What is a Pre-Buy ?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Tom-D, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    What should you as a buyer be asking your mechanic to do?
    I have my opinion of course, but let's get some ideas of what perspective buyers believe.
     
  2. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Caveat: Since a pre-buy/pre-purchase inspection is not officially defined, the below is my opinion/personal recommendation:

    The best pre-buy is an inspection in accordance with either an annual inspection or type club suggested pre-purchase inspection checklist performed by an independent A&P who is either recommended by the type club or at least very familiar with the type.

    Now, with that said......

    I've purchased just a few airplanes over the years and have done it a little differently every single time.

    1st airplane - 170: I used an shop on the same field as the airplane but one that hadn't previously worked on the airplane. I asked for a basic 'pre-buy' which in that shops terms was about 2/3rds of an annual inspection. I then had the same shop perform the corrective repairs of items found and finish the annual inspection. Coincidentally, the the pre-buy discovered about 2/3rds of the issues that the full annual uncovered. It was an expensive lesson learned.

    2nd airplane (Baron): Airplane was located in San Diego (where I used to be based) and I was in Virginia at the time of the sale. I had the IA who had previously maintaining my 170 do an annual inspection as the pre-buy (he also used to work for Beechcraft and was an expert in Barons/Bonanzas. This process worked exceptionally well. No real surprises and the first annual we did after delivery was actually cheap (for a Baron)

    Waco: I did the pre-buy if you can call it that. Really I walked around the airplane and did essentially a pre-flight inspection. Sounds crazy, but it had 20 hours since a full rebuild/restoration by one of the best Waco restorers in the country. The airplane was essentially brand new just no factory warranty. Has turned out to be the most reliable airplane I've owned.

    Beech 18: Purchased sight unseen, BUT I hired one of the two top Beech 18 maintenance experts in the country. The other had done the previous annual. It was done to his own 'pre-buy inspection' type specific checklist. Only had one surprise with that airplane (prop hub bound up inflight doing an inflight shut down for training), but not something that would have been discovered using any type of inspection.

    I'm now in the process of buying another airplane (Yes, the radial engines have mad me mad) and I'm not doing any pre-buy.....but I personally know the seller and he is the most anal-retentive IA I have ever come across. He is one of several experts in the type and the guy I would call to do a pre-buy on the type if someone else was selling it. I may indeed be crazy, but I don't expect many surprises.

    FWIW, the WORST pre-buy inspection I ever was involved in (I did not end up purchasing the airplane) was advertised as well maintained by a very big name shop and sold with a 'fresh-annual'. I (wisely as it turned out) brought along another IA familiar with the type to do a cursory inspection. It was the most classic case of a pencil-whipped airplane I've ever seen. Once we found the structural corrosion, it was game over.

    YMMV
     
  3. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    what is it?....and you don't know? :eek:
     
  4. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    there ya go.
     
  5. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You could enlighten us
     
  6. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It's whatever they buyer asks the inspector to do.

    In my case, I just did it myself.
     
  7. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

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    When you ask the guy in the wizard suit to do a few incantations and wave a magic wand. At which time, the corroded C120 turns into a factory new SR22.

    Did I get it right?
     
  8. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    I gots no idea.....I've never done one. :D
     
  9. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    don't forget what happened to cinderella at mid night.
     
  10. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    why not get smart enough about the type to do the inspection your self?
     
  11. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    why not just do the annual....and sign it off?
     
  12. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    big fallacy, Annuals won't show you what you need to know.
     
  13. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The one I had done was a lot of paperwork inspection. AD and SB compliance confirmed.
    All inspection plates removed and a general thumbs up or down on the riveting.

    Didn't scope the cylinders... engine was 400 SMOH and the airframe was 400TT.
     
  14. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    guess I've just been lucky....:D
     
  15. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    This was my "pre-buy" process with an independent A/P when I purchased my plane as a complete noob:

    We broke the process down into three billable parts with ordered to stop at any point that red flags came up:

    1) Log book review...all looked good so we flew the plane to the A/P
    2) Pre Buy Inspection: Quick once over looking for any red flags...mechanic thought is was solid so we progressed to:
    3) Full annual inspection...and luckily we did...found about $2k in airworthy issues that the seller covered and a few "optional" issues that I agreed to pay for. Continuing on and paying $600.00 more to take it though the full annual process saved me $2k.

    You are right that just a plain 'ol annual does not tell the whole story, but if your A/P is going through the process with an eye as a pre-buy and recommendations, that should be a different perspective I would hope.
     
  16. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    a plain old annual should be the most thorough inspection.....or you're not doing the annual correctly.
     
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  17. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Does an annual tell you how well it flys?
    Annuals are all about material condition, and compliance to FAR 91&43, (paper) is that all you want to know?
     
  18. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

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    Here are some ideas from a dumb pilot.

    The first bird I purchased was a waker upper and I kinda knew it. Then again I had an uncle A&P I could call half a content away to get ideas from. Annual went like this:

    Airplane is airworthy. There are a few things that need attention. That triggered the buy and the annual started. Dang that one was “spendy!”

    Second prebuy went like this:

    Owner decides I’m an idiot pilot and he wants to show me the wings won’t come off an old bo. So he (in a ticked off way) yanks his old bird out on the grass, fires it up in one blade, throttles up and we blast off into the sky. Good thing I don’t normally get sick in an airplane. All I could think is he sure keeps this sucker running well. Four years later I pay cash for his airplane. (I sent a local A&P for the softest prebuy ever. Dang- never knew an annual could be so cheap with the A&P saying the new SR22 he is working on is dirtier than that old A35!)

    One thing to consider is that us newbee dumb pilots need to be told this one is a sink hole for money before the prebuy contract is signed. There is nothing as frustrating or rewarding as buying an airplane.

    I still like the wizard concept though. Work on that one.
     
  19. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    An annual is not a pre-purchase inspection. An annual determines what, if anything, is required to be done to maintain the airplane status as legally airworthy, nothing more.

    A pre-purchase goes beyond that and should provide the information needed to assess whether the condition of the airplane is commensurate with the price being paid. A lot of components can be well worn but still within airworthiness limits for an annual. Or you might have a plane that's the opposite.

    That lovely looking Cessna 180 with the jazzy paint and nice interior might pass an annual just fine. But any time I see a 180 with nice P&I it's just about a sure bet the pre-purchase is going to uncover a past pile up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
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  20. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    This is so true.
     
  21. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    My impression of what a pre-buyshould be.
    I'll not say what should be inspected.
    If I were a buyer that was buying any aircraft no matter what breed or vintage, I do this.
    I'd find the guy/gal that was to be my mechanic doing the next annual.
    I would pay that person to inspect the aircraft, and be able to answer this question.
    What will it cost me to have you do my annual next year? excluding the wear items that will change in one year.
    Get that cost in writing, and hold the mech to it.
    when that cost exceeds the expected costs or your budget . WALK.

    If it meets your requirements / costs. go for it. go fly the aircraft, check all system in flight. see what fails add that to next years cost.
    re-compare
     
  22. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Once this thread is slowed down, I will ask; would you as a seller allow an A+P buyer to do the tearing apart, opening up for an inspection himself?
     
  23. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    If there was a purchase agreement and a down payment made then yes. Hopefully if the airplane is rejected the down payment would cover anything that the purchaser's mechanic wrecked.

    But I'd probably try to be present at the inspection and help disassemble the plane. I've put enough personal sweat equity into any airplane I'm selling that I would not be happy if some yahoo ripped it apart and broke a bunch of stuff in the process.
     
  24. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That does happen.
     
  25. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    A thorough review of the logbooks is as important as a physical inspection from my perspective.
     
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  26. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    you don't test fly after the inspection with a full blown checklist run-up?

    ....and we all know it's the paperwork that keeps things safe. :D
     
  27. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Dream on, The last aircraft I bought I couldn't even see all the parts. I just loaded it and brought it home, the one before that I just did a walk around, paid for it, pulled the wings and trailered it home.

    Pre-buy inspection and what they should contain are dependent upon why you bought it.
     
  28. Shepherd

    Shepherd Pattern Altitude

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    A pre-buy exists solely to determine whether you have enough money and enough time to make the reality of the aircraft you are looking at into the aircraft you imagined it to be.
    If the time involved or money involved is greater than your resources, the smart buyer will walk away.
     
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