Cold calling owner on a plane not listed

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Racerx, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    So I've been looking around and as everyone knows, listed planes are getting snatched up pretty quick. There's one I'd like to look at but Im leaving for a trip on Friday for two weeks. The likelihood of it still being there in this market is slim. Anyway, after playing around on the FAA registry there's a few planes relatively local to me that have caught my interest. Ones that according to flightaware haven't flown in some time. The first Dakota I looked at was last flown 20 years ago... according to flight aware. That owner appears to be in his 80s now so there's the possibility that's true. So first, how much credibility would you put into flightaware when it says a plane last flew 3,5,20 years ago. I'm well aware of the can of worms that would need to be opened.

    Second, has anyone had suçcess writing a letter expressing interest in a plane not listed?
     
  2. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Flightware only shows one flight for my airplane in the past 25 years. It's more active than that.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  3. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    Pretty much what I figured
     
  4. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    If they don’t fly IFR, flight following, or in B or C airspace, I wouldn’t expect FlightAware to know about them.
     
  5. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    Lack of activity on flightaware is indicative that it's likely not ADS-B out equipped, so budget for that.

    One thing you can do is talk to the local maintenance shop(s) and ask if they know anything about the plane. Older pilots can be prickly about parting with their toys, although someone making an offer to them might be sufficient motivation to sell. Good luck.
     
  6. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    No longer accurate. Any ADS-B equipped airplane will show up regardless of what airspace or flight rules it's flying in. Only non-ADS-B aircraft, not getting radar service, will still not show up (in general terms).
     
  7. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    If my conditions apply then it’s unlikely they spent the money to equip adsb out, so it’s still true.
     
  8. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Some years back a member of the Twin Cessna group discussed at the convention how he had acquired his 310R. It started out by sending a postcard to every 310 owner registered in the country saying looking for a 310R with [specs] contact with info if interested in selling. It was more detailed than that but that was the basic idea. I believe there are services out there that will do something like that for you (this guy had his secretary do it) so you could try to target a particular area.

    After going from listing the MU-2 to it being under contract in just over 48 hours with a deposit and then sold and gone within a couple weeks after (would've been sooner but the buyer's schedule dictated it), my impression is that if you want a plane you need to be actively looking, not just the standard places to find listings but the appropriate owner/type groups as well. Maybe this is less the case for smaller piston singles, but the MU-2 never got listed anywhere besides the MU-2 group and BeechTalk. I suppose I announced I was selling it here but this is not the group where you'll find too many people looking for planes like that.

    You may have to accept that if a plane does seem to be good and has some verifiable/plausible pedigree behind it that you put a deposit down sight unseen if you want to get it. Now, that's not to say you can't structure a purchase in a way that protects yourself still. When I made the verbal agreement on the MU-2 I had several people contacting me within the following 24 hours ready to send a deposit. One was even typing up an offer literally as I made the verbal deal on the phone.

    Really this isn't new, though. The 310 never hit the public market and the 414 was only on the market for 2 weeks before receiving a full price offer. Good planes are always in demand and will go fast.
     
  9. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Except, of course, for those set to anonymous mode while squawking 1200.
     
  10. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Was thinking the same thing about anonymous mode.

    I’d be more concerned about specs and how frequently the plane has actually been (verifiably) flying, using some other means besides Flightaware.
     
  11. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    *unless* they don’t have ADSB, otherwise it will show up anywhere... E, G etc.
     
  12. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    Should clarify, I'm inside the Ohare mode c veil. As well as all three planes that have got my attention.
     
  13. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Still possible they aren't equipped. There are people in my area that fly under the Bravo without adsb. It will take awhile to beat some of these guys into compliance. Either way you're either dealing with a plane that isn't flying or that isn't being well maintained. But you seem to be on top of that.
     
  14. TheFB

    TheFB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yep, I'm dead under the Bravo of ATL and I know guys that haven't even investigated ADSB options and probably won't until caught.... I don't get the mentality but they do exist.
     
  15. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    One more quirk. FlightAware has an optional feature to show "Position Only" flights. When this is off (by default) then not all ADSB flights show up, unless it has changed recently.

    The OPs region of interest is around Chicago so the potential lack of rpi receivers probably wouldn't apply.

    I think cold calling the owner is legit. Could be a son or daughter who doesn't know what to do. You might even score a hangar out of the deal...odds are low...but not zero.
     
  16. MacFly

    MacFly Line Up and Wait

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    I had been looking for a specific brand and model of plane. I found very few on the usual airplane-selling websites and the prices tended to be stunning. I put a "want-to-buy" post on one of the better-known airplane forums and was pretty surprised at the number of responses I got in the vein of "I haven't listed my plane yet, but....". I think there are a lot of planes out there that are "kinda/sorta" for sale, but haven't been listed yet. I think that brokers and the trade-a-plane sites are cumbersome and overpriced, with a lot of rules and restrictions, and most airplane owners would prefer to do "for sale by owner".
     
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  17. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

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    It may still happen, but they are busting the regs if flying inside the 30 nm Mode C ring without ADS-B and without permission, even if they are under the Bravo. Maybe they are getting permission each time, but I didn't think that's what the permission process was for.
     
  18. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I know that and they know that. They are still doing it.
     
  19. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

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    Scofflaws!

    Yeah, some people will do that. I figured the FAA would be tighter on that. Maybe ATC isn't as wound up about it as the bureaucrats are. Could be one of those things that slips until you cause a problem, then it get tacked onto your list of violations. I'm sure there will be a sudden crack-down on it if a plane without ADS-B gets into an accident in airspace where they should have had it. That's how those things seem to go.
     
  20. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Pick up the phone and ask. I've bought three airplanes that weren't for sale and sold three the same way.
     
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  21. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    A few years ago I had the harebrained idea that I wanted a particular plane of which there are maybe 20 on the FAA registry. I mailed the registered owners a postcard that I am looking for a XYZ and to shoot me an email or call if they are open to selling. Got me a few leads including some that were 'well, I am not planning to sell, but Mike in California was talking about it' followed by an email from 'Mike'.

    As mentioned by someone else further up, if you are not looking for something exotic, ask the maintenance shops. You dont want to buy the 20 year (or even 3 year) hangar queen, but you may want to buy the: 'talk to Bill, his plane is impeccably maintained, but he is flying less and less' plane.
     
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  22. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel En-Route

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    Not a plane but this thread reminds of something that happened to my boss recently. He and his wife decided its time they sold their small lake house and their main house and bought a forever lake house. His wife was very interested in a particularly attractive property that was on one of her jogging routes. But the place wasn't listed for sale. No problem she knocks on the door and asks if they'd be interested in selling. They owner says sure. So they go look at it and they fall in love with it. They want to make an offer but the owner decides to list with a realtor so they have to go through the realtor to make an off.

    The property gets listed for a couple $100k over what they really want to pay so they make a very lowball offer which is rejected with no counter. They wait a week and come back with another offer that's a few thousand below ask which is also rejected with no counter. They go to make a offer at full ask and find out the property has sold above asking price.

    Moral of the story: If you reach out and ask to buy something that isn't listed for sale, you'd better be ready to pay a premium.
     
  23. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Moral #2: As a buyer don't get a realtor involved.
     
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  24. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    Something similar happened to my dad. His business was expanding and he wanted this property that wasn't listed. He called the owner and her son managed it. Didn't get anywhere. Writes the son a letter and suddenly he wants to sell. My dad talks to a realtor and suddenly theres another party interested. He finds out it's the realtors nephew. Price keeps going up. My dad figures out what's going on. Calls the realtor and says he doesn't know what to do. It's out of his league at this point and is just going to keep bidding up to run the price up. Next day the guy is out.
     
  25. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    I agree. I'd like to eventually move up to a slightly faster plane with an IFR gps already installed, but I hate hassle...will probably end up just waiting and installing a gps in my current, known-quantity plane and skip the hassle of listing my plane, fielding calls, showing the plane, dickering (I HATE that part, as a buyer OR seller), paperwork, findinf another plane and going through that whole process as a buyer. I know there are plenty of folks who love the "hunt" and the process, but I'm not one of them.

    I would gladly welcome a cold call from a sincerely interested buyer... because that's probably the only way I'll ever sell my plane and get off my butt to find the Tiger I want.
     
  26. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’ve never done it but I did get one.
     
  27. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Yes, multiple times. Back in the day, planes were bought/sold via Trade-A-Plane, "analog" bulletin boards, and personal inquiries. And it still works today. I've sold all my project aircraft by word of mouth which lead to people contacting me. Also, used to go for Saturday morning flights with a friend to various airports just to see what might be available to buy. So you never know. Good luck.
     
  28. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Yup....the ADS-B check flight is the one listing for my N-number. Since then, I've rigged for silent (or, at least, anonymous) running.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  29. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    I'd do a variant of this. Send out letters or postcards to Dakota owners just in the same state as the one you're interested in. Word the offer generically. State that you're initially limiting your research to XXXX area. There are only ~450 in the registry; you can narrow down the geographic area and end up with not that many letters to send. There are just five in Washington state, for example.

    If you send a specific letter *just to that one guy*, he might get miffed. A generic offer might get him thinking, and sending it to a geographic area means if the owner checks with a buddy that has a Dakota, it'll indicate that he wasn't targeted. Provide enough detail about yourself so he knows you aren't a broker.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  30. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    If I got something in the mail I'd throw it away. I do that with real estate inquiries all the time. Find a plane you'd like to buy and make a personal introduction expressing your interest. Most owners like talking about their planes. I've never had a bad experience on either side of those conversations. You never know what a day holds.
     
  31. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    Everything is for sale at the right price. But I suppose without calling that price is never known. There's a Dakota in Arizona for sale for 37,000. It's out of registration, which means it hasn't been flown for a while. The description is quite vague but I'll be in New Mexico Saturday so may contemplate a drive out a little further. I've already got a hangar to use as I built a lift for a 150 that has since been sold. Just the six in the hangat. So the lift has been unused for a few years and another guy on the field has been wanting to buy it. As a fabricator it wouldn't take much to modify it for a Dakota. When we built it we made fit the 150 and the six. The six I'm welcome to use, but kind of would like something not twice my age and I really like the tapered wing. It's really more airplane than I really need. Archer's seem to always be higher time than the Dakota's and I like the useful load increase.
     
  32. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    Well now I'm curious. What were you looking at?
     
  33. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You don’t know if you don’t ask.Be polite and not too aggressive. Good luck.
     
  34. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    If it’s near Yuma I might be able to drive by and give you a pirep
     
  35. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Unless it has ADS- B OUT or is on an IFR flight plan It won’t show up on Flightaware. It could be that flight following causes it to show up on Flightaware.
     
  36. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    They should have ads-b as they are just inside the mode c veil.
     
  37. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    Appreciate it. But it's in Mesa. Listed on trade a plane. To be honest I don't how serious I am about a plane out of registration and annual so far from home base.
     
  38. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    I am in the market for a 6 seat Piper. I finally reached out to someone who listed on trade-a-plane...SOLD. I emailed someone else... SOLD. I emalied a third... SOLD. I am 0/3 in one day, LOL (or FML!).

    So best of luck. The market is hot!
     
  39. Racerx

    Racerx Cleared for Takeoff

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    You're not the only one here looking for that. But it's why I thought I'd try a different tactic.
     
  40. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    An Avions Robin 2160.

    Yes, obscure. A 2-seat aerobatic trainer with a O-320. Someone in California imported them in the 90s and ran an aerobatic school. Most of the ex-school planes are still somewhere in california.

    One of the owners was local to me and I had a chance to lay my eyes on the plane. He invited me for a trip to the aerobatic box which was a lot of fun. Still love the plane, but realized that it suffers from the same problem that all french aircraft seem to display: They are built for 5'6" men wearing size 7 guccis.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020