What are some of the hidden costs that could impact the unwary business aircraft buyer? What are the best things to do to minimize the risks?
In aviation, the best surprise is no surprise. The line applies to weather, flight plans, instrument clearances, flights…and even to buying private jets. Yet the purchase of a used business aircraft. Done properly and wisely, should present no surprises.
Similarly, the very raison d’etre for the pre-purchase inspection examining the logbooks. Maintenance records, airworthiness directives and the ownership history of an aircraft-is to avoid such surprises as unresolved Airworthiness Directives (Ads), tardy or deferred maintenance and expensive, encumbering liens. Still, however, the occasional surprise happens..
And as complex as modern business turbine aircraft are, there are literally thousands of ways something can fail, time out or reach a wear limit before becoming an obvious issue the highest probability of surprise costs come not from mechanical or hardware aspects of the aircraft, but instead are hidden in the complex and voluminous paperwork accompanying a transaction.
Engaging a professional ethical team to protect your interest will pay for itself multiple times over the investment in their services.
Beware Undecipherable Paperwork
The ‘Number One’ hidden and most significant cost could be the one buried in a back-to-back transaction.
Before engaging a broker to represent your interests, you should expect to see references from previous clients.
Avoid the Bargain Basement Pre-Purchase Inspection
A cut-rate pre-purchase may hold appeal for the buyer in a rush-or the seller with an aircraft plagued by some unwelcome hidden issues. But shortcuts in aviation seldom pass without heightened risk.
Under such a scenario, the buyer assumes significant risks related to incomplete logs and records, inoperative systems, etc., “Foster elaborates.
Bite the bullet – hire the best, ask for the best, take the time and never live with the uncomfortable question, “What could that bargain pre-purchase inspection have missed?
Uncover the Hidden Dangers
The presence of visible surface corrosion, however, may be a harbinger of deeper laying problems. Hence the need for a deep, invasive inspection to root out corrosion in places seldom seen.
If corrosion is discovered, it becomes a matter for discussion between the would-be buyer and the professional performing the inspection:
- How bad is the corrosion now?
- How difficult (expensive) is remediation and repair?
- Is the condition severe enough to warrant making a new decision?
Better Disappointment Than Disintegration
Ultimately, you should never be afraid to walk away from a deal. Thirty-five thousand feet is no place for buyer’s remorse worse.