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Aircraft for sale with “no damage history”?

if the seller does not disclose at some stage prior to the execution of the contract then he risks an invalid agreement with unwinding or (part) reimbursement of purchase price plus potentially damages

Triggering that is a heavy undertaking on both buyer and seller, what is not disclosed need to have huge impact on goods value, how much that PA46 accident is likely to affect the value of aircraft? assuming new propeller, engine tear down and airframe repairs

If it turns up to be -60% loss for buyer, I am sure he will come back on the seller for not disclosing it…if it’s -10% loss, well that gets dwarfed by legal costs

There are some sell agreements that explicitly stipulate “sold as-is” but I doubt it’s relief from disclosures? there is likely a legal requirements to disclose known defects when selling

Last Edited by Ibra at 11 Feb 14:14
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Perhaps somebody with actual personal experience can post a data point but I reckon that if a repair was performed correctly by an “approved” company then your ability to sue for an economic loss would be pretty limited.

In aviation, in Europe especially, “approved” = “perfect”.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I think a good starting assumption when buying is that the seller will be uninformed about the plane and its history (most are) and that any plane has had damage. Then you just look it over as closely as you can, offer what you think it’s worth to you and don’t worry about what the seller says. Owning something does not make you knowledgeable about it.

Once you own it the previous ownership chain is irrelevant anyway, it’s your baby and you can be sure that a lot of work will be required if you have any eye for detail. All planes are projects.

A seller is usually better off to say little about damage history, any reasonable buyer is going to comb through the logbooks to verify engine times, overhaul quality and dates, and they will find repair records. As mentioned earlier, it’s also true that repair records can be incomplete or ambiguous. If the buyer thinks the seller has made any factually incorrect statements, even if due to incompetence or incomplete records, some buyers will be turned off.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 11 Feb 16:12

Been looking at an aircraft that had an recent nose gear accident and everything is very well documented both with pictures and video (when they lifted the aircraft) and invoices for the repair by a known maintenance shop. Shock loaded engine, most stuff firewall forward is changed. New Propeller etc.
This accident don’t scare me away, since I think it’s well enough documented.
Seller also told me straight away on the first phone call.

But when I was digging around I found that same aircraft had an Gear Up (substantial damage in the report) accident 1980 in USA.
For the moment no documentation except that it’s logged in the Engine logbook. (will try to look in Propeller/Airframe logbook).
Not sure if seller did know about this accident or didn’t want to tell me…
Sure it is logged, but back then everything was handwritten and harder to read.

Also it had 2000h for the first two years, so I expect it was a trainer some years.

Will this scare away future buyers when it’s to to resell (if I buy it), and price wise would it drop much?

It’s almost “normal” that an 30-45 years old aircraft have damage some how.
Propstrike, Nose gear collapse, Gear up landing…

At least on the ones I’ve been looking at…. and some of them have “missing” logbooks from USA…

ESMS, ESML, Sweden

Finding a pristine no damage aircraft is a bit of a unicorn hunt.

It’s a judgment call whether it is a well documented and repaired garden variety incident, or a permanent bodge on the record.

Missing logs is also a source of permanent discount. Some types rag and tube with recent rebuild history not so important.

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

The best thing is to buy a plane in a good airframe condition (because airframe parts are by far the most expensive to fix) and with a shagged engine.

You get the price discounted due to the shagged engine and overhaul the engine at a reputable engine shop (for me, in the US, every time).

Then you have a good plane with a known good engine.

Trying to find a good airframe is the hardest thing, but a prebuy deals with that, whereas a prebuy is basically impossible on an engine. You can borescope and such but a lot of sellers will tell you to f- off because they know there is another mug just around the corner who will buy it on the colour

I often say this but if you have to travel for hours or days, you will convince yourself that it will be “okay”. We’ve all done this… with cars, and many have done it with a plane.

Also tolerate no crap from illiterate sellers. One would think anybody who has a plane must be able to read and write but that doesn’t work So a lot of sellers will not be able to answer questions adequately. With illiterate sellers, walk away. They will have applied the same attitude to maintenance…

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The Malibu is again involved in an accident

Last Edited by Tigerflyer at 06 Jan 22:59
EDWF, Germany

From my limited experience looking for a plane to buy, I can safely say every aircraft advertisement I’ve seen and contacted the seller about ended up with me finding out the seller was dishonest about something.

I managed to weed out dishonesty from email exchanges, phone calls, and unfortunately pre buys. 3/3 prebuys I did showed dishonesty. 2/3 actually advertised an aircraft in excellent condition where in fact they were more or less a project. 1 of them was not even airworthy despite having a fresh annual.

So unfortunately it seems the used aircraft market includes some form of dishonesty one way or another as the norm. Some more dishonest than others.

It’s quite sad that this is not regulated. Its worse than used car market. Whilst aviation is a supposedly heavily regulated industry.

For example in my business (financial services), I have to be 100pct honest and TRANSPARENT in everything – even having to disclose precise cost price. Not that I ever want to be dishonest about anything but even making a simple human mistake in this business can land me in prison very quickly.

EGKA, United Kingdom

From my very limited experience I cannot tell the same. Either I am too stupid to find out (and happy with it) or had enough luck with my purchases. I once bought a glider and my current steed and both were fine. I knew about what’s up to do and was openly told about it. No real surprises.


So unfortunately it seems the used aircraft market includes some form of dishonesty one way or another as the norm. Some more dishonest than others.
It’s quite sad that this is not regulated. Its worse than used car market. Whilst aviation is a supposedly heavily regulated industry.

Sadly, I can absolutely relate to that. Had the same experience in the sub 250k price range.

always learning
LO__, Austria
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