Ask Pete!

by Pete Schoeninger

Email your questions to

Question: My aircraft is due for a major overhaul or replacement. If I bite the bullet and rebuild or replace the engine, then sold the plane, will I recoup my investment, or would I be better off selling the plane when it reaches TBO (time between overhaul) and not rebuilding or replacing the engine?

Answer: Many people think they should sell their airplane when their engine is due for overhaul or rebuild because they don’t think they will “get their money back” if they pay for an overhaul. I disagree because an airplane with a run-out engine will usually not sell to an individual buyer. A prospective new owner does not want the expense, and especially the hassle, of laying up his new plane for an engine overhaul or exchange, so the most likely buyer of an airplane with a run-out engine will eventually be a dealer of some sort, who will redo the engine and then try and sell the package for a profit.

The airplane with a “fresh” engine will be attractive to more buyers, but not all. A buyer who is thinking he will put 100 hours per year on an engine would be hard pressed to justify the expense of an airplane with a fresh engine, when he could spend $15,000 less and buy a similar airplane with a half-time engine.

You can go online and find various quotes for engine overhauls and rebuilds. But don’t forget to add several thousand dollars to that figure for things like engine accessories, motor mounts, various hoses, baffling, maybe 30-40 hours of labor, and sales tax. Also, if your prop hasn’t been overhauled in awhile, you should consider that too.

Question: Can I change aircraft ownership online?

Answer: No, because an original signature in ink is required from the seller. The most common document to do this is a form AC 8050-2 Bill of Sale. That form can be downloaded with instructions from  It is VERY IMPORTANT that the seller copy information of ownership exactly as it appears on the current certificate of registration to the new bill of sale, or else the FAA will return the paperwork. Example: an airplane owned by Dave Smith can only be sold by Dave Smith, not David Smith, or Dave J. Smith. Another VERY IMPORTANT thing for the seller to do is to remove the current certificate of registration and sign and date the back and mail it to the FAA as indicated on the form. This protects the seller should the new owner fail to send in sale/ownership information.

Question: I can’t find an aircraft registration application form (8050-1) online to download?

Answer: That is correct…the form is not available online. For that form you need an original, available at some FBOs, and always available at your local FAA Flight Standards District Office.

This entry was posted in Aircraft, April/May 2014, Ask Pete, Columns and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply