If you’re a first-time buyer for a private airplane, you may have a few questions when it comes to making sure you’re choosing the right aircraft. Questions about safety, airworthiness, and aircraft history are likely bouncing around in your mind, and you want to make sure you’re making the right decision.
At Winner Aviation, we know how exciting (and nerve wrecking!) it can be to purchase an aircraft, so we’re here to help with a pre-purchase inspection checklist. While this checklist may not answer specific questions you have about an airplane’s history, it can help you start to have the right conversations with the seller as well as your MRO.
What is an aircraft pre-purchase inspection?
An aircraft pre-purchase inspection can ensure that the deal between the seller and the buyer is fair and above-board. A qualified and reputable MRO will critically inspect the aircraft and provide an unbiased review of the airworthiness of the aircraft.
What is included in an aircraft pre-purchase inspection?
What is reviewed during an aircraft pre-purchase inspection can vary based on buyer request, or based on the aircraft’s maintenance manual instructions. However, at minimum, there are a handful of reviews and checks that should be completed no matter what.
Your MRO should review all available aircraft records, which should include:
- Review of airframe and engine logbooks
- Ensure flight manual is complaint with latest standards
- Cross check equipment list against aircraft configuration
- Identify any records that include modifications, upgrades, damage, repairs, or alterations
- Check and confirm onboard registration documents
- Confirm any scheduled maintenance due within the next 90 days or 100 flight hours
- Check AC SB and AD status
- Check for time/cycle life-limited components or any overdue items
- Report on aircraft’s last weight and balance, and check current data against records
Your MRO should also perform a visual inspection of the airframe. This portion of the pre-purchase inspection checklist may vary based on the particular aircraft’s flight manual, but it will likely cover a visual inspection of:
- Fuselage exterior for signs of corrosion, damage, loose fasteners, or missing paint.
- Wings, ailerons, and flaps for signs of corrosion, damage, loose fasteners, or missing paint.
- Landing gear, brakes, axles, bearings, wheel assemblies for wear, corrosion, and leakage. The wheels will be removed for this step.
- Stabilizers, elevators, and rudder for signs of corrosion, damage, loose fasteners, or missing paint.
- Cockpit windshields and side windows for scratches, distortion, or delamination.
- Exterior placards and marking for installation and readability
The MRO should also perform an inspection of the cockpit and cabin windows. The MRO should also perform a functional inspection of the airframe systems, including a fuel storage leak check in compliance with the aircraft maintenance manual, as well as an interior/exterior lights check.
The avionics inspection will vary depending on what type of avionics upgrades are already in place within the aircraft. However, the MRO will at minimum:
- Visually inspect the antennas for erosion, cracks, damaged sealant, or corroded fasteners
- Visually inspect the static wicks and radome diverter strips per the specific aircraft’s maintenance manual
- Check for any loose avionics equipment
- Perform a full avionics functional check
Interior And Equipment Inspection
In addition to checking for any loose avionics equipment, the MRO will check for loose equipment across the entire aircraft inventory. Additionally, they will inspect:
- All crew and passenger seats for condition and function
- The lavatory for any corrosion, including a blue water check
- Interior placards for installation and readability
They will also complete a functional and visual inspection to ensure there is no chipping paint, cracks in the woodwork, and that all galley and lavatory doors are functional.
An aircraft pre-purchase inspection typically only includes a visual inspection of the engine. If the MRO spots any issues or signs of damage, they will provide a detailed report of those findings. If the engine of that particular aircraft is on an engine program or under a current warranty, further authorization will need to be requested.
Talk with Winner Aviation about your pre-purchase inspection
If you have your eye on an airplane, talk with us about an aircraft pre-purchase inspection. Having a detailed assessment of the aircraft will give you added peace-of-mind as you make a big financial decision.
We’re also here to talk with you about the right maintenance schedule for your aircraft, as well as any avionics upgrades that may make sense for your needs. Contact us today to get started.