Disastrous First (and Last) Annual - Advice Needed

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

  1. Rcmutz

    Rcmutz Line Up and Wait

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    I agree with this. I would like to know who did the last annual inspection and the name of whoever did the pre-buy. Guys like this should not be in business imho.
     
  2. Rcmutz

    Rcmutz Line Up and Wait

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    agree. When I bought my Tiger, the AnP/IA I had do the prebuy was quite familiar with Grumman’s and knew where to look for corrosion. Certain covers and access covers were removed to look. It also helped that he was going to be doing maintenance and annuals for me, so.... added incentive to be as thorough as possible, since he was going to be dealing with me routinely.
     
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  3. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    There in lies the problem.
    The IA can say, I think it is safe.
     
  4. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Based on what I’ve seen, Im betting that none of the previous guys knew about it, or they didn’t realize the extent of the problem. Unfortunately, that seems to happen more than people realize. As Doc Holliday mentioned, many owners seek out the cheap annual that basically only provides written rule compliance but the annual they get fails to do what the inspection was intended to do. If people did proper annuals and maintained their airplanes properly we likely wouldn’t see as many ADs as we do.

    So now the current owner and mechanic are faced with doing exactly what you describe. They discovered the problem, now it needs to be addressed. People can run around and try to sue one another or try to get someone in trouble but that isn’t going to fix the airplane. Perhaps the thing to do would be to call the previous owner and see if they’ll participate in the repair expenses since the transaction occurred recently. Worst they’d say is no.
     
  5. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Which is sad. Sad that people would trust their own posterior, and more importantly, family and friends, to pencil-whipped annuals and MX. I was in the minority you referred to. When my checking account could no longer do it right, the plane was sold.
     
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  6. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Cleared for Takeoff

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  7. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    That is sad to hear, why would some owner get a sign off without a proper inspection, it’s his butt in the air, not the AP
     
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  8. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Curious, does your mechanic's name begin with C? The guy who painted over and covered that corrosion with a new interior, knew what it was. Maybe he didn't know the extent if I give the benefit of the doubt, but he should have dug deeper like you did. I think you should report it to the FAA, see if they are interested in tracking it down. The lawyer route, not sure I would do that unless you find someone to take it on a continency basis. First you have to win, then you have to figure out how to collect. Caveat emptor definitely applies here.

    I worry about mechanics concerned with digging too deep into an issue because they don't want to remove options for the owner. The only option should be determining if the aircraft is safe, all the rest is bull ****.
     
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  9. Peter Anderson

    Peter Anderson Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m sure glad to be in that minority. You’re annuals will stay more consistent if you fix everything at every annual and never let items stack up. Either way, I always want to fly a safe plane. So that’s a minority I’m good being in.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  10. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    Hi all. OP here.

    The feedback has been incredible, and I thought it might be worth taking stock of the input and summarizing some of the major points.

    1) First of all, thanks to everyone who has commented. The aviation community is amazing, whether it's on the ramp at the airport or in a forum on the web. You support and sympathy for my situation is really appreciated. Thank you. I am equally grateful that my mechanic found these issues and it didn't end up much worse.

    2) There's general consensus that this should be reported to the FAA. Multiple A&Ps/IAs have signed off over the last 2 1/2 years and the FAA should be made aware of them.

    3) Mixed opinions about going down the legal path. A fellow forum member who is an attorney has kindly reached out to me, and is giving me valuable help. But seems that it might be difficult to recover the money even if a judgement went my way. At the very least, it's worth contacting the previous owner, their mechanic who signed off on the annual, and the IA who did my pre-buy.

    4) A second opinion from an IA about the damage might be helpful. My IA didn't state the damage was irreparable, but it was likely not cost effective to do it. Based on what I've seen, I think he's spot on but another set of eyes on it wouldn't hurt.

    5) Less consensus about what to do with the plane now. It's partially disassembled in my mechanic's hangar and will need to be moved out of there sooner than later. And I have no where to put it. Tie it down outside with a tarp over it until 2-4 above are handled? Remove the engine, avionics, interior etc and tie the fuselage down outside? Get quotes from salvage operations to take it away as is? List it for sale on Barnstormers as is?

    Again, thanks for all the support and opinions.
     
  11. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    My vote on 5 is to do both: list as-is on the web, and call salvage companies and see what you can get from them, then pick the one that gives ya the highest. Between the engine, wings and empennage-forward components, there's more than 20K (AD passing wing attachments 2x10k, engine 10K as a stand alone sale). Your problem is of course you have no place to store a part-out operation and thus materialize those gains, so you'd have to take the wholesale hit. So if I were in that situation I'd dispense with it whole the second anybody offers me a nickle above 20K and trucking it is their problem. Or sole-sale of the engine and then take less for the airframe. I'd still be inclined to do one-sale but that's me and my diminished tolerance for this hobby's BS anymore. Much luck to ya going forward.
     
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  12. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    If you want to disassemble and store, do pickle the engine , one can rent a storage facility to store them - uHaul or such places
     
  13. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Interesting. Must be nice to have the financial and logistical flexibility to spend funds at any cost to fix a problem especially when other options may exist at reduced cost or timeframes. But to each their own.
     
  14. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    Could you use a tax deduction for a charitable donation? Not everyone can, but if you can then one way to reduce your losses (as well as do a kindness) would be to donate the plane to some kind of academic program as others have mentioned. More time investment could get you more money parting it out. Letting it sit and waiting for someone else to buy it would try my patience, as I watch “my” “airplane” continue to rot on the ramp. Fixing it would be expensive, but if you’re the kind of person who enjoys either doing a restoration or seeing one done it could work out for you.

    The legal options are too personal of a decision for me to weigh in here. Just take this advice to heart: It’s your business, so make your own decision. An informed decision, for sure, but it has to be you deciding.
     
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  15. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FYI: if you take this to the FSDO, as the current owner that has operated the aircraft over the past months, they may look into your ops as well. Also since the aircraft came from different state your FSDO will call the local FSDO who in turn look into the situation. Be sure you have your ducks in a row before starting.
     
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  16. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    It's impossible to repair what isn't there anymore. That level of corrosion means that the structure and skins all need to be replaced. In other words, the whole fuselage. It means the airplane is BER. Beyond Economical Repair. You could buy another airplane for much less than the cost of "repairing" this one. It's not, after all, a P-51 or Spitfire. It's just an old Cherokee.
     
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  17. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm seriously trying to see your side on this, but I keep getting hung up on the part about not investigating so you can fly it somewhere else. I'm wondering if rather than malfeasance on the part of some one, the way you would handle this just allowed a serious problem to get kicked down the road.

    Each one of us who fires up one of these machines are eternal optimists that nothing serious will happen when we fly. I think we need to be very guarded not to carry that optimism into the maintenance of these aircraft when we find something that is disturbing and could ground the aircraft where it sits.
     
  18. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Because they didn't bother to look.

    Another couple of excerpts from FAR43, Appendix D, which outlines the bare legal minimum required by an annual or 100-hour inspection:

    (5) Flight and engine controls—for improper installation and improper operation.

    (7) All systems—for improper installation, poor general condition, apparent and obvious defects, and insecurity of attachment.


    Now, the control cables and pulleys for the elevator, rudder and elevator trim are all found running through the tailcone. They're the "flight controls" and some of the "all systems" mentioned in the Appendix. So how does the mechanic comply with those requirements without pulling the aft cabin covers and sticking a flashlight down there and having a good look, at a minimum? Or making sure pulleys aren't seized or cables fraying without actually crawling in there to feel stuff?

    We just had a thread on a failed elevator control on a Grumman, didn't we? Guess what I'm suspecting!
     
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  19. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    Someone else suggested something similar to me - sell the engine, avionics etc and donate the fuselage to an A&P school.
     
  20. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Looks like you bought an artificial reef
     
  21. TonyG

    TonyG Filing Flight Plan

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    Just a side comment on Annual inspections and my view on how Bell206's comments are being interpreted.

    In addition to all the other lessons in this thread, a related (perhaps more minor) one is a reminder that an annual is an INSPECTION. My view of annuals changed dramatically when I started viewing the inspection and repairs separately. When folks talk about annuals costing many thousands of dollars, they're usually conflating the two - the inspection costs what it costs, usually not a whole lot, but the repairs to return an airplane to airworthiness may be astronomical.

    So for me, separating these issues led to two changes in my thinking about owning and operating:
    1. Taking steps to get out in front of maintenance and repairs is hugely beneficial. I instruct in my plane, so I have the advantage of 100 hour inspections - and I do mean advantage. That gets a separate set of eyes on it in a comprehensive inspection -- finding unairworthy items earlier and getting trends noticed. Sure, there are always surprises, but unairworthiness doesn't wait for annuals, and neither should detection and repairs. That said, this doesn't really relate to the OP's issue.
    2. (This is much more applicable to the OP's issue) The annual is supposed to be a comprehensive inspection. To Bell206's point - as sad as the findings so far are, this airplane hasn't even completed its annual inspection yet. I'd want the comprehensive list of squawks, in two categories: Airworthiness issues and those not impacting airworthiness. I'd then make the decision on second opinion on the airworthiness issues. But the OP is kind of missing a leg on a three-legged stool. Suppose, however unlikely, he gets a second opinion that says "none of this corroded stuff is structural, clean it up, chromate it, and return to service". Then the IA continues the inspection and finds that the engine is toast. Well, crap. A comprehensive inspection is what you're buying, and the OP hasn't gotten it yet.
    Just my 2 cents.

    --Tony
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
  22. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Pattern Altitude

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    I wouldn't scrap or list it for sale for parts yet. You still need to contact the previous owner to see about getting your money back. I'm sure if that was to happen, you'd give the whole plane back.
     
  23. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Irma victim?
     
  24. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Because they don’t understand.

    I’ve performed annuals on many very sketchy airplanes and when the owner is given the findings they start fighting and rationalizing some seriously broken things as being ok and then they try to get you to sign it off without repairs. I’ve seen the same thing as an instructor - go do a runup and find a discrepancy that requires a taxi back to the Mx hangar and they ignore it and want to go. Risk is not in their vocabulary.

    I’ve fired all the owners who ask me to work on their plane and sign stuff off that is unsatisfactory. That has left me with one owner I do work for. He has enough projects to keep me busy for two lifetimes anyway, so it’s no skin off my nose. The other owners have just migrated to another mechanic who’s signature is for sale and their problems persist.
     
  25. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Is there a sarcasm tag I missed? This is like the 5th post talking about the seller as some sort of tractable, honest actor. I want to live in this world where people get their money back from as-is sellers who dodged the bullet. It's a musical chairs affair, this game of plausible deniability, and the person who got a chair before the music stopped isn't your friend.

    IOW, that guy's gone. Wish in one hand, and s---- on the other, see which one fills up first. All the owners I've attempted to contact after the sale (2 out of 3 airplane purchases so far), have gone radio silent, and I wasn't trying to redress anything post-sale either. That's just humanity. The fact we happen to share interest in airplanes doesn't make us have much in common values-wise otherwise.

    The sale was an 'as-is' transaction. As such, that guy is the farthest rock out there when it comes to the legal liability target list. He is literally the one guy who came out of all this the best, and dodged the bullet outright.
     
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  26. Non Compos Mentis

    Non Compos Mentis Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Constant communication preferred here.
    I have a great relationship with my A&P/IA, and stop by the shop daily when the airplane is being inspected.
    More efficient for him, "Easy to fix while I'm right here", decisions are made as we go.
    He encourages my involvement, so I do the dummy work of removing access panels & interior.
    I am very aware that my number one job is to NOT distract him, or waste any of his time.
    Works good for both of us- The efficiency saves me a little cash, and he gets his valuable shop space back for the next customer.
     
  27. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don't remember if this was mentioned, but are the buyer and seller in the same state? If so, what is that limit for small claims cases in that state?
     
  28. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Not at all. This would be my project from start to finish. Don't know your experience with with heavy level mx but there is certain work you just don't want to start just anywhere . Major S/M work at the top of the list. Perhaps an example.

    OP brings me his airplane. I find initial corr. Next complete annual to determine condition of entire aircraft. Make disc list and discuss with OP. We determine corr main issue and I look into t further finding the bagg comp corrosion. After discussing corr with various shops make arrangements to ferry aircraft further review. At the shop the aircraft tail section is disassembled, evaluated, and a bid developed. Aircraft is repaired, reassembled, and flown back home. All work done and aircraft available for service.

    Cost: ferry flight and permit $500; shop evaluation and repair $5000; flight home $100
    Time: 1 day ferry; 7 days eval/repair; 1 day flight home
    Total: $5600 @ 9 days

    Now with current OPs situation:
    Cost: locate alternate storage for aircraft $250 per day; disassemble/crate aircraft for road transport to shop $4000; road transport $500; shop evaluation etc etc etc. But you get the idea.

    No kicking can down road . As I mentioned I keep my customers interests #1.
     
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  29. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Likewise. I always took my plane to a different shop to do the annuals as opposed to using my regular maintenance shop. Gave a chance to put another set of eyes on it in case the regular maintenance folks missed something.

    It doesn't have to be more expensive doing it that way unless someone is cutting corners or gouging. If you keep up with routine maintenance then the annual is pretty easy. At least in my experience.
     
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  30. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks for the clarification. What you say seems reasonable, but honestly, knowing there is undiagnosed corrosion, I wouldn't feel comfortable flying the aircraft with a ferry permit, but I suppose there are people who would do that. I have no experience with maintenance, what you write seems like a reasonable way to do it. Thanks for spelling it out for me. I still probably would be happy with the OPs mechanic though, because he found what others missed or hid, but that's just me.
     
  31. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    Nope. Seller in TN, buyer in MA
     
  32. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    I wouldn't call it "undiagnosed" corr. It's not like the ferry flight review process is a crapshoot then fly. Sometimes it doesn't work out and you have to go with Plan B. As to flying in the aircraft with corr issues I have no problem due to my GOM background. Cracks on the other hand or structural deformations I tend to draw the line at. But have seem some aircraft get ferried with same. Once was picking up some wing cores after a weather event and there was a Gulf GIII there that took a 172 into the vertical fin breaking the fwd spar and cutting a few other critical items. The Gulf mx crew sized up the damage, had a special fin leading edge doubler made, Huck riveted in place and ferried the GIII with gear down to GA for repair. That one gave even me a raised eyebrow.
     
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  33. JAWS

    JAWS Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have looked after an old Cherokee. That looks like the aft portion of the baggage door frame. The door probably leaks. I would be worried about the aft spar attach if this area is having issues. This is a known bad area on these aircraft. My boroscope was invaluable in looking under the baggage floor.

    If there are other areas like this, I would not be very keen to be putting my name and licence to a ferry flight permit. I would be very cautious.
     
  34. JAWS

    JAWS Cleared for Takeoff

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    Saw a 185 get ferried with tree branches pushed inside the wing for support and hose clamps holding a 2x4 along the strut. But at least there was known good metal, it was just bent wrong. Corossion is insidious and ruins the base metal.
     
  35. YKA

    YKA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not myself, or any of the pilots I know, would want that. I wouldn't accept a $200 annual, no way. In fact I would be questioning a $900 annual and asking if they did a thorough job, because labor costs alone add up fast. Even if you only fly a measly 200 hours a year, a $900 annual is just $4.50 per hour. First plane I owned entirely on my own was a 210, I had a bank account just for it, and on top of fuel which I paid for on the spot with my Visa, I put $60 for every hour I flew it, to cover the bills. Ever since then, and even after I sold my beloved 210 I kept that account and add money to it monthly, saving up towards my next airplane(s). Money just keeps piling up so the next plane can be better, and a healthy reserve for whatever you want to do, be it a new engine or panel. As I shop now, I won't spend every dime on a plane, so if I need to toss money at it after buying, I can. Yes I will be getting anything I'm seriously considering buying inspected. I'll be specifically asking for a very thorough examination of it. In 2007 when I bought my 210, the pre purchase inspection alone cost me $850. I knew everything wrong with it before buying, and an estimated cost to repair each item. That helped me negotiate the price down $8,000 and then before I flew it spent $9,400 making it right.
     
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  36. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    "I bought an airplane. It was in annual. As soon as my new mechanic started the next inspection, we found this." End of story.
     
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  37. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    I think it already was one at one time
     
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  38. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    If the FSDO gets involved, what is the likelihood of them taking the data plate? Not that the fuselage was any good to begin with, but that eliminates any chance of someone attempting a repair, if one was possible. One other thing that I don't believe has been brought up. We know the owner/A&P that painted it and put interior had to have known about the corrosion. It probably explains why it was painted just white. The overhaul was also done the same year the lipstick was put on. Does anyone really trust the overhaul to be any better than the airframe? Such a crappy situation and you start to question everything.
     
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  39. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    They won't take the data tag, but they might take the AWC.

    Read FAR 45.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  40. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I would fly the gulfstream before the Cherokee.