AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 95

OLDER AIRCRAFT

can often turn into
expensive projects.
Proceed with
caution.

Don't hesitate to buy an aircraft just
because the paint or interior are getting
long in the tooth. Inexperienced buyers tend to get too hung up on cosmetics.
What really counts is what's under the
paint and beneath the carpets. I'd buy a
mechanically sound, corrosion-free airplane with shabby paint and interior in a
heartbeat.
Think of paint and interior like you
think of engines: something that wears out
and has to be redone periodically. Doesn't
it make more sense for you to do this than
the seller? Shouldn't you get to pick the
paint colors and upholstery materials?
The condition of paint and interior
tends to be well reflected in the selling price. If you buy an aircraft with
worn-out paint, you can expect the selling price to be discounted enough to
cover a substantial portion of the cost of
repainting.

Next, present those findings and repair
estimates to the seller, and ask him to
reduce his selling price enough to cover
the repair cost. If the seller agrees, you've
got a deal; if not, you walk away and find
another aircraft.
Some discrepancies-corrosion damage to a wing spar, for example-may be
so costly to repair that they'll instantly kill
the deal. But most discrepancies-say, a
soft cylinder or an inoperative autopilot
servo-should be readily resolvable.
I recall one case where the prospective buyer of a $500,000 Cessna 421C
walked away because the prebuy revealed
two cylinders with low compression. In
another case, the prospective buyer of
a $350,000 Cirrus SR22 walked away
because he couldn't come to agreement
with the seller over whether the Bose
headsets would be included in the purchase. In both cases, the deal-breaking
dispute was over something that represented less than 1 percent of the purchase
price. That's crazy!
Good, clean, mechanically sound, corrosion-free airplanes are getting harder
and harder to find, so don't let a good one
get away because of a problem that's easy
to fix.
AOPA

PREBUY DISCREPANCIES

MIKE BUSCH is an A&P/IA.

You've found an airplane you really like
a lot and arranged to have a prebuy by
a mechanic you trust. The prebuy turns
up significant mechanical discrepancies.
Now what do you do?
That's easy: First, ask the prebuy
mechanic to give you a list of the discrepancies he found with estimated cost
of parts and labor to correct each one.

EMAIL mike.busch@savvyaviation.com

Unless you're an A&P with lots of free
time and looking for a " project airplane, "
my advice is generally to buy the latest
model year you can reasonably afford,
and to avoid aircraft requiring high-ticket
refurbishment.
WORN PAINT OR INTERIOR

LOOK PAST THE COSMETICS; paint and inte-

rior are wear items.

OLDER AIRCRAFT

Figuring out what model year to buy is
another tough one. Market valuation of
airplanes tends to drop precipitously
with calendar age, and you occasionally
see older aircraft for sale that have been
well maintained, are corrosion-free, and
are offered at what seem to be screaming
bargain prices.
My advice to all but the most experienced aircraft buyers is to be wary of
older airplanes, particularly older complex airplanes. There's a good reason
for their enticingly low asking prices:
An older airplane can easily turn into a
money pit. In fact, that may be precisely
why it's for sale.
You may figure that if the purchase
price is low enough, you can afford to spend
the money to refurbish that older airplane
into something snazzy. That may be true if
you're planning to keep the airplane for a
long time. But if you sell it anytime soon,
you'll probably find that its market value
is far below what you paid for it plus what
you invested to refurbish it.

Unless you're an A&P
with lots of free time
and looking for a
project airplane, my
advice is to buy the
latest model year you
can reasonably afford.

savvyaviation.com

ASK THE A&PS
Have a maintenance question?
Submit your questions to
podcasts@aopa.org.
aopa.org/podcasts

aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 95


http://www.savvyaviation.com http://www.aopa.org/podcasts http://www.aopa.org/pilot

AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 7
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover4
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