How to Ship a Cessna Overseas


One look out onto the waterfront of Port Vancouver and you’ll notice a scene dotted by seaplanes and other small aircraft transporting visitors and commuters to and from our other surrounding ports and landing strips. The chances are that you are looking at a Cessna, perhaps a 172, an Amphibian model, or some other small craft variety in their expansive inventory. Perhaps not. The point being is that most people associate the brand with small planes and many transport and tour companies use them in their course of business. In port cities across the world these North American made planes are in demand by like businesses. With Greater Vancouver being a major North American port city that ships overseas to everywhere from Hawaii to Australia to various Asian shorelines, it is no strange sight to see a Cessna or other small aircraft being prepared for shipping along our harbors. If you are preparing for or considering the prospect of shipping a small plane overseas we are here to answer a few questions to help wrap your mind around the seemingly daunting concept.

How to Ship a Cessna or Other Small Plane Overseas

1. Export Requirement Checklist (when exporting from Canada)

If your plane is registered in Canada you need to do the following before export:

  • Remove Canadian nationality and registration marks from its hull
  • Remove its mark plate and aircraft Mode “S” Transponder address code (where applicable)
  • Ensure that the Civil Aviation department of Transport Canada de-registers the plane and visit their website page here for further detailed information on the specific matter.

2. Documentation and Paperwork

The semantics will vary depending upon where you are shipping the aircraft from but when exporting from North America the general rules remain about the same. You will need Export Certificate of Airworthiness for certain. Then, before the recipient on the other side of the world (or wherever) can get their own registration papers themselves your de-registration (discussed above) documents must be made available. In addition, as with any overseas transaction where exports are in play a Bill of Sale (proof of ownership being transferred) for the plane must be provided.

3. Background Check of the Recipient?

When it comes to aircraft, no matter the size of the Cessna (or similar plane), you want to cover yourself if it is being exported in a seller to buyer relationship. The U.S. calls the shots when it comes to certain individuals that can or cannot own or operate an airplane and so you will want to run the names of your potential customers through the Bureau’s Denied Persons List. In today’s sensitive global climate it is much better to be safe than sorry. If you’re selling to someone who is selling the plane to a third party you will really want to protect yourself via the sales contract to ensure that they are not turning around and selling it to someone on the aforementioned list or to an embargoed country (or a national of that same origin) while leaving a paper trail back to you.

4. Refer to the “Transportation Department” of the Receiving Country

Thus far you can see that there is a significant amount of paper work and homework that needs to be done before you can even consider the physical process of exporting the small plane from your point of origin. In the same manner that we suggest that you study the online information for the Civil Aviation department of Transport Canada it is a good idea to do the same for the country where you are shipping the plane to, from an exporters perspective.

5. Dismantling and Containerization

Finally we get to the goods, the nitty gritty of it all. Once you’re ready to have your Cessna (or the like) shipped you’ll need to know that it will be dismantled and containerized according to international cargo standards. During the dismantling all lines, hoses, wires and cables need to be explicitly capped and labeled. The wings, panels, fairings, and wheel parts must be wrapped professionally with component appropriate padding and also clearly labeled. Everything needs to be done in a manner than makes both customs inspection and reassembly overseas go without a hitch. When it comes to aircraft it goes without saying that the shipment cannot leave harbor without first being placed into the hands of an industrial level packing and crating company that specializes in preparing aircraft for overseas shipping. This is where Cratex Group comes into the mix for those of you exporting an aircraft from the Greater Vancouver area. Whether shipping a helicopter or a Cessna, we encourage you to contact Cratex Group today.