You can buy a plane without doing a pre-buy or pre-purchase, but that doesn’t mean you should.

When you start shopping for an aircraft, it’s easy to fall in love with something and let your passion for the plane take hold. You’ve got to be smart, though, because buying an aircraft is a big purchase on multiple levels.

Buyers often rush into a purchase for fear of losing out on the plane to someone else. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your due diligence. A thorough pre-buy performed by an A&P on a small aircraft or a team of them on a big plane will be the last chance you have of determining the actual condition before you are the new owner.

In this post, we’re going to give you a few crucial reasons why you need to complete the pre-buy aircraft inspection. Anytime you buy something pre-owned, especially something that flies, you need to make sure it’s going to function well.

Slow down and be smart. Do a pre-buy inspection and hire the right person or facility to protect your investment.

An Aircraft Inspection Will Save You Time and Money

When you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an aircraft or millions on a business jet, you’ll want to be sure that it’s not going to cost you substantially more in repairs down the line. All aircraft require routine scheduled maintenance, but a pre-buy will identify mechanical issues that are lurking beneath the surface, things like corrosion are not something you want to discover after you bought it. 

A pre-buy inspection will be sure to have you in the air sooner than later.

Do You Know Everything There Is to Know?

It doesn’t matter whom you’re buying the plane from; unless you trust yourself to investigate the ins and outs of an aircraft, you’ll need a pre-buy inspection to ensure everything’s proper and being maintained in accordance with the maintenance manual. 

If you let the seller’s mechanic or maintenance facility do the pre-buy inspection, there’s always the question of bias. Still, have it done with someone that doesn’t have a conflict of interest. 

If You Value Your Safety…

The biggest reason for doing the pre-buy inspection is a matter of safety. If the plane isn’t up to date on Sevice bulletins and AD’s, then you’ll want an A&P to tell you that before you close. 

It’s a small inconvenience for the seller now, but it’ll ensure that you’re buying a plane that you can trust in the air. As long as you know this, you can avoid those big-money repairs and fly at your leisure.

It’s Standard Practice

If the seller isn’t on board with you requesting a pre-buy inspection, you’ve got to be ready to walk away from the transaction. If they had nothing to hide, then why shy away from it? The biggest reason to have one done is to make sure you have reviewed the logbooks and records and determined if the aircraft has ever suffered damage in the past. Missing records and logs are more common in aircraft then you might think, especially on older piston aircraft (although I did review a business jet that had all of its logbooks destroyed, so it happens). 

Once you get the inspection done, take the plane for a test flight, check and get ready for closing. All that’s left to do is fly.

Are you shopping for a new plane? Order our VREF aircraft value reports to look into the plane you’re interested in buying.