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OVERVIEW

Clifford G. Maine
Partner

Grand Rapids

171 Monroe Avenue N.W.
Suite 1000
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2694

P 616-742-3944

F 616-742-3999

OVERVIEW

Clifford G. Maine
Partner

Grand Rapids

171 Monroe Avenue N.W.
Suite 1000
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2694

P 616-742-3944

F 616-742-3999

Chair of the firm’s Aviation group, Cliff Maine advises on aviation-related transactions, emergency preparation and response, insurance and risk analysis, litigation and regulatory supervision. A pilot himself, Cliff’s lifetime passion for aviation is manifest in everything he does. As a result, he speaks the language of the pilots, mechanics, airlines, entrepreneurs and the business professionals in this specialized industry.

OVERVIEW

Clifford G. Maine Partner

Grand Rapids

171 Monroe Avenue N.W.
Suite 1000
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2694

P : 616-742-3944

Chair of the firm’s Aviation group, Cliff Maine advises on aviation-related transactions, emergency preparation and response, insurance and risk analysis, litigation and regulatory supervision. A pilot himself, Cliff’s lifetime passion for aviation is manifest in everything he does. As a result, he speaks the language of the pilots, mechanics, airlines, entrepreneurs and the business professionals in this specialized industry.

Cliff serves as general counsel to numerous aviation organizations. His aviation clients include some of the largest corporate flight departments in the world.

Cliff has negotiated and structured numerous aviation transactions, including domestic and foreign-based aircraft purchase and sale transactions, bonus depreciation, timeshare agreements, interchange agreements, joint and fractional ownership agreements, personal and executive use policies, FAA registrations, Capetown International Registry, and aircraft leasing transactions. Cliff also provides legal counsel on tax-related aviation issues, including federal excise tax planning, state sales and use tax planning, depreciation planning, insurance/risk management and emergency response plans.

In addition to his transactional practice, Cliff regularly represents aviation clients faced with serious lawsuits. He also advises on aviation insurance coverage, warranties and ongoing service and regulatory requirements. As aviation law is a high-profile, focused discipline that demands meticulous attention to detail and thorough risk analysis, Cliff’s long experience as both a lawyer and industry insider mean that he can ably guide his client’s through even the most turbulent scenarios.

In addition to being a lawyer, Cliff has practiced as a licensed certified public accountant in Michigan and Minnesota, formerly working with a large nationwide CPA firm. Clients appreciate Cliff’s background in accounting and in the business, tax and regulatory side of aviation deals, which allows him to understand their business quickly and provide answers to even the most complex questions in a timely manner.

He is also a frequent speaker for programs conducted by the National Business Aviation Association, Lawyer Pilots Bar Association, and other professional aviation organizations.

In high school, Cliff was an Eagle Scout, took his first solo flight on his 16th birthday, and has been a licensed pilot since the age of 17. He currently is an instrument-rated private pilot and holds a seaplane rating flying a Lake Amphibian.

Honors

The Best Lawyers in America, 2011-2019

Professional and Community Involvement

Founding member, National Business Aircraft Association and former chair of its Tax Committee

Board member, Michigan Business Aircraft Association

Member, founding member and past chair, State Bar of Michigan Aviation Section

Board member and founding member, West Michigan Aviation Academy

EXPERIENCE
  • Barnes & Thornburg attorneys handled claims on behalf of the owner of an aircraft involved in a crash in which the pilot and four passengers were killed. All four passenger wrongful death cases were resolved within 12 weeks of the accident – thus sparing the families further trauma. The team then conducted an independent investigation into the cause of the accident, including full-scale reconstruction. The attorneys also appealed the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) fault determination through the U.S. Supreme Court and lobbied both administrative agencies and Congress for improved safety regulations.
  • Barnes & Thornburg aviation attorneys handled wrongful death and workers’ compensation claims on behalf of a private educational institution’s flight school related to the deaths of two individuals in a plane crash. Cases involving the two decedents were resolved within 12 weeks of the accident.
  • Barnes & Thornburg aviation attorneys have represented multiple clients in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigations involving proposed penalties for alleged violations of Federal Aviation Regulations concerning operational, airworthiness and medical qualification issues, and shipment of hazardous products via air commerce.
  • Barnes & Thornburg represented a consortium of aircraft owners targeted by an FAA Special Emphasis Investigation Team (SEIT) investigation concerning ownership and operational structures.
  • Barnes & Thornburg represented pilot/owner in defense of administrative investigation and proposed penalty resulting from in-flight emergency. A satisfactory settlement was reached with the FAA.
  • Barnes & Thornburg successfully represented the owner of a restored warbird in response to FAA’s emergency revocation of its airworthiness certificate. We obtained the dismissal of charges concerning airframe time and airworthiness certification issues, so the warbird could fly once again.
  • Represent and advise family offices on the development of programs to purchase, manage and operate personal family aircraft.
  • Represented a client in the restructuring of its flight operations and agreements with a non-affiliated company with respect to multiple aircraft and the use of the client’s privately owned airport, including the exchange of ownership in multiple aircraft and the entering into of joint ownership agreements with respect to the aircraft and an access and use agreement with respect to the airport.
  • Represented a leading manufacturer in multiple rounds of financing for various aircraft with an aggregate value in excess of $115 million, including the sale and leaseback of two G-IV aircraft and the acquisition financing for a Falcon 2000EX aircraft and a G-550 aircraft.
  • Represented a lender the in the $33.9 million financing of a G-V aircraft, including a reverse 1031 exchange bridge loan to the exchange company.
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