The pre-purchase inspection is an essential part of any used aircraft transaction. When you consider to buy an aircraft it makes sense to include some of the Pre-purchase inspection (PPI) (initial aircraft logs, maintenance tracking sheet) during the preparation of a short list. Before you perform the in-depth inspections you would like to get an rough status about the aircraft you like to add to your shortlist.

If the choise for an aircraft is made a Letter of Intent will be set-up and the scope of the PPI will be clearly defined. Also the selection of a neutral maintenance facility will be made. The maintenance facility selected must not have an pre-existing relationship with the seller. This to avoid a conflict of interest. It is very important that the independent facility is able to demonstrate experience with the aircraft type being inspected.

The aircraft and its records are then delivered to the facility and the inspection begins. Ideally, both buyer and seller will have representatives on site throughout the inspection process. The PPI will be completed before any discrepancies are rectified.

A final report will be generated and delivered to the buyer, providing a summary of the aircraft condition and status of airworthiness related items. In this report a PPI will identify two categories of discrepancy: airworthiness limiting and non airworthiness limiting. A unwritten rule is that the seller will pay for the airworthiness limiting items as they’re obliged to deliver a fully airworthy aircraft to the buyer. On the other, non airworthiness items, the buyer and seller have to agree regarding cost of corrective actions. If the two parties approves the individual items the transaction can move towards completion.

As you can see, direct lines of communication are very important before, during and after the pre-purchase inspection. It is very important for buyers to use a professional aircraft broker to guide this whole process. Many buyers have a lack of specialized knowledge (and time) concerning the purchase of an aircraft. And in the end you don’t want to buy an aircraft that is grounded due to unforseen causes!