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12 Crucial Pointers for Buying Used Airplanes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Aviator   
Thursday, 21 January 2016 23:01

12 Crucial Pointers for Buying Used Airplanes

Buying a used airplane for sale is a much more difficult process than buying used cars. We’re not that familiar with planes as we are with cars after all. We know the difference between a Ford Fiesta and a Porsche 991, even if we’re not sure about the specs. The differences among the various airplane brands will require a lot more research.

So if you’re planning to buy used aircraft for sale, here are some pointers to help you out:

  1. Consider using a broker. A broker can really expedite the entire process and help you every step of the way. You can quickly narrow down your list of suitable used airplanes for sale and you’ll be much more certain of getting the right plane for your needs and for your budget. The paperwork can be taken care of for you, and the financing can be easier.

    Of course, it all depends on which broker you hire. The wrong one can give you more problems instead, as shown in this video.

  1. Set a budget. Whether you’ll be using a plane for personal or business reasons, you need one that you can afford. And that means you need to set a budget, and you have to stick to it.

    Just like buying a car or a house, you’ll probably need some financing to get the plane you want. Your best bet is to get your financing approved even before you start looking for the plane you want. With preapproval, you have a definite limit to your budget.

    When you have the financing ready, you can concentrate your focus on checking out all the various used airplanes for sale. The financing preapproval also lets you act quickly once you find the plane you want.

  1. Make sure you are paying the right price. Ask around for the price of the particular model you want to buy. Check out forums and blogs.

    You can also go online for aircraft valuation, but usually there’s a fee involved. But with the valuation tools, at least you have a more accurate idea of what a particular used airplane for sale should cost. One website you can go for this service is Aircraft Bluebook.

  1. Check the engine hours. This is perhaps the most influential factor regarding the value of the airplane. When the engine is very close to its TBO (time between overhaul), the lower its value should be. The engine should also have a record of consistent use along with a satisfactory maintenance program. When the engine is used regularly, the engine parts remain lubricated and so they stay in great shape.


  2. Take note of the installed equipment. The most important equipment to check out is the avionics, and when you have advanced avionics it can double the price of some older used airplanes for sale.

    You should also inspect the interior equipment, the deicing gear, and the air conditioning. They should provide for your particular needs. Keep in mind, though, that while older equipment may be cheaper but they may be more expensive to maintain.

  1. Research the Airworthiness Directives. These directives are issued by the FAA, and the owners are required to comply within a given time frame. The logbooks for the plane should show compliance with all the relevant directives. You can find the Airworthiness Directives for a particular airplane model online.

  2. Determine the damage history. If the plane has undergone any major damage, it can set the price down considerably. It all depends on several factors, such as the kind of accident, the nature and extent of the damage, and which airplane parts were involved.

    You can get any FAA Form 337s on the used plane for sale you’re considering, and these will show you any major repairs and changes. Just go online and get the forms, but you’ll need the N-number and aircraft serial number.

    Remember, you also need to make sure that the previous owner made the proper repairs in compliance with the FAA regulations and recommended practices.

  1. Inspect the interior. This is especially important when the interior has a new paint job. Check to see that if that new coat of paint is hiding corrosion. The interior items should also be inspected for fit, comfort, and condition.

  2. Flying before buying. You don’t buy a car without a test drive, right? The same goes when you buy an airplane, especially when buying used aircraft for sale. It’s only when you’re flying when you can really find out if all the systems and equipment are functioning the way they should be.

    Flying also gives you a definite idea of what your time in the plane will be like. Can you handle it? Are your comfortable? Do you like the idea of flying this plane? These questions can be answered by a test flight.

  1. Bring a mechanic with you for the inspection. The mechanic should be experienced in these matters and knows how to check what needs to be checked. Then get a written report of the mechanic’s findings.

    You should also include an analysis of the spare parts market condition as part of the inspection. If the analysis shows that you’re going to run into difficulties in getting the spare parts you need, then that will cost you a lot in terms of money and time. It may even result in the grounding of your plane.

  1. Check the title. You really need to get a title search done, just for your peace of mind. What you don’t need is to discover after the purchase is done that there is a lien on the airplane.

    For added protection, you may want to consider title insurance. This will only cost a very small fee, but it protects you from the possibility that someone will file a claim against your plane’s title.

  1. Make sure you get the paperwork right. This means putting all the terms and conditions of the sale in writing and executing a bill of sale. The seller should also sign their name as it appeared in the previous bill of sale.

That’s a dozen pointers to start with, so hopefully you can get the best used aircraft for sale that meets your budget and needs. Good luck!

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2016 23:03