Clear title means there is no unreleased chattel mortgage, security agreement, tax lien, artisan lien, or similar document on record against an aircraft. FAA aircraft records contain any liens, security documents, and releases filed with the Aircraft Registration Branch and found to meet recording requirements.
State law determines lien and security interests. Although there is no federal requirement to file lien or security instruments with FAA, the parties to these transactions can file their qualifying documents with FAA's Aircraft Registration Branch.
You may review the aircraft records on your own, or have this done by an attorney or aircraft title search company. Several firms that perform aircraft title searches and related services can be found on the internet. The FAA does not perform title searches.
What We Do — When a Lien is Recorded
When a security agreement or lien document is recored, we send a Conveyance Recordation Notice, AC Form 8050-41, to the secured party. This notice describes the affected aircraft (and other eligible collateral like engines, propellers and air carrier spare parts locations. It also identifies the recorded document by its date, the parties, the FAA recording number, and date of recordation. This recordation notice is sent as our confirmation that the lien has been recorded and added to the aircraft record.
To Release a Recorded Lien
The Conveyance Recordation Notice, AC Form 8050-41, may be used as a release if the secured party signs below the release statement and returns the form to the Aircraft Registration Branch.
We may also accept as a release a document that describes the affected collateral, specifically identifies the lien, and contains a statement releasing all the lien holders rights and interest in the described collateral from the terms of the identified lien. The release document must be signed in ink by the secured party and show the signers title as appropriate.
A new Conveyance Recordation Notice form may be requested. Contact the Aircraft Registration Branch at 1 (866) 762-9434. You will need to describe the aircraft and the lien document sufficiently to identify the specific document needing release.
For more information, review Information to Aid in the Recording of Aircraft Ownership and Security Documents (PDF) or contact the Aircraft Registration Branch.