You took your time, shopped around and found the perfect aircraft. It’s a sweet little Cessna, with soft leather interior and custom cabinetry. You locked in a great interest rate, and the seller is motivated. Nothing but blue skies ahead, right?
Not so fast. One of the most critical — and complicated — steps in the buying cycle is the pre-purchase inspection. If the inspection is mismanaged or rushed, you could end up on the hook for expensive repairs and/or Federal Aviation Administration fines for some time to come.
The inspection process revealed
The pre-purchase inspection should be conducted by a qualified third-party repair center and not by the repair center where the aircraft is maintained. Inspectors will examine maintenance records and logs to ensure the aircraft received routine and proper care over its lifetime. They will also verify that parts and components were replaced on schedule. Incomplete, missing or shoddy records can indicate a neglectful repair history.
The inspection also requires review of compliance with Aircraft Directives (AD), an extensive set of instructions from the FAA to guide repairs and part and component replacement. ADs are numerous and unique to each plane’s model and serial number. There are additional ADs with special instructions for any modifications made to the aircraft components.
AD review can be a time-consuming, frustrating process, but your broker has the experience to spot red flags or suspicious gaps in record-keeping.
Your broker — more than just a pretty face
During the pre-purchase inspection process, brokers play two pivotal roles. The first is to ensure that the inspection is exhaustive, thorough and conducted by an independent service center.
The second role of the broker is to help you understand and assess the severity of any repair problems that are discovered. Inspection of a pre-owned jet is bound to reveal at least a few hitches, but your broker will advise you when these issues are cause for undue concern.
Repairs: The small, the significant and the show-stoppers
Many issues that pop up during inspection are cosmetic or relatively minor. The repair of scratched or cracked fixtures, burned-out panel lights and similar problems are not unusual or unexpected. Your broker, however, will make recommendations when the total repair costs of these secondary issues exceed what is considered acceptable or reasonable.
Of course, major problems that affect the airworthiness and safety of the airplane need to be addressed by the seller. Your broker can guide you through the next negotiation steps. The seller may be asked to handle and show proof of repairs, or your broker may request a reduction in the asking price of the plane. In extreme cases, your broker will know when walking away from the deal is your best option.
Don’t let pre-purchase inspection headaches kill the thrill of jet ownership. Rely on your broker to wrangle with the details. You can spend that time planning where your newly purchased plane will take you.
Contact L & L International if you need assistance in purchasing or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at 877-453-8276 or visit our website.