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Do an aircraft search

Buying aircraft comes with risk - doing a $2 search on the PPSR can help you check if the plane, helicopter, glider or other type of aircraft you're buying is recorded as debt free. It can help protect you from the risk of having the property repossessed.

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Why do a PPSR aircraft search?

It's a good idea to always check the PPSR before you buy a plane or other types of aircraft.

When you do a search, it will tell you if the aircraft you're about to buy has a security interest registered against it meaning there could be money owing on it. If you buy an aircraft with money owing and the seller stops making repayments, the person who is owed the debt, (such as a bank), may be able to repossess the aircraft from you.

You’ll also get a search certificate which you can use as a legal record of your results.

Note: Security interests in aircraft may also be registered under the ‘Cape Town Convention’.

Types of aircraft search you can search for

A PPSR aircraft search covers many types of aircraft, including:

  • power-driven aeroplanes
  • rotorcraft (e.g. helicopters)
  • gliders
  • hot air balloons
  • motor-gliders
  • airships.

What a PPSR search costs

A search can be done two ways:

  • Online self-service: $2.00
  • Assisted phone service: $7.00

You can pay using a credit card or debit card.

What you need to do a search

To do an aircraft search, you’ll need:

  • a credit or debit card
  • the type of aircraft you're searching for, this could be either:
    • aircraft engine
    • airframe
    • small aircraft or
    • helicopter
  • the serial number of the aircraft, this could be either:
    • the nationality and registration mark or
    • manufacturer's number.

Serial number

A serial number is used to identify an aircraft. It can be either:

  • the nationality code and registration mark for small aircraft or
  • the manufacturer’s number for an aircraft engine, airframe or helicopter. The manufacturer's number does not include the manufacturer's generic model description.

It’s important to use the right serial number when you do your search. The search won’t give you a description of the aircraft – it will only tell you if there’s a security interest registered against the serial number you entered. If you don’t use the right serial number, you could get information about the wrong aircraft.

For more information about aircraft serial numbers visit the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

What's not included in an aircraft search

Identifying details of the aircraft

When you do an aircraft search on the PPSR, your search doesn't return any identifying details of the aircraft, such as the make, model or registration status like it does for a PPSR car search. This means you need to be careful when entering the serial number as you won't be able to cross check the information to confirm you've searched for the right aircraft.

Searches registered against the grantor

Sometimes a security interest is registered against the person giving the security interest rather and the aircraft itself. Therefore, they won't show up in a PPSR aircraft search. These would be registered against the individual or organisation. As this could be the person or organisation selling the aircraft, you may want to do a search against them as well as your aircraft search.

To find out how, see Individual search and Organisation search.

Stolen or damaged aircraft

Your search won’t tell you if the aircraft you are looking to buy is stolen or has been badly damaged. For more information, check with the the civil aviation authority or contact the police in your state or territory for information regarding it's stolen status.

When to search

You should do a PPSR search on the day you intend to buy the aircraft - the closer you search to the time of purchase the better. This means you’ll get the most up-to-date information and you'll be further protecting yourself from the risk of repossession. See Purchaser protections for more information about the protection a PPSR search offers.

The person selling the aircraft might give you a search certificate. You can verify this online for free, although you may consider doing a new search for $2 to make sure you're protected as the search results won't be updated.

To find out how to do this see Get a copy of a search result.

Start your PPSR aircraft search now

How to do an aircraft search

You don't have to have a PPSR account to do an aircraft search. However, if you do have one you can log into your account before you start.

To do a PPSR aircraft search, go to the PPSR aircraft search page, then:

  1. Select the type of aircraft you're searching for.
  2. Enter the serial number (either the nationality and registration mark or manufacturer's number).
  3. If you'd like to include a reference number for your own records, enter this in the Client billing reference field.
  4. Review your search criteria and if it's correct select Next.
  5. Enter your payment details. You can pay by credit or debit card.
  6. Enter your email address to be sent the tax invoice. Select Next.
  7. You'll now see a Search result summary. Select View certificate to download and open your search certificate and find your detailed search results. You can also select Email certificate to have the search results emailed to you.
  8. Save your search certificate somewhere safe. This is your legal record of your search.

Your search results

When you’ve done your search, you’ll get a PPSR search certificate. This will show you all the security interests registered on the PPSR against the serial number you’ve searched for. The PPSR search certificate is a legal record.

The certificate can be emailed to you or viewed on screen and saved as a PDF. You can get a copy of your search certificate at a later date at no additional cost.

No PPSR registrations

Look at your search certificate under the heading ‘PPSR Registration Details’:

If your certificate says:

‘There is no security interest or other registration kind registered on the PPSR against the serial number in the search criteria details.

This means no one has a current registered security interest on the PPSR against the serial number you searched for.

PPSR registrations

If your certificate shows any ‘PPSR registration’ details, this means someone has registered their security interest on the PPSR. This means someone claims to have an interest in the aircraft, such as money still owing.

The details of the secured party who have the interest will appear here. The PPSR won't tell you the value of any security interests or debts.

If you'd like more information about the security interest, you can contact the seller directly or the secured party using the address for service details provided on the certificate.

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