Pre Purchase Inspections Article Eric Barnhill

PrePurchase Inspections

By Eric Barnhill at

Pre purchase Inspections are very important to the prospective aircraft buyer.

There are several areas you should have a look at before considering buying an aircraft:

Logbooks: Are the logbooks in good shape? Are they all there (from manufacture date to present?). Missing logbooks could be hiding something! Missing logbooks should be addressed and see if there is any way to cover the period that there are no records for, (paid invoices, entries in other logbooks, etc). Are the logbooks in some kind of order?, (refer to Logbooks section for description). Check logbooks for The last few Annual Inspection entries, VFR and/or IFR certification, and AD compliance records. Any damage history, Oil Analysis records, time on airframe (TTAF), time on engine (TT and TSMOH), Go back a few years, look at TT and then check the Tach Time on the aircraft add them up and see if they agree. I can tell a lot about an aircraft just by looking at the logbooks! You might want to get your mechanic/IA to have a look at them, the owner should not have a problem with you making some copies and having them looked at. If fact when I’m selling a aircraft, I scan all the logbooks into a file I can them send to prospective buyers (Shows that have nothing to hide). It’s never hurts to purchase (from the FAA) a copy of all the records that they (FAA) have on the aircraft. This is available on disk for $10.00 here’s a link to that site, AIRCRAFT RECORDS, it’s well worth the $10.00 to see if there are modifications, and or damage that doesn’t show up in the logs. You can also check out the aircraft registration for the FAA HERE, it will show who the owner of record is (is this the person you are buying the aircraft from?)

And other pertinent information that might prove useful to you.

Aircraft inspection: A quick walk around the aircraft will tell you a lot, but theres a lot you can’t see, sure the paint looks good (or not), Theres a lot of gizmos in the panel (or not). Its the stuff you can’t see that will cost you big time later. Here’s my solution to the pre-buy inspection – If you’re really interested, you, and your mechanic/IA have had a good look at the logbooks, the price is right and things look good for the purchase, Have a mechanic/IA that does not usually work on the aircraft (either your mechanic/IA or one where the aircraft is located) do an annual inspection, (this works good if the aircraft has’t just come out of Annual Inspection). The Buyer pays for the annual Inspection and the owner of the aircraft agrees to pay for any discrepancies. This way the buyer gets an aircraft that has a clean bill of health (or hidden items are reveiled) and the seller is responsible for any problems found. This could cost you some bucks but, they would be well spent if you find something that’s a deal breaker! I’ve seen bad repairs that have to be done over, (BIG BUCKS), hidden damage that was not previously reported, (MORE BIG BUCKS), and just a bunch of little things that should be taken care of before you purchase/fly the aircraft.

Short story: Don’t jump into purchasing an aircraft (unless you can afford costly repairs) take your time and check all available records and options.

If you have any questions, or if we can help, click on the CONTACT button and leave us a message.

Purchasing an aircraft can be a GREAT experience if you take your time, check it out and don’t be afraid to walk away if everything doesn’t seam right!

Back to Pre-Purchase Inspection Articles