Donald Trump Pulls Sleight of Hand to Legally Fly His Plane Again

A week ago I shared Donald Trump’s failure to keep the registration up to date on his Cessna.

The lapsed paperwork suggested three possible scenarios.

  • “Mr. Trump’s plane could be grounded for days, or even months, while the issue is sorted out.”

  • “In the event of an accident, the company that insures the jet could cite the lapsed registration to decline any claims.”

  • “The F.A.A. could also fine or assess other penalties against the owner, the operator or both…a civil penalty of up to $27,500, a criminal fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for up to three years”

Cessna 750 Citation X

Registration costs $5 for 3 years, but Trump let his plane’s lapse on January 31. The 1997 Cessna 750 Citation X is frequently used for campaign events that require the candidate to land at smaller airports, and was flown recently to Plattsburgh, Buffalo, and Hartford. After press accounts of Trump continuing to fly on the aircraft, the FAA grounded the plane.

Now the plane is back in the air thanks to some sleight of hand: Donald Trump sold the plane to himself.

On Friday, the plane was registered to a new owner, DT Endeavor I, according to records kept with the F.A.A. DT Endeavor I is a limited liability company that was registered in Delaware in early January, and is controlled by Mr. Trump.

He then submitted a new registration from the new company, a move that cleared the way for the Cessna to fly almost immediately.

Processing expired registrations can literally take months. SAD!

However when a plane is sold, the new owner can get an immediate temporary registration.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Must be nice to claim the system is corrupt and then go out on a daily basis and game the system. Is he going to pull this same garbage if he becomes president? Basically the little guy is screwed it’s only people like him or Carl Icahn who are going to benefit.

  2. The system is screwed up when it takes months to renew an airplane registration. Resourceful people find a way to get the job done. Other people complain and say they are “victims” of ‘”the system.” Good for Trump.

  3. Trump is the biggest danger to this country EVER. And his moronic supporters don’t even know it.

    Whether his xenophobic supporters realize it or not, the US makes up only 5% of the world. Yes 5%. It needs to fit in with the global community.

    A good leader builds bridges, trade and alliances to further good in his country and relationships worldwide. Not the opposite… Destroying relationships, good will and the image of his country.

    He is a bully, an ignorant human being, a trash talking childish, hypocritical, uninformed narcasstic Nazi, who has a massive superiority complex.

    If Trump does find a way to snag the top job as leader of the free world… Seriously we are all screwed. I for one will be leaving. Not just talk, I will pack up my family and leave. Yes I am a United States citizen.

    Trump and your supporters…. You honestly turn my stomach, I despise you and what you supposedly stand for.

  4. Andy

    Please move…. Just do it now and save us your soapbox speech.

    Maybe we need a non-politician. We give way to much money to other countries, many of whom hate the USA. We need to build the USA back up, and need someone who is not in it for the corporations, pacts, and groups who pay for them to get elected. Every other politician owes someone something for them to be elected. Basically a legal bribe to do what they want. It is time we had a change, and see what happens. It can’t get much worse then it is now. Not saying he will do what he says, but I will vote for him to give it a shot.

    In four years there may be a trump wing addition to the white house, you never know. Now I will get off my soapbox.

  5. Andy – go back to sucking Sanders cock. This post isn’t about politics.

    Mark – same to you. What he did was use the law and the system. That’s not gaming. You want to change the system that’s fine, but until then using it is using it.

  6. @ Fred.. grow up. I never said what he did was illegal. Here’s the definition of gaming the system.

    Gaming the system (also referred to as gaming the rules, bending the rules, abusing the system, cheating the system, milking the system, playing the system, or working the system) can be defined as using the rules and procedures meant to protect a system in order, instead, to manipulate the system for a desired outcome …

  7. He exposed an absurdity: a several-month process to renew an expired registration, vs an immediate process to get a new registration. THERE’S NO REASON such a difference in time should exist.

    If it were any of you, and it was your car (instead of plane), you’d do EXACTLY the same thing he did. I do not believe some of you would actually park your car for several months and go without. Heck no, you’d buy a different car, or sell it to a family member (or to yourself if you have a business/corporation)… so you could access it immediately.

    Nothing shady about what he did. And congratulations to him for exposing a govt process with ridiculous timeframes.

  8. You fail to detect Mike that Mr. Leff is exactly the sort who stands to be pinkied if an actual person with experience running a business gets the helm.

    Trump would gladly fly commercial if those providing commercial service were not so darn embittered.

    In fact, i’m sure he will.

    Oh and all the stuff about Hollywood stars and people who have been sitting in comfortably paid positions for doing absolutely nothing but sitting atop pedestals passing judgment on others.

    “Good riddance” Frankly I don’t think it’ll have to go that extreme because your horse is ahead, but your entire well if I don’t get to run my bs party my way, I”m heading to Hanoi act.

    Take it with you. Nobody’s buying it for a second.

  9. Oh and in an America I was raised in, one I knew and loved.

    We were praised for finding ways not only to “win” , but to execute plans efficiently.

    Nowadays since the advent of our friends and their holy war, what you see is this awful muck of passive aggressive lunacy where revenue is despised and people who “work the system” so to speak to ‘win’ are shunned in favor of people who think they’re passing out hugs but are essentially marketing mass depression and mediocrity on the grandest of scales.

    Oh btw, since we’re going “political” for kicks. Your “horse” over there. Well she wound up at “YALE” as far as I know because a Textile executive from Scranton jockeyed his position in a relatively small town to CheeCago gaming the system all the way.

    And she bought that house in West Chester not with any funds fought for and earned in the pits but pulled directly from several decades at the utter of passive aggressive fools.

  10. Here’s the deal.

    You play the game within the rules that you are given to get the most efficient outcome for you. These are the basic tenets of a free society. The ‘pursuit of life, liberty and happiness’.

    Anyone and I mean anyone who thinks they have a right to oversee your pursuit of happiness who is not hired counsel, will probably have their own agenda.

    Go forth with this knowledge in hand.

    Stop playing all the games. You’ve asked for a fight. And by god you’re about to get it.

  11. Oh and for the commenter who stated that he despises what all of the Mr “T” supporters stand for,

    Pray tell, as I’m sure you’re ready willing and able to do, what is it exactly that we ALL stand for.

    Something tells me you’re prepared with a few dozen labels in line to mark upon the foreheads of millions upon millions of people.

    What is it that we all “stand for”? I’m sure you know. There’s been an inordinate amount of hate and strife around these parts these past couple of decades and it’s time some of you take a good hard look in the mirror at the man or woman staring back at you.

  12. You all are complaining that someone is gaming the system on a blog that has written about how to game the system. If Trump had purchased a different plane would that be an issue? It’s not like he can’t afford to do so. If you feel Trump and his supporters are morons who turn your stomach, trust me, the feeling is mutual. To those who threaten to leave the country if he’s elected, we can’t wait for you to GTFO. That would be the icing on the cake.

  13. Carrie, I’m voting for Trump in November, but telling others you can’t wait for them to “GTFO” of the country, in person or in blog comments, doesn’t help the cause. Grow up.

  14. I think what Andy finds quite disturbing, in principal, is that fact that Mr Trump (or his staff) could not be bothered to pay the $5 and operate within the simple rules required to fly his plane. The FAA rules and the efficiency of its system are another discussion. The President of the U.S. needs to operate, internationally, within a framework of diplomatically acceptable behavior. Otherwise, one’s behavior as a leader can start to resemble the leader of, say, North Korea, for example. Petulant, childish and ultimately dangerous.

  15. I agree with Gary that what Trump did showed he cannot be trusted. The guy sold himself his own plane to avoid playing by the rules. He says he has so much money and yet he can’t pay $5.00 to renew his registration on time? Maybe he should spend less time initiating lawsuits against everyone and pay more attention to his bills. You have to wonder how many vendors he has screwed over by not paying them.

  16. Joyce, how condescending that you say “Trump couldn’t be bothered to pay $5”. Obviously that’s uninformed. While you “poo-pooh” the argument of FAA efficiency, the inefficiency is THE CRUX of the whole issue. No savvy person will tolerate the kind of irrationality/incompetence demonstrated by current registration policies. Diplomacy doesn’t mean bowing to absurd, arcane, inefficient regulations. A diplomat is a rational, influential leader. THINK ABOUT WHAT MAKES SENSE.

  17. It has only been recently that registrations were not permanent. This reregistration of aircraft is something new. Very easy to miss, and mostly a bunch of bueaucratic crap. The penalties are pure bull. No scandle here except for the obscurity of our complex government.

  18. Dr John You must be a republicans. You make sense and bring up valid facts about the system. Dems don’t want to here that …..

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