Placing a lien on property can be an effective way to get a debtor to pay you money that he owes you. When the debtor owns an aircraft, putting a lien on it may make it impossible for him to sell the aircraft without paying you first. If you're a mechanic and work on the aircraft in some capacity, you may place a mechanic's lien on it. You may also place a lien on the aircraft if the owner owes you money.
File a civil lawsuit against the individual who owes you money. Once you file the lawsuit, the creditor needs to appear in court. In court, you argue your case; if you have a legitimate debt, the court issues a judgment in your favor.
Allow the creditor enough time to voluntarily pay the judgment. States typically have a minimum amount of time that you must wait before you can try to collect the judgment.
File a lien against the airplane using the judgment. This may be done in the local jurisdiction where the judgment was provided by the court. You typically have to pay a filing fee and fill out a form to create the judgment lien.
Perfect a mechanic's lien against the aircraft if you work on the aircraft or provided some type of service to it. "Perfecting" is the term used to refer to recording and registering the aircraft lien in the appropriate manner. Fill out a mechanic's lien form with your local government and pay a filing fee. The agency that you work with may vary by state or county; often, you file with the county recorder or clerk's office. This process is basically the same process as completing a judgment lien — it's simply a different type of lien.
Register the lien with the Federal Aviation Administration. Send the original claim of lien and a $5 fee, as of the time of publication. The FAA then records the lien and sends you a form to show that you have a lien on the aircraft. If you live in a state that doesn't record liens against aircraft, you can't record it with the FAA.
If you fail to register the lien with the FAA, you may not be able to legally enforce it.