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Thread: Buying airplane without seeing it??

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Buying airplane without seeing it??

    Have looked at pictures, logs, etc. Will have a shop do a pre purchase, current owner is willing to ferry airplane to my location, but won't do so, till aircraft sale has taken place. Do due current circumstances, I'm unable to travel right now. What's the best way to transfer funds and ownership? Anyone every done this before? Good or bad idea?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by supercub43 View Post
    Have looked at pictures, logs, etc. Will have a shop do a pre purchase, current owner is willing to ferry airplane to my location, but won't do so, till aircraft sale has taken place. Do due current circumstances, I'm unable to travel right now. What's the best way to transfer funds and ownership? Anyone every done this before? Good or bad idea?
    I've done a few Pre-Buy examinations for folks that have not seen the plane in question, and don't until they take ownership. But the Pre-Buy always occurs prior to ownership transfer, and there's no point in doing a Pre-Buy on a plane that's already been purchased and funds transferred.

    So the question for you is whether the PB will be done before the purchase and whether the purchase is contingent upon the results of the PB. Also, if the shop performing the PB says "good to go", is that good enough for you? I've had the trust of the buyers so they've purchased the plane based on my sayso - if you feel the same way about your shop, and think that you can negotiate based on the results of the shop's feedback PRIOR to purchase, then you're good to go. If not, then walk away. Do NOT buy the plane before the PB - you can put down a refundable deposit with purchase contingent upon a successful PB, but if the seller won't accept those terms, then walk away.

    And do not EVER pay $$$ for a plane that hasn't had an expert in that type of EAB aircraft do a thorough PB on it. I've seen too many folks end up with something completely other than what they were thinking they would.

    My $0.02.

  3. #3

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    It is stunningly easy to go broke in aviation.

    What you might consider is buying your trusted local mechanic a plane ticket to go do a pre-buy inspection on that aircraft and bring you an assessment of the condition of the aircraft and a list of items that need to be fixed. Cheap investment in the long run.

    I would never pay for an aircraft that I had not touched and/or flown, or that had not been at least thoroughly examined by someone that I trusted. There are lots of airplanes out there in the market. And an airplane is not a lifetime commitment.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    It is stunningly easy to go broke in aviation.
    :-) :-).

    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    What you might consider is buying your trusted local mechanic a plane ticket to go do a pre-buy inspection on that aircraft and bring you an assessment of the condition of the aircraft and a list of items that need to be fixed. Cheap investment in the long run.
    I have been sent across the country to perform Pre-Buy examinations many times over the years. Sometimes the buyer ended up with a plane they love, and sometimes they were prevented from buying something that might have killed them, or at least would have cost them a small fortune to turn into a safe plane.

  5. #5
    gbrasch's Avatar
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    I would not buy without seeing it. When I bought my Tri-Pacer years ago I travelled on a 1 way ticket from AZ to ID, pretty sure I was going to buy, but not positive. I am still glad I went in person. It had been an eBay deal gone bad she someone else.
    Glenn Brasch
    Tucson, Arizona
    2013 RV-9A / 1952 Piper Tri-Pacer
    Medevac helicopter pilot (Ret)
    EAA member since 1980
    Owner, "Airport Courtesy Cars" website.
    www.airportcourtesycars.com
    www.facebook.com/airportcourtesycars
    Volunteer Mentor www.SoAZTeenAviation.org

  6. #6

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    Worst idea ever....

    Pre-buy inspections are not worth anything, get an annual inspection by *your* IA instead. One local shop does pre-buy inspections using their repair station employees that do not even have an A&P license, their report wasn't signed, and wasn't even on letterhead. They also cited "industry standards" only known to their shop.... Again pre-buy inspections are worthless.

    AOPA has a title and escrow service to help with the transfer of title and funds. This is a good service, otherwise you can do the paperwork yourself and be sure to use certified funds like a cashiers check.

    If the owner ferries the airplane after the sale, then he isn't the owner anymore. Who's insurance will cover that flight?
    Last edited by Kurt Flunkn; 04-22-2018 at 02:36 PM.

  7. #7

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    I have to emphatically differ. A friend paid one of our great local mechanics to go look at and airplane 8 states away. The report prevented buying an airplane that would have been a problem. My friend was happy to pay the bill and bought another airplane. When I have purchased an airplane I have told my mechanic "Keep me from making a $30,000 mistake." And he dug into everything, every SB and AD, and every corner of the airplane that he could think of. Didn't worry about the next annual inspection after that. I was happy to pay the bill. Got a good airplane.

    Never buy and airplane without a thorough inspection by a good mechanic. I can't tell you how many folks I have seen buy a problem and not fly for months and lots of $$.

    There is a good article in this month's Sport Aviation about this topic.

    Wes

  8. #8

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    All i can say from experience is "let the buyer beware". I am working on a condition inspection on an RV 7A that had a pre buy from an "experienced A&P". I have been repairing what was overlooked, including engine work.

    Bill L

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by supercub43 View Post
    Have looked at pictures, logs, etc. Will have a shop do a pre purchase, current owner is willing to ferry airplane to my location, but won't do so, till aircraft sale has taken place. Do due current circumstances, I'm unable to travel right now. What's the best way to transfer funds and ownership? Anyone every done this before? Good or bad idea?
    I bought a plane without seeing it. It was a sealed bid auction where I bid on a few planes and was high bidder on one. Ho hum, I paid exactly what I wanted to pay, lol. Then I went and picked up the plane and flew it 600 miles to my base.

    There are escrow companies that will do the funds transfer when all the conditions of the purchase agreement are satisfied. Do you have a purchase agreement ready to be signed?

  10. #10

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    Feb 2014
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    I’ve bought two airplanes without seeing or flying first. Both have worked out great. I had thorough pre-buys done on both, both of which were turned into Annual inspection. an Annual and a pre-buy are two different things and would never accept an Annual in lieu of a pre-buy. I always use an escrow service for the funds transfer.

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