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Notes for good measure

Pre-purchase Inspections/ Aircraft Selling and Purchasing

Allow us to share one piece of wisdom with you about the importance of pre-purchase checks on the aircraft you're intending to buy. Just do it!
Knowing what you are buying before you buy it will make you an informed and well educated buyer. Finding problems won't kill the deal, it simply offers you a bargaining tool for price negotiations.

There is no document in the CARs (Canadian Aircraft Regulations) or elsewhere that defines a pre-purchase inspection or provides a checklist. I recommend using the model of a 100 hour inspection/CARS 625 when you have your aircraft checked by your AME.

You should be looking for things like this:

  • Time life items i.e. propeller overhauls, IFR certification dates, ELT, tire age, engine hose dates. Dates are very important. Remember, prop overhauls are mandatory in Canada but not so in the USA.
  • Complete logs including original US logs. Once you have access to the Logs, sit down with your AME and read all of them!
  • Be aware of damage history. Depending on the extent of the damage, the price of the aircraft will be impacted.
  • Oil filter removed and cut open for contamination inspection. I prefer to ask for an oil analysis and any trending data available as well .
  • Any STC and correct approvals as per Transport Canada regulations.
  • Airworthiness Directive compliance and mandatory Service Bulletins if applicable
  • Corrosion inspection is very very important on many of these older airplanes
  • Keep in mind a pre-purchase is not an annual inspection and you shouldn't be looking to have your AME sign off an Annual. The two inspections are different.

If you're going to spend a lot of money on an aircraft, spending a little bit more in pre purchase costs and some travel time for your AME is effectively an insurance policy for the purchaser’s protection. If you're buying an aircraft that's thousands of miles away you might consider inquiring locally about an AME to do the pre-purchase for you. As with everything, circumstances will influence your thinking.

  • Do you need to ferry the aircraft over a long distance?
  • Does your Insurance Company consider you qualified to fly the aircraft as PIC?
  • Will you need a ferry pilot to help you move the aircraft?
  • Is your AME qualified to fly the aircraft?

Don't be afraid to purchase an aircraft from the United States; the importation process isn't as scary as it appears. There is a batch of paperwork to process with Transport Canada to be sure, but we have a Minister's Delegate on-site ready to look after all these details. Be aware that a US Registered aircraft requires a US Pilot's license. Our US licensed pilots are regularly sent south of the border to fetch US registered aircraft and bring the aircraft home.

One of the most exciting parts of purchasing an aircraft from a far-away location is getting it home! If possible, make the trip yourself. That’s the fun part!

One last thing we remind customers of: There are good airplanes and cheap airplanes out there, but no good cheap airplanes!

Brant Aero; representing high quality aircraft on behalf of our customers