Taking you plane back to the factory for a pre buy - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by k9medic, Jun 22, 2022.

  1. k9medic

    k9medic Line Up and Wait

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    I have offered up one of my planes for sale and several inquirers have asked about me flying it to their mechanic. We have no doubt had that discussion on here before and seen the horror stories that come from it but I was asked something new the other day -

    Would I fly it back to the factory for them to do the inspection?

    Given that this falls into the same category as flying it to another location, I declined for the same reason but it got me thinking... What better place to have an aircraft checkout out?

    I'm not talking some experimental like a Team Tango or a Rotorway. I'm talking a production aircraft, but I cannot see an overall justification for what you may be charged.

    In my mind this would be like taking a Porsche to the dealer for an oil change and paying $500 versus going to the local import specialty shop and having it done for $150. We know there are some subjectivities when it comes to A&P/IA's and I would think that the factory shop would point out every single thing in order to "bring it to factory standard" that would certainly outprice the process. Something along the line of "this is a rusty nut and needs to be replaced" type of thing.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    I flew my plane to another airport for the prebuy inspection. I didn't have a problem when they found something that caused them to pass on purchasing. Mechanic buttoned it up, I went and picked it up, and brought it home.

    The horror stories mostly exist in their heads. Or they heard about a hangar neighbors cousins babysitters uncles coworkers guy down the street, but no first hand experience.
     
  3. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    I suspect the manufacturer would not want to get involved in pre-buys - high hassle to reward ratio, but let us know if it transpires.
     
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  4. k9medic

    k9medic Line Up and Wait

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    Same here until last year... I had a prebuy being done on a twin. They seller found a local shop and flew it there since his normal guy couldn't get it done in the time that the contact called for. On day one I got a call from the A&P/IA asking me if I wanted to go any further with the prebuy and I asked him why.

    He sent me a list of items with photos that honestly scared the crap out of me. I think the corrosion was holding the plane together. Needless to say I passed on it and the seller wound up with a huge repair bill.
     
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  5. masloki

    masloki Cleared for Takeoff

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    As a buyer, the only factory that’d have an edge in my mind is the plane was made in the last ten years or so and total number of examples is low. Mooney as an example, not sure anyone local has seen enough Acclaims to know their weak spots whereas the factory fields call day in and out. But, a nice 1967 C, the factory is likely to be more confused than your local Mooney guys that have forgotten more about the C than you can ever hope to learn. I don’t know the rest of the families out there, but it’s likely a no on most Cessnas and Pipers, maybe on the Beeches and Cirri.
     
  6. Kristin

    Kristin Pattern Altitude

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    There is no way that the factory is going to do a pre-buy. The legal department would have a sh*t fit if it was even suggested.

    In many cases, the factory is not the repository of knowledge. Take Piper for example. No one is Vero Beach knows much about any of the Pipers that were designed and built in Lock Haven. 15 years ago, I visited Piper and parked my Twin Comanche on their ramp. Numerous employees were astonished to find out that it was a Piper.
     
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  7. k9medic

    k9medic Line Up and Wait

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    Let's say some place like True Flight Aerospace which bought the Grumman type certificate or Husky up in Georgia?

    There are some Cessna places like TAS that are just like the factory when it comes to certain airframes too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
  8. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I know American Champion does inspections and annuals for Citabrias and Decathlons, as well as complete overhauls of existing aircraft. I would wager a guess that is half of their business working on existing aircraft as building new.
     
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  9. wheaties

    wheaties Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I know it has been a sellers market but if you're not willing to transport your plane or allow it to be ferried to the mechanic of the buyer’s choice, why would you consider selling it? Even at your home field, some other mechanic is going to tear into your bird.

    It's far easier and less risk prone to let the fella tear into it at his own shop than have him transport all the tools he thinks he'll need. 9 times out of 10 he'll reach for something he forgot and just "figure it out" as he goes. That's how screws and things aren't tightened...
     
  10. k9medic

    k9medic Line Up and Wait

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    The discussion on this has always been subjective. If I have to have a cylinder pulled I want it to sit in my hangar if I have the option. In this case, flying a plane somewhere else would potentially not give you that option.

    On my most recent annual in my 310, I had a cylinder come back at 24psi. You would never have known it was a low cylinder. We were able to pull it the same day and I drove it to the engine shop for a replacement the next morning. Less than 24 hours after we found the issue, it was resolved.

    I would surmise though that the factory would be even more thorough, potentially driving costs higher for things that may more may not be unairworthy.
     
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  11. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    As has been mentioned, some manufacturers also take on repairs and inspections on used aircraft. I would not have any problem taking any aircraft that I own or maintain to one of those facilities for a PPI.

    But if we’re discussing an aircraft type with a manufacturer that is not known for offering those services, I’d probably decline and the manufacturer would likely also.
     
  12. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    I don't know. I bought a brand new 1969 Cessna A185E and picked it up at the factory. When I got it home I found that it had an AD that the factory didn't bother to fix during assembly.
     
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  13. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The voices in my head said the Manufacturer's lawyers would fall down and ROTFLTAO if anyone even suggested it.
     
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  14. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That is why you do a pre-buy.

    The stories I have heard are of the shop opening it up, then not putting it back together when the buyer backs out. But that is what the deposit is for. If the buyer backs out, they still have to put the airplane back together and get it back to where it came from.
     
  15. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mooney is now doing annuals and service on their aircraft.
     
  16. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Those are some of the horror stories we all hear. A pre-buy shop opens up an airplane, finds some major defect (wing about to fall off, etc.) that renders the airplane unairworthy, and now the seller is on the hook for massive, expensive, unanticipated repairs on their aircraft, at a shop they don't know, far away from home.
     
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  17. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    I'm good with a third party pre-buy. You think my mechanic is biased, I think yours is biased. I don't think Piper would do a pre buy on anything built during the Johnson administration.
     
  18. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    Find a shop within x amount of miles from me, I'll fly it there.
     
  19. Randomskylane

    Randomskylane Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Is this a 53 year old story?
     
  20. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    Its not a matter of location but what is considered a "prebuy" between the buyer and seller. There is no official "prebuy" reference. By allowing a potential buyer to disassemble an aircraft in the simple name of a prebuy can potentially open up issues for both the seller and the mechanic performing the prebuy. As to taking it back to the OEM that was what the service centers were for. Unfortunately a number of OEMs have let that side go. But as I've stated a number of times in the past, the best person to perform a prebuy is the APIA who will maintain the aircraft for the buyer. He alone will be the person who will point out what was missed on any previous 3rd party prebuy. If they aren't available then they should be involved from the beginning and be part of the selection process of any 3rd party prebuy provider.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
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  21. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’m not sure I’d be happy going back to the manufacturer.I would think the buyer believes he is getting a good as new aircraft at your expense. Depends how deep they want to go.
     
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  22. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    True Flight has a factory? They actually make stuff?
     
  23. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Hold up, what? The Comanche is up for grabs? :eek:
     
  24. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    8 - 9 years ago
     
  25. k9medic

    k9medic Line Up and Wait

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    From their website - "True Flight Aerospace, LLC was organized to manufacture, sell, and service the AG-5B Tiger and it’s kin, the Grumman American line of light aircraft."


    Given that I would say they make stuff?
     
  26. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would be talking to the shop that did the last annual about why they missed something that big. Unless it is something that could have occured since the last annual.

    Not likely with massive corrosion.

    Seller could get a ferry permit.
     
  27. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    I would say that the statement describes their intent but not necessarily their reality. :)
     
  28. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I've seen at least two airplanes that underwent inspections by several IAs and a DAR that had serious corrosion issues. So while you might think the corrosion should be obvious, it isn't always as obvious as you would think.
     
  29. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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  30. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    And I would be asking all of them how they missed it.

    A pre-buy is less than an annual. So there should not be anything ongoing that was missed on the last annual or two.
     
  31. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I'll reiterate, corrosion doesn't always look like what you think it does. In some cases it can be easy to overlook. In the cases I'm referring to, I can't fault anyone for not catching it.

    I'm sure I've missed stuff too.
     
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  32. pfarber

    pfarber Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Why? A manufacturer would love to see thier plane and fine tooth comb it. Every nit would be picked as profit.

    You do know what an MRO is? Most manufacturers are defacto authorized to repair.

    Not seeing the big deal here.
     
  33. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Let’s just re-attach liability by passing expert judgement on something we haven’t seen in 40 to 60 years. No big deal at all.
     
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  34. Kristin

    Kristin Pattern Altitude

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    The insurers would put the kibosh to that. It would open the OEM's to substantial amounts of liability for aircraft that are now covered by GARA. Further, there are many models which have not be produced in 40+ years so there is no likely any in-house expertise with respect to them. Take Piper as an example. There are thousands of planes designed and built in Lock Haven, and no one is Vero Beach has any first hand knowledge of what the service issues on those aircraft. The knowledge about many of these aircraft, are in the field, not with the OEM.
     
  35. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What I see is they do a pre buy, say it's good, then it crashes, they are going to be a deep pocket that is going to be gone after. I don't see manufacturers wanting that exposure.
     
  36. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I think we have already established at least some manufacturers do inspections and maintenance of their aircraft. I know from first hand experience many jet co my companies do, as well as American Champion.
     
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  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ok. Reading through the thread I see that there are some where a new company has resurrected a previously defunct manufacturer.
     
  38. pfarber

    pfarber Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just about every turbine has manufacture support. And lyc/cont will happily take your motor and fix it up.

    If liability was such a huge deal then no MRO would ever survive.

    I get that everyone yells liability but the fact is if there is money to be made the actuary will figure it out.

    Also insurance is a thing. I doubt that insurance companies that do allow manufacturers to do work post sales have not figured it out.
     
  39. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Same with Cessna. They shut down the piston singles production in 1986, 36 years ago, laid off most of the workers, kept a few to make parts, I suppose. Started up again ten years later and had to hire a bunch of new people, and had the resulting service bulletins and ADs to prove it. By this time, anyone that worked on a 1986 airplane in the factory is long gone, working elsewhere or retired or dead. The current airframes differ considerably from the legacy stuff anyway. Different instruments (backups for the glass) that won't have the old ADs on them. Different engines, all Lycomings, all fuel-injected. Different avionics. Weaknesses in the old airframes that were fixed in the new ones. The guys building them won't have any idea what they're looking at in the old airplanes. An experienced field mechanic will know far more.
     
  40. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Lycoming takes in your engine and rebuilds it and accepts the liability. They have to accept the liability on everything they do, whether it's a new engine or a rebuilt. And you sure pay for that liability coverage. Besides that, the rebuilt is little more than the crankcase and maybe the crankshaft; just about everything else is replaced. You can dispute that, but I bought numerous Lycoming rebuilt engines, direct from the factory, and the engine log has a list of the new parts in it, and it was long. A couple of times I got a brand-new engine at the rebuilt price, which happens when they don't have a core. I must have bought 12 or 15 engines.

    As far as MROs? Deep pockets matter, in legal circles. The small shop is hardly worth suing for much, but Textron? They get sued ALL the time, and have to retain a whole team of lawyers to defend them. Their insurance costs more as a result, and you pay for that, too.

    Maybe you don't understand GARA and the 18-year liability tail?
     
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