The best way to get a pre-buy inspection on an aircraft you are thinking of purchasing is to have the shop that will do your ongoing maintenance do the pre-buy. You will be assured of a better quality inspection and start building a long term relationship with the shop, all are important to your safety and financial health. Taking the plane from shop to shop means that each has to learn the plane from scratch and that adds to the costs.
The mechanic should know the special quirks of the model of aircraft that you are considering. As a Cirrus Service Center and the largest Cirrus Training Center, we are experts with the Cirrus Aircraft. If you are considering another type of aircraft, don't worry, we know most general aviation aircraft from Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft, and if we don't, we will be honest and tell you. In any case the aircraft's manufacturers checklist for the annual inspection should be used as a guide for the pre-buy. Have all of the applicable Airworthiness Directives researched before you go to see the plane. You will also want to have all of the Service Difficulty Reports or SDR's available in order to look for special concerns. Don't forget these Service Bulletins! They are usually the basis for AD's. There may be know problems that are not yet worthy of an AD, but you will want to check for these potential problem areas.
It's very important to go over all of the paperwork and aircraft logs. Paperwork issues, ranging from lost weight and balance records, to out of date POH's, missing placards and equipment list never updated make the plane un-airworthy. The logbook trail can also reveal any hidden damage issues or undocumented repairs. Avionics and radio exchanges need the proper paperwork to prove that they belong to the plane and were not stolen. We request log book copies, flight manual information and a complete set of close up digital photos before going to see the aircraft. You want to make sure you are not wasting your time.
If the aircraft is outside the local area, Platinum Aviation Service can arrange for you to go there with our Director of Maintenance in his plane or any one of our rental aircraft. Once there with the plane you and the mechanic can go over the logs and test fly the plane referencing a performance checklist. Together with the mechanic, the plane will be opened and completely inspected using the checklist mentioned earlier. You, as the potential buyer will get a great education about the aircraft. This is far better than someone else do the pre-buy inspection and simply sending you the report. How would you actually know what was done?
When considering a used aircraft purchase, be prepared to do more than one pre-buy inspection. It's not wasted money! The whole purpose of the pre-buy inspection is to save you from making a far costlier mistake. Two or three pre-buys are certainly cheaper than one bad engine or a corroded wing spar! That's what you are looking for, deal killers. Worn tires, dull paint or torn seat covers are easy to deal with. Structural or engine problems can cost thousands, or even render the aircraft un-repairable. Also beware of older aircraft that are "low time". Tach time is not the only factor that affects the aircraft. Calendar time with an aircraft that doesn't fly has a special way of deteriorating an aircraft.
After the pre-buy inspection is complete and you decide to purchase the plane, we can arrange for you to get a good check out in it on the way home with one of our many flight instructors. This can be a great help going forward in your aircraft ownership experience.
If you are contemplating a used aircraft purchase, Call today, 944-202-5995 or email us to get our insight and feedback early in the process. We will be glad to help you through the entire process.