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.
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
The Best Lawyers in America, 2011-2020