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Thread: Pre-buy inspections of EAB aircraft

  1. #1

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    Pre-buy inspections of EAB aircraft

    Hello!

    Somebody is selling a little plane and I might buy it. It "looks" reasonable and the price is so low its hard to pass up. I know next to nothing about pre-buy inspecting homebuilts. Certified is easy, call AOPA. When I asked AOPA about this they asked me if I had joined EAA yet. I said yes and they sent me the link to my local chapters (facepalm).

    SO! I guess what I need is a EAA tech advisor who has experience with that aircraft and engine to go and make a list of what he thinks are issues? Is that how it would work?

    Buying a homebuilt seems like a lot of risk. Maybe its something I should pass on.

    thx

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by subnoize View Post
    ...SO! I guess what I need is a EAA tech advisor who has experience with that aircraft and engine to go and make a list of what he thinks are issues? Is that how it would work?...
    That might work, but not every Technical Counselor would be comfortable doing that. Our charter is mostly helping people with challenges encountered during the build, and encouraging people to stick to the plans.

    My suggestions would be:

    * Join an internet forum for the type in question and study it intensively so you know what you're getting into. For RVs, the go-to is Vans Air Force.

    * Use the forum to find an A&P who is comfortable with E-AB airplanes in general and that type in specific and get them to review the workship and general condition.

    --Bob K.
    Bob Kuykendall
    HP-24 kit sailplane project

    HP-24 Project Facebook Page
    http://www.hpaircraft.com/hp-24
    EAA Technical Counselor

  3. #3
    CarlOrton's Avatar
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    While a tech counselor isn't a bad idea, I think you'd have better results if you found another builder of the same model. He/she would have "been there" and would know the model-specific issue areas. They all have 'em. Not saying anything bad, but a Sonex guy, for instance, would have a pretty good idea of where to look on the canopy for possible cracks. They'd know to check certain areas of the landing gear, etc. If it's a kit plane still in production (or at least, if the company is still around) most will give you a list of builders within a certain zip code range.

    Alternatively, if you start attending regular EAA Chapter meetings, you could express your dilemma, and you'd probably have more than 1 individual state that they'll take a look at it. Of course, if you haven't purchased it by then, it may be gone.

    Just remember - a pre-buy, even by an A&P, will not find *every* issue that might be lurking under the skin. Nor would they be able to determine something like a crack in a cylinder, cam, or crankshaft that will not manifest itself until 5 hours after the sale.

    Carl Orton
    Sonex #1170 / Zenith 750 Cruzer
    http://mykitlog.com/corton

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by subnoize View Post
    Hello!

    Somebody is selling a little plane and I might buy it. It "looks" reasonable and the price is so low its hard to pass up. I know next to nothing about pre-buy inspecting homebuilts. Certified is easy, call AOPA. When I asked AOPA about this they asked me if I had joined EAA yet. I said yes and they sent me the link to my local chapters (facepalm).

    SO! I guess what I need is a EAA tech advisor who has experience with that aircraft and engine to go and make a list of what he thinks are issues? Is that how it would work?

    Buying a homebuilt seems like a lot of risk. Maybe its something I should pass on.

    thx
    What type of airplane (asks a Tech Counselor in Marietta, GA)...


    By the way, did anyone else pick up on the fact that my current post count is 666 and we're nearing Halloween?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Boatright View Post
    What type of airplane (asks a Tech Counselor in Marietta, GA)...


    By the way, did anyone else pick up on the fact that my current post count is 666 and we're nearing Halloween?
    Hey Kyle,

    It's been a while. I've been homeless since the Wingnuts 1415 moved up to wherever and the one in Jon Hansen's hangar moved too. Now that Jon is no longer renting planes I'm a light sport guy without a plane to rent

    I've got my medical and I will be moving up to Private Pilot because there are no light sport to rent around here. Unless you know of somebody who wants help in paying for their plane :p

    Anyways!

    The plane is in Florida. It's a Sonerai II original and a Great Plains 2276 cc VW. I am a paying member of the forum and the guy is well liked by the members which means I'd feel more comfortable with a outside critical eye giving an honest opinion.

    I'm not discounting the opinion of the current owner by the fellow builders but he did purchased the plane already built and restored it. I just don't want to spend $14k and suddenly have it draw money away from my current build (a Sonerai IILS itself). That said it would also be nice to be flying while building. Something that has been very hard to do as of late.

    This all may be mute. It's on Barnstormers now and I won't have the cash until Jan. 2019.

    BUT! It is best to have an idea of how this works next time so I can act more quickly and reduce my risk surface area at the same time.

    Thanks,

    --jb

    PS since that was your 666th post maybe somebody is trying to tell me something!

  6. #6

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    A question I'd ask before buying an Experimental is how many planes the guy has built, and which one is this?

    We have guys that have built several airplanes, and as expected, each one is better than the last.

    Heck, my airplane is okay, but if I were to build another it would be much, much better.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  7. #7
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Here's my personal opinion, having been through buying an Experimental airplane that someone else built. I had some building experience, having spent three years working on an RV-7 project that I ultimately sold due to medical issues. However, I was not familiar with the RV-12 I was buying.

    I took along a local builder and tech counselor who had built multiple airplanes, including most recently an RV-12. More importantly, I knew the guy and his attitudes and competence. The fact that a person has built and flown one or more airplanes is good. Having SEEN those airplanes, his level of craftsmanship and attention to detail, and having knowledge of his degree of expertise and experience in engineering and construction was way more important.

    In other words... WHO you have help you with the pre-buy inspection is as important as doing the inspection to begin with. Not all builders, mechanics or tech counselors are equal. Ideally it would be someone very familiar with the type you're inspecting, and someone very experienced and detail oriented, and with no interest whatsoever in the outcome. In other words -- NOT the guy who's been doing the annual inspections, NOT s friend of the owner or builder, etc.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  8. #8
    gbrasch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Giger View Post
    A question I'd ask before buying an Experimental is how many planes the guy has built, and which one is this?

    We have guys that have built several airplanes, and as expected, each one is better than the last.

    Heck, my airplane is okay, but if I were to build another it would be much, much better.
    I don't know if I built a second plane it would be better, but the build would be faster!
    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
    Volunteer Mentor www.SoAZTeenAviation.org

  9. #9

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    All good points. I will certainly take it all into consideration.

    Thanks!

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