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Used Aircraft Purchasing Considerations
AMS did not compile this article, and cannot be held responsible for its content, we just thought you might find it informative.
This article was written for an aircraft purchased in the USA and staying within the USA, if you wish to purchase an aircraft in one country and register it in another, there are additional steps to take not detailed here.
Are you in the market for a used aircraft (A/C)?
What steps should you take to protect yourself and your new investment ?
All to often, buyers subsequently
discover that their ''perfect'' A/C has some defect that they did not know about
when it was purchased. Curing that defect can, in some cases, be impossible. In
other cases, it can cost as much (or even more) than the A/C itself.
A precise and thorough written agreement
is needed to ensure you are not buying an unairworthy A/C. It should contain a
detailed identification of the parties; the A/C and its installed equipment;
total times/cycles; and procedures to be utilized for pre-purchase inspection
and closing and delivery.
The purchase agreement should contain a
warranty of clear and marketable title. This FAA title search can be performed
by a title company or aviation attorney. A title search will reveal the identity
of the registered owner, mortgages, recorded liens, unknown owners or any
defects in the chain of title. Sometimes, buyers discover that the seller may
not be the person lawfully entitled to sell the A/C. A title report may be the
only way to accurately acquire this information.
The pre-purchase inspection may be the most important step in purchasing an A/C. If the A/C is advertised as having a ''fresh annual,'' your instincts should tell you ''beware.'' Often this is window dressing performed by the sellerís best friend, "Wally Walkaround.''
A pre-purchase inspection carried out correctly should include:
a written pre-purchase inspection agreement
an inspection protocol, utilizing the buyer's instruction
the buyer's selected FAA certified A & P engineer reference
a detailed audit of the
logs and historical records.
Major Repair or Alteration Form.
Alterations that change the weight and balance of the A/C must be in compliance
with the FAA requirements. Compliance occurs when approved maintenance is
reported to the FAA. If this work is not done properly or is not reported, the
A/C is not airworthy.
This is the method of checking items
that did not get reported on the 337 forms. You want to ensure log book
accuracy--i.e. an inspection that ensures accurate entries in engine logs,
propeller logs and maintenance logs. This should be done by inspecting any
equipment that has been installed, to ensure against unlawful and unreported
Once the pre-purchase is completed and
you have decided to go ahead with the purchase, warranties will further ensure
that your investment is protected.
Even if you are only thinking of buying an aircraft, protect yourself in the beginning by taking the proper steps, find yourself a good, reliable, experienced FAA certified A & P engineer or an EASA Aircraft engineer, he (or she) will be well worth your investment.
AMS (uk) can assist you in purchasing your aircraft, wherever or whatever type of aircraft it is.