Aviation & Commercial Space

Since the establishment of the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aircraft Registry (FAA) in Oklahoma City more than 50 years ago, Crowe & Dunlevy has served the legal community regarding aviation counsel for clients.

The broad experience and knowledge of the Crowe & Dunlevy Aviation & Commercial Space Practice Group has resulted in a client list representing a who’s who of the aviation industry, including international air cargo carriers and airlines, domestic and international aircraft/helicopter manufacturers, internationally recognized lending institutions and operating lessors, fractional interest programs, corporate fleet flight departments and corporate and individual aircraft sellers and purchasers.

Our dedicated team of attorneys, paralegals and staff has a wealth of experience regarding the various issues involved in a range of aviation transactions and operational matters. This experience allows us to be proactive in avoiding potential transaction delays and providing valuable insight to our clients while achieving the most cost-effective and efficient closing process possible.

Crowe & Dunlevy aviation attorneys offer an array of legal services including:

  • Advising clients regarding FAA regulations and the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol
  • Issuing title and lien perfection opinions
  • Negotiating and drafting aircraft purchase documentation
  • Advising regarding clients’ aircraft use missions and legal operations structuring to achieve goals
  • Ownership and leasing (multiple dry leases, time sharing, joint ownership, fractional programs, management arrangements)
  • Tax matters – state sales and use tax planning, federal income tax consequences of both business and personal use, and executive compensation issues
  • Secured loans, operating and synthetic leases and other structured finance
  • Litigating disputes related to aircraft ownership, financing transactions and lien enforcement
  • Closing and escrow services

Funds Escrow Services

Crowe & Dunlevy has a well-established practice providing trusted and reliable funds escrow services with a flat fee structure. Such services strive to provide reassurance to all parties involved that the sale, purchase and payoff funds are handled in a professional, efficient and safe manner.

Transaction and Financing Documentation and Operational Advice

We regularly advise buyers, sellers, lenders and operators in transactions involving the sale, purchase, finance and operation of both new and preowned commercial, business and personal aircraft. We endeavor to align our clients’ air transportation objectives and the operating structures permitted by the sometimes conflicting legal principles and regulatory frameworks of corporate, tax and aviation laws and regulations. Our experience with commercial operators, managed aircraft and charter operations, dry leasing, time sharing, fractional interest ownership and many other air transportation arrangements enables us to comprehensively and efficiently implement client objectives before our clients encounter FAA scrutiny and fines or penalties, insurance coverage denials, or breaches of financing terms and conditions. In purchase and sale transactions, we routinely advise our clients regarding:

  • Term sheets and offers
  • Negotiation of definitive transaction documents, aircraft inspection, technical acceptance and discrepancies repair processes
  • Appropriate ownership and operating structures
  • Negotiation and drafting of inspection terms and delivery condition criteria
  • Negotiation of delivery terms and locations both to minimize transaction costs and manage undesirable tax consequences
  • Cross-border transaction issues and protocols

Our ultimate goal is to help our clients marshal all the negotiations, documents and legal and business considerations to close their transactions smoothly.

In assisting our aviation lending clients, we look to:

  • Assist in the negotiation of terms and development of deal structure
  • Prepare complete loan or lease document packages and assist with the closing of the transaction
  • Advise in the subsequent refinancing and securitizations that often follow initial aircraft acquisition
  • Negotiate and draft appropriate maintenance, operating lease return or other end-of-term requirements and conditions
  • Incorporate adequate insurance and risk allocation and indemnification provisions
  • Anticipate and resolve potential impediments or delays to achieve smooth, cost-effective closings
  • Protect and prioritize security interests in aircraft collateral by arranging all FAA filings, International Registry registrations and UCC filings

Commercial Space Services

Commercial space operations are expanding across the globe. Entrepreneurs and governmental entities are investing time and capital in this exciting enterprise. Some of the world’s finest business and scientific minds are hard at work expanding the horizon for suborbital and orbital flight opportunities, medical research capabilities, mineral and resource exploration, and commercial human spaceflight.

The existing legal and regulatory framework within which commercial space stakeholders operate can be complicated. Crowe & Dunlevy is well prepared to provide strategic advice and legal counsel to stakeholders at all levels of commercial space commerce including:

  • Airport and Spaceport licensing, grant application, contracts, real estate acquisitions, land use, wildlife mitigation and environmental compliance issues
  • FAA license and permit application review regarding launch and re-entry
  • Space natural resources consulting
  • FAA Office of Commercial Space (FAA/AST) safety approval applications
  • FAA/AST launch and re-entry license preapplication consultation
  • FAA National Airspace System (NAS) integration issues
  • Human spaceflight informed consent and risk assumption issues
  • Aviation and aerospace labor and employee relations issues
  • Federal aviation and aerospace policy and regulatory review

Aviation Litigation

Crowe & Dunlevy has a long history of representing clients in disputes involving aviation matters. The firm has represented clients in a wide variety of disputes, including:

  • Buyers and sellers in failed aircraft transactions
  • Aircraft and engine manufacturer disputes
  • Owner disputes relating to aircraft product failures
  • Financial institutions in disputes relating to aircraft financing transactions and recovery and disposition of aircraft securing loans in default
  • Collections for repair and upgrade services provided

Contact us for more information regarding aviation and commercial space matters.

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