’t pay you in full and on time, you can ask for a lien against the plane on which you did the work. If the owner still does not pay you, you may need to enforce the lien.
What does enforcing an aviation lien entail?
Usually, a lien just means you can count on repayment when the owner sells or refinances the plane, but sometimes they decide to try to wait out the lien and still refuse to pay. If you have a lien already recorded against an aircraft that you have worked on and the owner has failed to make payments, you may be able to foreclose on the plane because of the debt. This foreclosure process will involve the civil courts and will take several months, if not longer, to complete.
If successful, foreclosing on the lien can effectively force the owner to sell or refinance the plane to redeem it. Other times, you may be given ownership of the aircraft as a way to recoup your losses. Obtaining or enforcing an aviation lien can be difficult, but it can help ensure that you get paid for your work and the money you spent on parts.