Most people wouldn’t buy a house without a professional inspection, so why buy an airplane without one? Yes, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a thorough prepurchase inspection on a piston single-engine airplane—more for more complex aircraft—but it’s worth every penny in peace of mind and trouble saved down the road.
As the general aviation fleet ages, it’s more important than ever to enlist the services of an expert who can tell you whether the airplane you want to buy is showing normal wear and tear or has been subject to abuse over the years. Learn more about how time and use affect airplanes with Aging Aircraft , a free, interactive online course and “ What You Should Know About Aging Airplanes,” an on-demand SafetyCast from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Most maintenance facilities offer prepurchase inspections among their standard services, so you can usually get an inspection at or near the field where the airplane is located— AOPA’s Airport Directory Online can help you find a shop. You may even be able to work out a deal to have the airplane delivered to the shop of your choice for an inspection. If you’re in one state and the airplane is in another, you may need to be creative, as AOPA had to be in arranging an inspection for the Get Your Glass Sweepstakes airplane.
While you’re at it, be sure to take advantage of AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services, which includes a review of your purchase contract as part of your annual fee. And protect your investment with AOPA Aircraft Title and Escrow services.
February 7, 2008