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Thread: Buying an experimental that has not flown for years.

  1. #1

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    Buying an experimental that has not flown for years.

    I'm considering buying an E-LSA that has not flown in years and has been stored in an open hangar.

    I would like some advice to help me decide on this purchase.

    How difficult is it to re-register an expired N-Number? What costs can I expect?

    Offhand, what specifically would you want to take a closer look at if you were considering a plane that has sat that long?

    Assuming it was not prepped for storage, how well could on expect a 2 stroke Rotax to hold up after all of this time?

    Last, can anyone recommend a good A&P with Rotax 2 Stroke experience near Atlanta, GA?

  2. #2
    cub builder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    I'm considering buying an E-LSA that has not flown in years and has been stored in an open hangar.

    I would like some advice to help me decide on this purchase.

    How difficult is it to re-register an expired N-Number? What costs can I expect?

    Offhand, what specifically would you want to take a closer look at if you were considering a plane that has sat that long?

    Assuming it was not prepped for storage, how well could on expect a 2 stroke Rotax to hold up after all of this time?

    Last, can anyone recommend a good A&P with Rotax 2 Stroke experience near Atlanta, GA?
    If the registration is expired less than 5 years ago, the registration number can typically be reactivated by just registering the aircraft. You should be able to get a copy of the airworthiness and operating limitations through your local FSDO. If it's been more than 5 years, the registration number will likely have been released, so you would have to get a new registration number assigned as well as a new airworthiness and operating limitations issued.

    On the airframe, get someone knowledgeable to go over the plane with you as a pre-purchase inspection. You should finish with a list of known deficiencies and what you will need to put into the aircraft.

    It's a crap shoot on the 2 stroke. They aren't complicated. If it was me, I would plan to tear it down for inspection. But I would do that regardless. They aren't complicated, aren't terribly expensive, and will give you peace of mind to have verified it's condition as well as installed new parts as needed.

    -Cub Builder

  3. #3
    CarlOrton's Avatar
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    If it was stored outside under a carport, or even if left undisturbed in a hangar, I’d be especially wary of critter damage. Mice love to chew on insulation and their urine is extremely corrosive. You’ll want to try to peer into every nook and cranny because no rodent likes to nest on a smooth surface out in the middle of a floor skin. I thought you were looking for a 150 mph plane?

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

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    Offhand, what specifically would you want to take a closer look at if you were considering a plane that has sat that long?
    How many years inactive?

    What kind of construction? Wood, Tube? Sheet? Composite?

    Assuming it was not prepped for storage, how well could on expect a 2 stroke Rotax to hold up after all of this time?
    I think the odds are that it will be in reasonably good condition.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    I think the odds are that it will be in reasonably good condition.
    If it were my money, I would assume it was in BAD condition until proven otherwise. I would negotiate a price with the seller based on any known deficiencies. Then I would get a thorough inspection by someone who has knowledge and experience with that type of plane. You should expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a good inspection. If any additional deficiencies are found during the inspection you should re-negotiate the purchase price. If the seller won't come down in price, walk away from the deal. You may be out a few hundred bucks for the inspection but it's likely it would be cheap at twice the price compared to being stuck with a plane that requires a lot of unexpected maintenance to make it airworthy. Of course, it your emotionally attracted to the plane, disregard this advice, close your eyes and jump in like your falling in love. It's called joining the "More Money than Sense Club". Lot's of us have done it at one time or another. Good Luck

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlOrton View Post
    I thought you were looking for a 150 mph plane?
    Long term, I want to build something fast and efficient. Short term, I want to build hours.

    It's a fiberglass and fabric ELSA Ultralight trainer, this one is a Skyboy, but I have noticed some Challenger IIs and the occasional Avid Flyer that seems to look good, be listed cheap and make me think it could be a fun first plane.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    It's a fiberglass and fabric ELSA Ultralight trainer, this one is a Skyboy, .
    The Interplane Skyboy is a kinda neat plane. I think it would be fun as well. It should have 582 engine so first thing I'd check is to see if it's a "Blue head" or a "Gray head" engine. One is not necessarily better than the other they just have to be operated slightly different. Need to know what kind of hrs are on the engine., Rotax recommends ~300 hr TBO. Should be able to determine overall condition of the plane in a few hrs. They are not overly complicated.

  8. #8

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    This one has a 618, and it is at 310 hours. I have read about them running on condition much longer, but I want to plan for a 0 time overhaul unless I see a very convincing argument that it is in good shape. Now I just need to figure out how much that would cost, or if it is even an option (something about crankshaft replacement has me worried).
    Last edited by thisadviceisworthles; 02-20-2019 at 02:52 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    This one has a 618, and it is at 310 hours. I have read about them running on condition much longer, but I want to plan for a 0 time overhaul unless I see a very convincing argument that it is in good shape. Now I just need to figure out how much that would cost, or if it is even an option (something about crankshaft replacement has me worried).
    I'd fly with that engine and I'd be tempted to push it along for another ~90h which would be a lot of flying. As long as you don't run it until it disintegrates......
    Despite rotax discontinuing the 618 there is still good parts availability. Can still buy a new crankshaft ready to drop in for $1500. A rebuild is usually 3/4 that amount.

    Two-strokes can be ornery at times but for the most part they are easy to maintain.

  10. #10

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    Structurally, you want to determine condition of glass relative to UV exposure or weathering. If plane was exposed to elements/sunlight, the resin of the laminate can be degraded. Usually shows up as powder under fingernails if it's bad. Degraded structure is hard to repair short of new parts. The hard choice is deciding how much badness there is when it's partially effected by UV. Is it surface loss or deeper into laminate? You might have to scrape away thickness to get into uneffected material and because of unknowns, better to keep away from UV exposed structure.

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