Aircraft Buying Quick Tip #3 – Don’t assume that all ADs were complied with because the last annual said they were.

Not every mechanic knows every make and model well, and not every mechanic is as diligent in their research or has as robust of software to check all ADs on all components of the aircraft. Some of these ADs can be very costly if they have been missed and a new buyer may find themselves with a surprisingly big bill, or worse, an unairworthy aircraft after they purchase if they don’t check all of these. Just having an annual signed off isn’t good enough.

In a recent case, a friend of mine was looking at a plane and I made a couple calls to help get some history on the aircraft. Talking with another maintenance shop nearby, they said they had never seen the airplane, but that if we started looking through the logbooks and found that “Fred” had done the annuals, that we needed to look very closely. Apparently “Fred” had a reputation for pencil whipped annuals and a lack of research on ADs. The advice was well taken, and in fact, “Fred” had done the last few annuals. A pre-buy inspection by a mechanic we sent down to look at the aircraft found multiple ADs not complied with, a cracked wing rib, and multiple other things that were pretty concerning. But it had been signed off for an annual within the last month.

Not every mechanic is as diligent, as capable, or as caring. Do the homework and take the time or walk away if there are questions.

Want to learn more from practical experience
about buying your first, next, or additional aircraft?

Check out the new book from ASA, by me, Jason Blair,
An Aviators Guide to Buying an Aircraft by clicking
the book cover to the right or by clicking here.


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About Jason Blair

Jason Blair is an active single- and multi-engine instructor and a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner with over 5,000 hours total time and over 3,000 hours instruction given, and he has flown over 100 different makes and models of general aviation aircraft. In his role as Examiner, he has issued over 2000 pilot certificates. He works and has worked for multiple aviation associations that promote training and general aviation. He also consults on aviation training and regulatory efforts for the general aviation industry.

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