Disastrous First (and Last) Annual - Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by obw, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    I think you're incredibly light on your prices. For instance, I saw one vertical fin for 300, but she looked a little crusty. Most are around 450. But that doesn't include shipping or labor to remove and replace or paint to make it match, not that it really matters. Whats shop time to replace the fin?

    I'm absolutely 100% for saving as many old birds as possible. But I don't think we're talking 1500. I definitely think it's worth getting an opinion on if it could be repaired vs a fuselage replacement. As bad as those few pictures looked, it was like they gave it a bath with chloride while they were plowing Quogue.

    If it were me.
    1) get a second opinion. Particularly a shop that has done this work before.
    2) Call pre-buy AP. He's probably the least culpable depending on what he was contracted to do. Find out how it was missed and why. Maybe give him a some insight on where to look next time. If I did the pre buy I'd be giving your money back.
    3) call the previous owner or owners. Feel him out. After all, he sold you a lemon. Does he get evasive? That would tell me he knew. We already know the owner A/P had to have known and either didn't care or was trying to make a buck. It's interesting the engine seems ok however.
    3) call previous IA's. See why/how this was missed.
    4) Contact your FSDO. They're probably going to want to see the airplane and figure out why so many missed this.
    5) depending on the answers above, get an attorney. If you get the sense they knew and were deceptive, you might get a judgement. Doesn't necessarily mean you'll see anything. And may cost more depending on what lawyers get.
     
  2. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Those are current prices from 2 vendors I have used in the past. Conditions used-good or new. Crating/shipping is extra provided I didn't go pick them up then its much cheaper.
    FYI: the point of the exercise was to show the aircraft is not scrap. So until a proper evaluation/estimate is performed any other labor/prep/cost etc is mute at this point.
    FWIW: That is where I disagree. In my experience along the GOM the corrosion shown is more "typical" than extreme. So since it appears the aircraft had history in FL I could understand that level of corr. That is why when reviewing an aircraft its life history is so important. Most owners and APIAs located away from salt water coasts have limited or nil experience with this type/level of corrosion and never think to look for it in the course of maintaining the aircraft. Now knowing its there and not reworking it or acknowledging it is a different matter.
     
  3. YKA

    YKA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Your lawyers must really love you, how you have such low expectations of them, and yet over pay them. Here you could get a lawyer to do it for 35% of whatever they recover, and it isn't up to 5 years, maybe 18 months at the most.
     
  4. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    35% of a $40-60k cash recovery ? And you believe you are in and done with court within 18 months ? Venezuela must be nice this time of year... ; )... point is, there isn’t enough upside to attract a decent contingency lawyer beyond threatening legal letters... which are ineffective. No lawyer will go the distance on this case through court conclusion. Good litigators in the northeast USA cost $400/hr from small shops and $1,000/hr in named firms. Don’t blame the messenger.
     
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  5. JAWS

    JAWS Cleared for Takeoff

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    upload_2021-1-28_20-26-11.jpeg
     
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  6. YKA

    YKA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't live in Boston, never even visited the place

    Telling you how it works here.
     
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  7. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No matter where anybody lives... or which option he chooses, the poor airplane buyer is out a bunch of cash and good for him for posting as a cautionary tale for many future airplane buyer pilots. I know I learned a ton on this thread.
     
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  8. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    I suspect those objecting to your tactics have never owned a business. Nicities go out the window when I'm dealing with deadbeats and scammers.
     
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  9. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    Airplane in the last 15 years spent about a year in florida. It spent 10 in new york. The previous 40 years would take a closer look at the logs or a title search. Title search is always a good idea to see if there's a lien and they're pretty cheap. Plus would give insight as to where it was based. I have a tough time reading those squiggly lines (cursive) they wrote with back in the 60's and the title search would help. Good info though on a plane that has spent time around the Gulf and will take that into consideration. Already was hesitant because of that reason.

    A proper evaluation and estimate is definitely needed. I just find it hard to believe that level of corrosion doesn't push bill past what the guy already out 40k wants to take on. If the engine can be parted out for 20k what the rest worth? Would anyone buy it for 20k knowing the amount of work most suspect it's going to take? After all a vfr Cherokee 160 should be 40-45 tops
     
  10. YKA

    YKA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Too bad it wasn't from this area, very dry climate, lots of sunshine. Those are the primary reasons I moved here. NY and Florida both sound like place anything metal goes to die of salt water corrosion.
     
  11. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    This is exactly my dilemma. I am going to the hangar this afternoon and will walk through everything with my mechanic, and will discuss the options people have suggested (repair, swapping out the fuselage, parting out etc).
     
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  12. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    Actual photo of the plane while in florida:
    Plane-crash-near-Cape-Sable-1-22-21-NPS-Photo-scaled.jpg
     
  13. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Why are so many of you so quick to write this plane off? It’s kinda weird. Personally, I’m rooting for the OP and hoping it’s fixable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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  14. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    It doesn't take much to get the corrosion started and once there will continue until dealt with. With all the dissimilar metals used and especially the lack of corr preventative coatings on the older models, aircraft have always been a "magnet" for corrosion of many types. And equally, aircraft flown around certain industrialized urban areas are at the same risk of corrosion but from the air pollution. Think of the old "acid rain" days. This is why there is a lot of guidance on corrosion out there.
    And your cost estimates are based on what?
     
  15. fasteddie

    fasteddie Pre-Flight

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    Any updates?
     
  16. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    A quick update -

    First, I'd like to express my appreciation again for all the input and advice, both on the forum and through private messages.

    Unfortunately my hope that people would do the right thing was unfounded. I tried to contact the relevant parties - the seller, my pre-buy mechanic, the APIA who signed off on the last annual, and the A&P owner who did the painting and interior. I sent multiple emails and text messages, and followed up with phone calls/voicemail messages but was essentially ignored with nobody returning my messages. I did finally manage to get through to the owner of the shop that did the pre-buy and was told they are taking the situation seriously, were doing an 'internal investigation' and were in contact with their lawyers about it.

    Given the lack of traction trying to reach a resolution amicably (or even get any response), I have since retained an attorney.

    My mechanic has been very accommodating. He has kept the plane in his hangar, but it looks like he's going to be getting busy so I'll need to move it soon. I will likely pickle the engine and tie the plane down at the airport until I have clarity about the path forward.

    On a positive note, I finally got flying again. Almost two months after bringing the plane in for its ill-fated annual, I got checked out on the local flight school Warriors so that I can at least rent a plane to stay current. It felt great to be back in the air again.
     
  17. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Good job, now you know. I hope you can recover something, but be very careful not to dump thousands into pursuing this legally and ending up with nothing. Sounds like you were screwed.

    Personally when this is all played out, if it is not to your satisfaction, I would give the name and location of each individual involved, spelling out, in a factual, non accusatory way, what their role was in this fiasco.
     
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  18. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Nice, at least there is something a little positive happening?

    A new thought - if you are mechanically inclined, see if you can do some of the work under the A&P’s supervision. A great deal of your costs are labor. Heck, you could get halfway to an A&P cert just doing this.

    down side, you will need a place to work on it, you can’t keep taking up the mechanic’s hangar. And it will take years. For me, it would be fun, even when cursing at that one stupid nut that refuses to come off.
     
  19. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    I'm pretty sure I don't have the skills for this. I think the majority of the work will require sheet metal and structural experience, and I have zero knowledge here. Perhaps more importantly, I don't think it would be a challenge I'd enjoy since I'd view every hour that I'd need to work on it as another hour I couldn't fly it.
     
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  20. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I’m sure your attorney may have already said this, but in case he or she didn’t...

    Document the heck out of everything now, while it’s still inside. Once you move it to a tie down outside, it will get easier for the involved parties to claim the corrosion was a result of the (by then) current outdoor storage situation.
     
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  21. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Pattern Altitude

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    Sad that its resorting to lawyers, since that'll probably cost more to everyone in the end.
     
  22. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    Not always, but admittedly often. The civil justice system exists because people are not always willing or able to do the right thing.
     
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  23. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Pattern Altitude

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    Agreed. Shame they didn't do the right thing.
     
  24. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    In this case, who would be in the position to "do the right thing"? If the current owner can show that the previous owner knew about the deficits, it would be an easy win (and I saw it locally, where someone had home foundation issues which they didn't disclose, in fact, lied and said there were none, and then the new homeowner then just happened to get a quote from the same company that gave the previous homeowner a quote for foundation repair!)
    If nobody knew, then there is an ugly chain of negligence, and penance to be paid to Lord FAA.
     
  25. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    Part it out. As others said the engine is valuable and maybe other parts that can be removed and sold.

    But, while you seemed to have done everything to buy a good plane, maybe you should have look into where it previously "lived". When I bought I only wanted a plane that spent nearly all its live very low humidity regions and, preferably, always hangered.

    However, you might have a legal case if you could show that the previous owner knew of this severe damage and did not disclose it. You did not necessarily have to ask him. Many judges don't like obvious swindling and you do not need a lawyer to sue. The Nolo Press has good books on how to research precedence in a law library and citing favorable precedence may just get you a win.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  26. AdamZ

    AdamZ Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OBW, I'm sure your counsel will tell you this but before your part anything out you will likely need to at least give the opposing parties an opportunity to inspect the plane. I like to extend the offer to inspect ( under the watchful eye of your attorney, A&P and a video camera) as early as possible. that can often help to dilute a lot of the defenses the others may raise such as it got corroded sitting out and not being flow. I really feel for you and am seriously rooting for you. Keep us advised.
     
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  27. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is it really an easy win? Caveat emptor applies and I am willing to bet that bill of sale says "as is" plus the previous owner allowed an inspection. What a mess.
     
  28. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    I missed it. Where did the OP say that he was lawyered up?

    I only saw that he mentioned that a shop had a lawyer.
     
  29. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Cleared for Takeoff

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    i think it was a reference that since the shop retained an attorney, so had he. I’d have to check though.
     
  30. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Post 376

     
  31. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    I don't know if it would be easy but if the previous owner did not disclose such extreme hidden damage then the court might rule that a reasonable buyer would not expect such condition and caveat emptor does not excuse the seller. That's why knowing how to use a law library can be of great value. I have researched several legal matters. I could well imagine that a judge would classify as a deliberate attempt defraud the buyer. Caveat emptor is a cute slogan but it is probably not actual law. And courts like to follow precedence and also create new interpretations. I would certainly try.
     
  32. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Litigation is unbelievably frustrating. Takes forever, costs a lot... and, this is the hard part, the opposing parties (most of them) lie through their teeth.

    This poor Buyer ended up with the second worst outcome possible. The first? to have gone flying with his friends and family in the plane.
     
  33. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Thank you.

    I wish the OP good luck.

    I hope we learn later (might take a long time) whether hiring a lawyer made anything better. For the particular situation and dollar amounts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  34. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    Negligence is doing the wrong thing, albeit not as active and intense a wrong as outright deceit on an issue that could kill a fellow human being. This is a situation where numerous people did a wrong thing in the chain of events leading up to the OP, and each of them could have (a) done the right thing at the time or (b) done the right thing now by bending over backwards to make it right. There are many chances in the world to do the right thing.
     
  35. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    It might not be actual law, but the Classical Latin etymology does indicate our fellow men have been trying to screw over the unsuspecting since the first century.

    :D
     
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  36. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    And what remedy do you have in mind?

    As for the seller, are there any documented claims of the plane’s condition, made by the seller? If not, and the plane was sold “as is”, what remedy is there? He could buy it back, but why would he?

    If mechanic merely offered an opinion, what remedy is there?

    A mechanic who signed a pencil-whipped annual was working for an earlier owner — so what does that mechanic owe some future owner if the mechanic was lazy and didn’t look thoroughly and remark upon it?

    The pre-buy mechanic for sure was different because he was working for the buyer, but the only remedy I can see is returning the fee paid to him by the buyer. And even that is unlikely if that mechanic was not instructed very specifically the steps to take.

    Overall, the situation sucks for the buyer, but I’m just wondering why, and even how, someone else can “make it right.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  37. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    You will never know if you don't try. And, with a good book, a law library is easy to use. I have done it several times.
     
  38. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    There is a difference between “as is” and painting over corrosion. House sellers put up fake walls to hide collapsing foundations or throw a load of laundry in the machine so the inspector can’t run it and find out that the plumbing is bad. We don’t know how many people were complicit in this situation, but someone was.

    Even if the seller didn’t know about the problems, which seems unlikely, he could give the OP’s money back and deal with the plane himself. He may have no legal obligation to do that, and his moral responsibility can be debated, but most of the legal system is built around the concept that people should be legally required to meet the community’s definition of their moral obligations.

    Even without a moral obligation that the community imposes, I would have a hard time keeping the OP’s money in this situation. At a minimum, I would want to help the OP in his quest for justice against the people who spent money and time to hide the problems with the plane. After all, the seller is just as lucky to have survived flying this plane as the OP is.
     
  39. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Yes, the original post did mention “It looked like someone previously had try to paint over the corrosion with zinc chromate paint, and then covered it up with a new headliner”

    The fuselage exterior was painted by a known AP (two owners back), but the issue sounds like interior surfaces, which might have been painted by someone else.

    If it’s unclear whether paint truly was applied atop corrosion to hide it (and without a logbook entry) or if it’s unclear who did it, then what?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  40. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    There could well be a criminal situation here as well as civil. Not only have FAA regs been deliberately violated but the it could be considered life threatening. If the OP can't get his money back the seller could be in real trouble and might consider returning the money as the lesser "evil" to keep the purchaser quiet.