FAA paperwork for Aircraft Purchase and Sale
Answered By AOPA

The Pilot Information Center gets questions on the topic of paperwork for aircraft purchase and sale continuously. I didn't find a post on here covering the topic, so here goes:

The first document needed for a transaction is the 8050-1 Aircraft Registration Application. This form is the responsibility of the buyer/new owner. You'll want to print out 2 copies of this form. The reason that you need 2 of these is because one gets sent to the FAA, the other goes in the aircraft and serves as your temporary registration for up to 90 days while you wait for the FAA to process your paperwork. You will want to ensure that both of these forms have real signature on it (no copies). Processing this application with the FAA requires you to pay a $5 fee, and should be included in your mailing (check or money order made payable to the FAA, no cash).

The second document needed for a transaction is the 8050-2 Aircraft Bill of Sale. This form is usually the responsibility of the seller. It has both the buyers and sellers information on it, but the seller is the one that needs to sign it. Only one of these need to be sent to the FAA, but it again, must have a real signature on it (no copies).

The third document needed for a transaction is the 8050-3 Certificate of Aircraft Registration. This is typically the responsibility of the seller and the reason there's no link to this document is because it is the current registration carried in the aircraft now. The seller should flip registration over and fill out the back of it, checking the appropriate boxes, filling out the required information, and signing it. Again, the original of this document needs to be sent to the FAA, no copies.

When buying and aircraft and registering it in your name, as an individual, this is all the documentation that is needed to be sent to the FAA. All of this paperwork can be sent to the FAA in a single envelope, there is no need for it to be sent in separately, but it can be if you like. At the end of the day you will have this in your envelope:

  • 8050-1 Aircraft Registration Application
  • 8050-2 Aircraft Bill of Sale
  • 8050-3 Certificate of Aircraft Registration
  • $5 check or money order made payable to the FAA.

Some general recommendations

  • Copies of all the paperwork should be made and kept for your records.
  • Send you paperwork to the FAA in a way that it can be tracked (receipt requested, certified mail, etc)
    • This way you can be sure of the date that the FAA received it and that it actually got there.

The address that this paperwork should be sent to can be found in the lower right hand corner of the 8050-1 instruction sheet. I've list them below as well.

  • USPS/Mail
  • Courier (FedEx, UPS, etc)

The above information is for the simplest version of the paperwork. There are several scenarios out there where additional paperwork will be needed when registering an aircraft into an entity or when different circumstances exist when selling an aircraft. Here are some additional resources for registering and selling an aircraft:

There's tons of unique questions and situations when it comes to this paperwork and the above is meant to get most of the common information needed in one place. I also wanted to open a topic for questions that members may have on this topic and a resource moving forward.


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AOPA Staff Answer
Just as a reminder, you can always call the Pilot Information Center with your questions on this or any other topic, 1-800-USA-AOPA (872-2672). And if you subscribe to AOPA's Pilot Protection Services you do have coverage on your plan for aircraft purchase and sale. Please use the resources you have access to through AOPA, we're here to help.