What would you do if you found out the plane you bought was not airworthy?

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Salty, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    I'm modifying the situation a bit to protect the innocent, but here's the general scenario:

    • Plane purchased without a pre-buy inspection by an independent A&P
    • Buyer trusted seller (a reputable flight school) to know if the plane was airworthy
    • Seller performed an annual inspection before the sale and signed it off as airworthy
    • A few months later, the buyer realizes that two AD's are not complied with
    • For one of the AD's, an initial inspection was done, but the AD specifies that a fix be implemented within 100 hours and continuing inspections done every 25 hours until the fix is completed - factory will cover the expense of the fix if done within a year (that was 5 years and 1000 hours ago). No fix was made, and no further inspections were ever logged
    • The school rented out this airplane for instruction, while unairworthy, for almost 5 years.
    Obviously, the buyer screwed up here, but that's not the point. What's done is done. I'm not privy to any contract information, let's assume it was a "as is" contract.

    The question is how would you deal with the situation? Would you expect the seller to resolve the issues? Would you talk to the FAA or resolve it quietly?

    I jokingly recommended that he call the seller and tell them he's bringing it in for repairs after he calls the FSDO for a ferry permit (indirectly ratting out the school) and let them decide if they want to do things differently. ;)
     
  2. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah try the first above, then maybe the second will convince the seller.
     
  3. aftCG

    aftCG Pre-Flight

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    Protect the innocent? Not sure there is any here.

    I have sympathy for the buyer who trusted a really unethical mechanic/aircraft owner. Harsh lesson. (Hint: Sellers don't do annuals out off the kindness of their heart)

    I would give the seller one opportunity to fix it right. That place was generating revenue from a non air worthy plane.
     
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  4. Non Compos Mentis

    Non Compos Mentis Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'd prolly look in the mirror and say:
    "That guy's ugly AND stupid"

    Then comply with the AD and go fly
     
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  5. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Would you trust bringing the airplane back to the seller for repair? I don't think I would.
     
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  6. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I would encourage said seller to materially participate in the repair (I think that’s official speak for pay for it). If the seller demurred from rectifying the damages he caused me through his fraudulent sales practices I might seek remuneration from other sources. I think I might mention pointedly that this would likely result in some sort of officialdom learning of their unsafe practices.
     
  7. bradg33

    bradg33 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Depends, to some extent, on how much we're talking to fix it. $1k? $2k? $3k? $10k? If in the $1-5k range, buyer will be money and time/frustration ahead if he just fixes and moves on with life. Treat it as a lesson learned for making a stupid decision (buying w/o a pre-buy). Those asserting things like "fraud" likely don't know how difficult fraud really is to prove (and how much it would cost to pursue).
     
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  8. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Cleared for Takeoff

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    Like others have said it depends on the cost to bring the aircraft into compliance. If we are talking a couple grand or less I would probably call them and politely ask for them to at least split the bill and if they didn't suck it up as a lesson learned. If we are talking 10k, well I would more firmly request they repair the airplane or speak with my lawyer.
     
  9. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Call these guys.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Compliance with FAR part 39 is totally up to the owner. who owns the aircraft now ? that is who must comply.

    the big issue I see here is the annual was signed off as airworthy when it was not. More than one A&P-IA has lost there certificate for this.
    The FAA takes this issue seriously, and will act on this when informed of it, and the log book with their name and number is all the proof they need.
     
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  11. SEMOAV

    SEMOAV Pre-Flight

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    I would say it is a learning lesson. Never buy an aircraft without a prebuy. I always recommend an annual as a prebuy. Also,depending on the AD it could still be airworthy (I would have to know more info). Sadly, this stuff sucks but it happens frequently.
     
  12. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    What does the sales contract say? When I bought Candy it was explicit that the plane was airworthy at the time of the transfer.

    The clause stated:
    7. Warranties. Seller warrants that: (a) the Aircraft is in airworthy condition; (b) the Aircraft has a current annual inspection; (c) the Aircraft has a currently effective Standard Category airworthiness certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration; (d) all of the Aircraft's logbooks are accurate and current; (e) all applicable Airworthiness Directives have been complied with.

    I think 7(e) would have dealt with the OP's problem.
     
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  13. SEMOAV

    SEMOAV Pre-Flight

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    Very good point. A solid contract is hard to beat. But sometimes enforcing the contract can be difficult and expensive.
     
  14. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Seen similar posts on POA/Redboard for decades now.
    Number of times i recall anyone has returned to triumphantly say, "We won! Seller had to pay up!" or "Nailed that A+P, he was sanctioned"........zero.

    It's mostly Buyer Beware in the light airplane world.
     
  15. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    Sounds like the seller (flight school) and its mechanic messed up. The flight school as owner had responsibilities in regards to the ADs as did the mechanic/IA. They are both likely in violation of the regulations if my reading of the circumstances is correct.

    However, it also would appear that the buyer did not do an adequate records review if any records review at all. If the buyer did not pull an AD list from the FAA and did not check the aircraft's compliance with those ADs then the buyer is at fault as well. If the buyer (new owner) flew the aircraft after taking possession with ADs not complied with, he also is in violation of the regulations.

    As to asking FSDO for a special flight permit (proper term) to fly to a location where the AD can be complied with, certain ADs disallow this. So the ADs might need to be complied with where it sits. And of course by mentioning it to the FSDO, the new owner is basically admitting his violation of the regulations.

    Is the new owner absolutely certain of the ADs, their applicability and their status? What are the ADs? Do you have the AD numbers? I'm more likely to believe a new (possibly rookie?) owner is mistaken than believe a "reputable" flight school and A&P/IA screwed up this bad.
     
  16. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In my experience, people that buy airplanes without a prebuy, don’t typically have a signed contract either.
     
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  17. edo2000

    edo2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think this is generally true. I am guilty of taking shortcuts on aircraft purchases myself. I don't do it any more. It is always tempting to skip the expense, complexity, and effort of doing comprehensive pre-buy inspections, title searches, and creating well-crafted contracts, especially if the seller is known to you and has a good reputation. But it can absolutely bite you in the ...

    Having said that, in this case, I would definitely negotiate with the seller for some recoup of the repairs needed. Depending on the situation, it may very well be in their best interests to step up. The OP didn't say, but it is even possible that there was some poor maintenance and poor mx record keeping done and the folks who were in charge of selling the aircraft didn't even know of the discrepancies.
     
  18. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As a seller I might be tempted to put in the sales contract or bill of sale
    "Buyer understands the airplane is being sold where is, as is - and comes with No Warranty of any kind regarding state of airworthiness or condition of the aircraft, or of any part or component of the aircraft. Buyer is free to inspect aircraft or paperwork before purchasing, to detect any problem or defect in advance; anything noted after the sale is the full and complete responsibility of the buyer."
    ...or wording as approved by an attorney familiar with such matters.
    In attempt to ensure buyer is clear about what seller expects, and to prevent 'come-backs' like this.

    This is how I'd expect to buy an airplane as well.
     
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  19. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    That probably wouldn't help when you're a school that's been flying it illegally and don't want it publicized.
     
  20. Cruiser

    Cruiser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would like to hear what the seller has to say....... keep us posted.
     
  21. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Hence a PROPER pre buy
     
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  22. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    He's agreed to assist. How much remains to be seen.
     
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  23. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    I would take it to reputable shop for repairs. If the other party didn’t offer to help I would disclose everything to the closest flight standards office. No emotion or anger. I would not extort them. Just ****em if they don’t help
     
  24. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You must have wanted that particular aircraft,either due to price,or appearance. Since the owner is willing to work with you. The lesson may not be as bad as you think.
     
  25. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    It's not my plane. But valid guess.
     
  26. JAWS

    JAWS Line Up and Wait

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    Oddly enough, Mike Busch covers almost this exact scenario.



    Actually, his youtube channel has all of his webinars from EAA.
     
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  27. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    Not sure if his helps but here goes.

    Having just had my airplane logs looked at by the FAA (for my rookie-arse stupid plot mistake) - they had full access to my aircraft logs. Other than a few simple clerical items, no issues and I thought I was treated pretty well. So I definitely have no beef against the FSDO or the ASI's involved. At no point in time did I feel they were on a hunt to ground the plane. But your case is different. Do you really want the ASI's to open up your logs books, after telling them in advance it was not airworthy - just to stick it to the seller? I am sure their supervisor would require them to dig deep in that situation. Remember to them, the only truly safe plane is one on the ground! Who knows, they might find something even worse in there. Heck, you might want to know that...just not pay for it :(

    So I think the seller being willing to work with you is awesome. Otherwise if its a AMU or less, chalk it up to a lesson learned. If its a lot of money then it sucks and its still a lesson learned.
     
  28. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    well....desperate times call for desperate measures. Maybe contact the previous IA and ask how he'd like to proceed? New owner pays for materials....the previous IA does the work?

    The last thing you want is a fishing expedition....and your airplane tagged unairworthy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  29. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    That is very easy to over come, make it airworthy.
     
  30. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    easy for you to say.....o_O
     
  31. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    So because some guy doesn't do his due diligence everyone else should pay?

    Buyer straight screwed up, majorly, buying a plane without a prebuy is NUTS!!

    So, sorry, maybe ask the old owner if he would like to help, but if he says no, running to the Feds and everyone and their mother trying to force the sellers hand afer you already shook it, please, if he won't help you out of the kindness of his heart let it be and learn from your mistake
     
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  32. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    Again, this isn't my airplane, I was trying to ask for someone else so they didn't have too take the abuse. My airplane was perfectly airworthy until I took the engine out of it last weekend.

    Fwiw, I didn't do a pre buy either, but I'd been flying the plane for over a year and scoured the logs with my mechanic long before I bought it. I already knew all its warts before I decided to buy.

    And.... I did tell him to get a pre buy but he didn't listen to me. In fact, I told him flat out not to buy it and he didn't listen. Lol
     
  33. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Bull ****, the aircraft was misrepresented as airworthy with fresh annual.
     
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  34. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    Let's say it was a third party IA that did the annual and they missed two significant ADs?
     
  35. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Call em up and ask him what he wants to do.
     
  36. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    My point was that it's not a simple fact of a buyer not doing due diligence. The seller certified the aircraft was airworthy when they signed the annual, but it wasn't.
     
  37. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    Is it a question of knowledge? As in the seller certified it was airworthy to the best of his/her knowledge? The best of knowledge may be implied based on contract type (this is what I have been told, but you need a lawyer to answer).
    So therefore, if the seller did not know about the issues, then the seller is in the clear. Now the seller may be an oblivious idiot....

    Tim
     
  38. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    then report the two IAs, that all you can do.
     
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  39. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That.

    Let the buyer beware.
     
  40. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Did Tom hack your account....o_O