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. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Hmmmm, this is POA, someone must be abused.
     
  2. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    Sometimes I think people like to make things out to be a bigger deal than necessary. Why not simply address the problems and move forward? You'll have an airworthy airplane that can be enjoyed a whole lot sooner than you will if you wait around trying to force someone else take the blame and pay for the mistakes.

    Also, you may believe that your own airplane is 110% airworthy but I'd bet if you gave your logbooks and the airplane to a different IA than the one you normally use they'll find something that isn't quite right somewhere. How can anyone prove that the IA signing off the last annual had knowledge of the missed ADs and purposely did not complete them?

    I have a similar story. A friend of mine bought an airplane and had owned it for several years before I began helping him with the maintenance. I perused the AD list and found that the airplane had an AC fuel pump installed, which had an AD on it to inspect a screen for debris. The previous mechanic was signing it off as not having an AC brand fuel pump and he didn't believe the AD applied (I don't think he could see the AC stamp on the casting). Going back into the records further, I found some entries from around 1994 or so which indicated that the AD was being complied with at that time and prior to that point. Between 1994 and 2013 nobody had complied with the AD and also during that time it was imported to the US from Canada. This airplane went through Canadian inspectors, US Inspectors, a US DAR, and a couple of IAs in the years since the import without ever being noticed. So could we have went back and tried to blame someone for not complying with this AD and overlooking it? I suppose so, but what good would it do? We just complied with the AD and moved on, the way many people do in this kind of situation.
     
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  3. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A few people suggested just that, but the OP seems hung up on the fact that the airplane was incorrectly signed off as airworthy.




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  4. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Every airplane is. Welcome to Marketing 101.

    And all toothpaste will make your teeth pearl white and your breath minty fresh.

    If you want to know if it’s airworthy before you buy it, you inspect it yourself via your chosen mechanic.

    Once you buy it, you’re responsible for airworthiness, legally.

    Maybe the former owner will help, maybe they won’t. Hats off to them if they’re a stand up person and have morals, but many don’t.
     
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  5. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    So nobody
    so you guys think everyone should be cool with mechanics signing off on annuals when the aircraft has important ADs that have not been complied with? What the heck are we paying these guys so much for, if not this kind of due diligence?

    Also, you're ok with a school training students for years in aircraft with outstanding ADs?

    The reason I feel the seller has some responsibility is because he is also the mechanic that's been signing off. Surely we should expect mechanics to find ADs after doing 5 annuals on the aircraft - actually it was more, because they were doing 100 hour inspections because of students renting. I would not have the same expectations from a seller that wasn't also a mechanic / flight school.

    I still think the buyer should have done an independent pre-buy, but I also understand his logic in expecting the plane to have been maintained at least to the faa standard for a flight school.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  6. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    As I understand it, the buyer is purchasing the parts and the seller will do the work. Personally, I still think that sucks when the manufacturer would have paid for one of them completely if it had been done within the required year.

    Fwiw, he's happy with the arraignment, so I guess it's a happy ending.
     
  7. patlaw

    patlaw Filing Flight Plan

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    It seems to me that there may be two issues here. If your friend bought the plan "as is", he's stuck unless the seller wants to thelp. The A&P signing off on a plane that is not airworthy is another issue. The FAA probably wants to know about it. However, using the A&P's misbehavior as leverage against the seller might be effective, but in some jurisdictions, threatening might be a problem. Try to get the seller to do the right thing. Talk with the A&P about the sign-off. Determine an angle of attack. Make sure the buyer's documentation is in perfect order. People who misrepresent and hide things need to be held accountable, to the extent that it's legally able to do so, but it needs to be done the right way.
     
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  8. josephades

    josephades Pre-Flight

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    Regardless of what the contract states, the FSDO will still go after the mechanics who illegally signed off the logbooks knowing that ADs were not complied with.

    So I would call the seller, threaten them that if they don’t pay my mechanic of choice to comply with the missing ADs and the fake logbook sign offs, then they risk getting their A&P revoked by the FAA per the FDSO.

    Keep in mind that if you open up an investigation with the FSDO, they will also most likely inspect other planes that the A&P signed off. Assuming the mechanic illegally signed off tons of other planes, those plane owners will also open up disputes with the mechanic, and possibly a class action lawsuit.

    So, bottom line, the seller has a choice. Either pay to fix, or end his career after an investigation is opened

    Don’t be scared. Your customer got screwed over, and now it’s time to get the seller back

    I dealt with something a bit similar, twice, and got my way both times with the above tactic. I spoke to my local FSDO inspector before making any threats, to ensure that the information I was providing was accurate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  9. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Report the IAs - do it for the rest of us.
     
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  10. patlaw

    patlaw Filing Flight Plan

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    Be careful threatening with an action that could be interpreted as extortion.

    Your flight path may vary.
     
  11. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's not that anyone thinks it is okay. People screw things up. You asked what should be done in this situation where your friend bought a lemon with a crappy purchase arrangement. That's spilt milk.

    Now....you can seek revenge or you can make it right. The two are (more often than not) mutually exclusive.

    In this case, it seems that the seller is at least willing to work with the buyer to make it right. In my experience, that is the best you could hope for in such a situation.

    From the info you have provided, it sounds like buyer and seller screwed things up in different ways. So fix it, chalk it up as a humbling lesson learned and move on.
     
  12. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Did the defendant make bail? ;)
     
  13. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    As a seller I'd never agree to that.
    The aircraft is sold as it is, where it is, no warrantees written or implied.
    take it or leave it.
     
  14. Norman

    Norman En-Route

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    I once had a customer who was hot to buy a PA 28 retract (don't remember the exact model) that had fresh paint and a new interior. He wanted that plane badly until I took a close look at the wings. They had been re skinned and not with the normal rivets but with countersunk flush rivets. Not dimpled, but countersunk.

    I called my PMI to take a look. Based on his observation my customer declined to purchase. The IA who signed off that repair also lost his certificate.
     
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  15. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    The phrase "buyer beware" has been around so long it was originally written in Latin.
     
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  16. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Disclaimer: yes, I understand that when dealing with IA sign offs intent isn’t necessarily relevant, and an “airworthy” sign off when an AD hasn’t been complied with is bad for the IA whether he intended to or not. That said..

    It seems that you have immediately made the quantum leap from the AD not being complied with to nefarious intent. Other than missed rental time, if I’m reading this correctly the school had nothing to lose by complying with the repair/AD (factory reimbursement) and everything to lose by not doing so (current situation). It seems more likely to me that if the initial inspection(s) required were completed, it morphed into “AD completed”by the AP/IA, possibly due to any number of factors.
    Yes, your friend inherited a crap filled Twinkie.
    Yes, the IA ultimately signed off an unairworthy aircraft.
    Yes, this situation sucks (I learned 8.5 AMU’s worth of the same lessons my first annual, it sucks).
    It looks like the matter is being resolved. I hope your friend can get airborne soon and from personal experience, the wallet drain-induced migraine will eventually subside..
     
  17. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Aviation is also a small community, chances are you will achieve a couple things with this poorly thought out plan.

    1
    the Feds will go over that plane with a fine tooth comb, chances are they will find other nits to pick as well, YOU will now have to pay even MORE money to get the plane airworthy again than if you just licked your wounds and fixed it yourself.


    2
    anyone who hears about this, al la word of mouth, social media, forums, will not want to deal with you AT ALL, and I'm not just talking APs, most other pilots won't want to deal with you, and even people renting hangars might not want the do business with the guy who doesn't do his homework and then try's to threaten and rat on everyone becuse life wasn't fair to him.

    I can say personally as an ATP/CFI there wouldn't be a snowballs chance in hell that I'd ferry/instruct/or even help you push your plane into a hangar if I heard about that.


    But who knows, YMMV
     
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  18. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    James you so bad.

    upload_2018-1-1_9-33-26.jpeg
     
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  19. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    When you are buying any aircraft, you must know what condition it is in. When you buy the aircraft with out knowing that, I can't feel sorry for you.
     
  20. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I believe that FSDO will see this as a civil matter and not get involved.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  21. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    Why would you feel sorry for me? Because if I hired you to do an annual, I wouldn't be able to count on you to actually verify that my plane is airworthy by having AD's complied with? In that case, yeah, if that were the case, then I wouldn't expect you to care.
     
  22. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you had hired me, you would know. You would have been told don't buy that POS. What you did after that is your business.
     
  23. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    This is one of those classic situations where a buyer confuses a "fresh annual" as the same as a pre-purchase inspection, and therefore declines to do the latter.

    An annual and a pre-purchase inspection are not the same thing.

    Every pre-purchase I've ever had done I've worked with the mechanic to research and identify every single AD that's ever been applicable to the plane.

    Most mechanics doing an annual will look over the ADs listed in the log for the previous annual, add any new ones issued in the past year, and check all of those. Some mechanics taking over maintenance on a plane for the first time will do the "clean sheet" research the first year they have the plane, but I've noticed many just trust the mechanic who worked on it before and don't even do that. Especially when the customer complains about how much the annual is going to cost because the mechanic has to spend time doing due diligence.

    You get what you pay for. Unless one really knows an airplane's provenance, skipping a proper pre-purchase inspection is false economy imo. I agree with Tom's post #63 on this one (but don't tell anybody, okay ;))

    That's how scenarios like this one come about.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
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  24. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

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    Just blue-skying, but. . .my intuition is the flight school folks dropped the AD ball, but probably not intentionally. Just honestly blew it. They're willing to do the work, if the buyer supplies the parts, and that sounds like a decent compromise to me, if the parts aren't super big dollars.

    Anyway, it keeps the FAA out of the loop, which is good for everybody. And doesn't throw a flight school and IA under the bus for what might be a honest oversight.
     
  25. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I think after reading this thread, I'll never tell a perspective buyer that any aircraft is a good buy.
    It seems that all aircraft are over priced, out of annual, mechanical pieces of crap, and the only thing safe to do is tell the buyer that the aircraft is a POS and not to buy.
    I don't believe that any mechanic should get involved in any purchases, Because all they are getting into is a dispute as to what condition the POS aircraft was in.
    and we wonder why there is a mechanic shortage.
     
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  26. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Interesting. I'd have no issues warrantying the items listed in that clause. The planes I own (or co-own) are kept in strict compliance with that. If it were determined that something was pencil whipped or not repaired correctly I'd pay the claim to the buyer and then collect from whoever botched the job that I relied on in making my assertions.

    But it would be unlikely to happen to a plane in my control since I don't defer maintenance or inspections. Case in point: the recent Lycoming bushing issue hit one of our planes. We had the inspection done when it was "just" an SB. It later became an AD. Many would have waited but nope, we don't roll that way.
     
  27. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I don't believe I should address the way anyone keeps there aircraft. That is a different subject. We would have that discussion when I do an annual.
     
  28. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    on second thought, why would you want to?
    The more you write on paper, the more you are liable for.
    It's easier to simply say the aircraft is what it is, where it is.
     
  29. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I would neither buy nor sell an airplane without such warranty. Of course I've only bought one myself and a share of the others with said warranty. So 100% of my limited experience is working out.

    I'm not sure I've ever bought or sold anything with an "as-is where is" policy. Even when I've sold used avionics on eBay I've given the buyer 10 days from receipt to confirm operation. I've had to take 1 one item back. But I sleep well at night.
     
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  30. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    So you are a good guy. Every one isn't.
     
  31. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Some years ago a guy I know bought an airplane "with current annual" done by the seller's mechanic specifically for the sale. After the purchase the buyer flew home and a few days later ran into a minor problem, so he brought it into his mechanic. The buyer's mechanic found a number, serious and obvious airworthiness issues (at least I'm assuming uncertified parts used to repair an unlogged gear-up landing is serious). The buyer's mechanic immediately called in the FAA, which dutifully investigated the buyer for operating an unworthy aircraft. FAA action taken against the seller's mechanic (who had been performing work on the airplane for several years)? Zero. Nada. Zip.

    This scenario might be different today. The FAA Hotline (website) (order) has been used to investigate consumer complaints. I know they have investigated complaints against mechanics; whether they would do so in connection with a private no-warranty sale is another question. But even if it did, it might provide some vengeance, not necessarily a recovery.
     
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  32. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    In any contract, airplane purchase or otherwise, buyer and seller are free to negotiate, agree and insert whatever terms, including representations and warranties, they wish. As a buyer I want all the warranties I can secure. As a seller I want none.
     
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  33. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Cleared for Takeoff

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    What point is there for anyone to sign anything if it doesn't mean anything to anyone?

    Funny to me that a buyer would be held to stricter standards than a seller.

    What a douchebag world we live in.
     
  34. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Hmmm, Rob, everything I sell I sell as is, granted I've never bought or sold an airplane. Caveat Emptor, everything I've sold, I'm upfront about the condition and the buyer was welcome to inspect and make himself comfortable with the item. I think it's nuts for an individual to warrant a used item, especially something as complex as an airplane. I would accept this, a warranty, from a seller of a used AC, but I wouldn't walk because someone refused to do it.
     
  35. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Did you read the warranty clause being discussed? Post #12
     
  36. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    When I sold xx01C the buyer wanted me to sign a sales contract that he had written. The way he had it written it protected me more that it did him. I suggested that he go fly the aircraft and check it out. then found he was not tailwheel endorsed, we so we took it flying. I told him that if he bought the aircraft, got qualified, and flew it for a year, I would do his annual for free and we would talk about what he wore out and what what was wrong with the aircraft when he bought it.
    He did just that. when he came back he had over 100 hours on the 170, in the baggage compartment there was two new tires, and a set of brake pucks.
    I had rebuilt the 0-300-A during the restoration, and at that time I was rebuilding cylinders, and had used rebuilt cylinders on the engine. so as I did the compression check I found all cylinders were in the high 60s. So I replaced all 6 with new ECI nickel, that I had as spares.
    I sell my aircraft as is where is.. but I don't screw people, I usually give a better deal than requested.
    But I have been known to tell buyers to go away, I didn't want my baby owned by them.
     
  37. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    The obligations ("standards"?) buyer and seller undertake are governed by the agreement they both willingly entered into. I don't see anything wrong with that. And I sure wouldn't want to see some well meaning Government step in with more regulations to fix the "douchebag" contract world. They meddle enough as it is in private transactions. The buyer in this instance did have recourse in the contract, and seems to have come to a reasonable outcome using it.

    The irony here should not be lost on anyone reading this string. On the one hand we gave a buyer that was so anxious they willingly decided to forgo even the most basic of due diligence, ignoring the advice of their friend, the OP, and depending on the annual to replace a proper pre-purchase. On the other hand we have all manner of folks here who are proud they haven't spent anywhere close to $700 on an annual inspection for their 50 year old Turbo-Sopwith, ever. We can't have it both ways.

    To keep the cost of flying reasonable I do a I large amount of my own maintenance under supervision. I am fortunate to have an outstanding mechanic to work with. I pay him handsomely to do the inspections on my plane - it's the better part of two days, after I have everything opened up.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  38. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    How do you mean? :dunno:
     
  39. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Yes, and I went back and reread it for this post. Everything you list there is readily checkable by the buyer before the transaction. I would make it clear to him that while I'm comfortable the AC is airworthy and compliant, I do not warrant that and it is up to him to verify that it is. The AC is being sold as is, where is and that is spelled out in the contract he has to sign to transact.

    To me it is too easy for a buyer to take that clause and stick it up your butt with inconsequential things, no thanks.

    I sold a snowmobile trailer last year. It was a friend of a contractor who was doing work for me, it was an old steel enclosed trailer that I thought was still in pretty good shape. The day before he was driving out to look at and buy it, I opened the door and the hinge failed, the 2X2 steel that held it had rusted through. I called him and told him not to bother coming out and what had happened. He asked for pictures and I described it to him. He had a son in law who was a fabricator and asked me if the price was still the same. I told him of course not, lowered it to $500, he came and hauled it away, happy as can be at his as his deal.
     
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  40. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    It takes two to tango.

    Thread locked pending MC Review
     
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