Know Before You Buy

by Steve Myers, Citation Service Manager, Western Aircraft

Are you in the market for a new plane? If so, it’s important to understand how to approach a pre-purchase evaluation.

CJP FL 0822 Western Aircraft MRO Citation

The first step is making certain you secure a pre-purchase evaluation from a reputable and qualified MRO, preferably one that is experienced in the type of aircraft you are looking to buy. This will ensure that you know exactly what condition the aircraft is in before purchasing it – which saves you time and money in the long run. Like the automotive industry, you don’t want to invest your hard-earned money to buy that expensive Mercedes Benz S-Class and then get home with it and discover it has multiple issues that will cost you even more. Having your aircraft examined by people who know what they are doing, and what the standards are for airworthiness before you buy is extremely important.

It’s optimal to work with an MRO that understands how critical the evaluation is and has years of experience conducting them. Each MRO will have different processes they follow and various levels of inspection as part of their processes. At a minimum, they should: review aircraft logbooks, inspect the aircraft, provide a comprehensive list of noted discrepancies and estimate pricing for repairs, and be able to fix identified problems. Be sure to ask your selected MRO what its pre-purchase checklist involves.

As the prospective aircraft buyer, you should have a strong voice in where you want it to go for the pre-purchase evaluation. Once chosen, that provider should give you a full report of their findings and identify which are airworthiness items, and which are discretionary. Then you will need to decide if you are willing to accept the aircraft based on the discrepancies or negotiate with the seller to address the squawks before taking final delivery of the aircraft.

Buying a preowned aircraft is a major investment, and you should approach the purchase with a healthy amount of care and concern. Don’t be in a rush to close a deal, only to find out later that you didn’t buy the airplane you thought you were getting!