Most people would never dine and dash. If you sit down at a restaurant and eat a five course meal, you are going to pay your bill before leaving. It would be nice if that moral concept carried over into other professions. For instance, when you as an aircraft mechanic perform work on an aircraft, you want to get paid for your services. So when an aircraft owner stiffs you on your bill, your question is probably: “how can I get a lien on an aircraft?” Aircraft mechanics can assert a lien against an aircraft when he or she has not been paid for services performed on an aircraft such as repairs, maintenance, storage, etc.
First, what does an aircraft mechanic’s lien do for you? Once “perfected,” an aircraft mechanic’s lien impedes the aircraft and usually, although not always, prevents the aircraft owner from selling the aircraft without first obtaining a release from the lien claimant. Enforcement of an aircraft mechanic’s lien will likely bring about payment to the mechanic through either a foreclosure sale or the owner’s desire to retain a “clear title” for the aircraft. Nonetheless, before you as an aircraft mechanic can enforce a lien, you must make sure that your lien is properly established.
So, how can you get a lien on an aircraft via an aircraft mechanic’s lien? In order to “perfect” an aircraft mechanic’s lien, Federal law requires that a mechanic’s lien statement or claim be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration. Additional state requirements will need to be established depending upon what state you live in and what the lien statutes require within that state. Generally, a lien statement should be filed within 30 to 180 days from the last date that the mechanic performed work on the aircraft. A typical lien statement will include information such as the (1) identification of the aircraft by N-number and/or serial number; (2) make and model of the aircraft; (3) registered owner of the aircraft; (4) type of work performed; (5) last day of work; and (6) amount of the lien claim. Some states will even require that you still be in possession of the aircraft at the time of filing the lien statement. Although check with your specific state statutes and aviation attorney as to what should be included in your lien statement.
There is no need for you to lose money when you perform honest and good work. Often times, the use of an aircraft mechanic’s lien is the best thing for protecting your assets and business. If you feel like you should file a lien statement with the FAA or state agencies, call The Ison Law Group and we will walk you through the process. We are available toll-free at 1-855-LAW-1215.