Should you do a Pre-Buy Inspection before you purchase a used aircraft?

Should you do a Pre-Buy Inspection before you purchase a used aircraft?

You should never purchase an aircraft without having a competent aircraft mechanic complete a thorough pre-buy inspection.  

Buying a used airplane without a pre-buy inspection is like gambling, you might win or you might lose.  Do you really want to take that chance?  If you’re going to spend tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars on an aircraft you need to make sure you know the condition of the aircraft inside and out.  If you’re not an aircraft mechanic, you probably wouldn’t know what to look for.  The aircraft could look great on the outside but the inside is what matters the most.

Just imagine taking your aircraft in for your next inspection and your mechanic tells you that you need an engine overhaul.  Depending on the type of engine you have in your aircraft you could spend anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000+ to overhaul your engine.  By the way, just about every used airplane you buy will be sold AS IS, WHERE IS, WITH NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.  As long as the seller didn’t misrepresent the aircraft, any issues with the aircraft after the sale are the responsibility of the new owner.

Here are a couple of items you should note before you purchase a used aircraft:

  • Never let the current owners mechanic do your pre-buy inspection: You need to find your own mechanic that has experience working on the specific type of aircraft you are buying.
  • Always use an aircraft purchase/sales agreement:  Don’t just exchange money, make sure you have a contract that state the terms of the sale.  You can find many examples online.
  • Take a demo flight: Take the aircraft for a demo flight and check everything.
  • Get documents from the FAA: You can pay the FAA $10 and they will send you a CD with all the records they have for any tail number.
  • Search the tail number online to see if you can find any accident/incident reports.
  • AOPA Title Search PackagePay $95 for a title search, aircraft records, and accident/incident report.

If you have any questions about purchasing an aircraft, feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

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Comments (2)

  • pontious pilot Reply

    Only a fool wouldn’t.Have the engineer do a 100hrly and issue another MR. Check EVERY AD and SB for…

    September 22, 2017 at 8:19 pm
  • Robbie Culver Reply

    Absolutely. And no one that has ever worked on the plane should be involved in the pre-buy!!

    September 22, 2017 at 8:29 pm

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