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Pre-Purchase Inspections

The primary objective of a pre-purchase inspection is to determine that the aircraft is both; in the condition as represented by the seller, and is acceptable to the potential buyer.

The purpose of the pre-purchase inspection is to protect the interests of the buyer. It is not intended to be an Annual or Airworthiness Inspection. The purchaser is engaging the Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO) to professionally evaluate the obvious condition of the aircraft.

The scope of the inspection may vary with respect to the model and age of the aircraft and the purchaser’s intended use. The desired cost of the inspection and the monetary risk the buyer is willing to accept are directly related to the depth of the inspection requested and previously agreed upon between the parties.

Since payment for the pre-purchase inspection can only be secured by possession of the aircraft, its logbooks and Technical Records; the owner is held responsible to the AMO for all costs associated with the pre-purchase inspection. It is therefore advisable the seller collects from the prospective buyer and retains a down payment sufficient to cover the inspection costs prior to the inspection taking place.

Typically the areas of evaluation will be • General condition of aircraft.
• It’s maintenance status and standards as shown by the Technical Records.
• Known problem areas readily observable by the nature of the abbreviated inspection.
• Obvious unrecorded damage and repairs.
• Logbook and Technical Records.
• Compliance with Transport Canada Regulations (ADs, etc) as shown by the logbooks and records.

If an aircraft needs to be imported into Canada, it will need to undergo an Importation Evaluation Process. This is different from a pre-purchase inspection.

It is our experience that many sellers are unaware of many of the findings that may surface during the pre-purchase inspection.

Following the inspection the parties have four choices: • If all looks acceptable, complete the sale.
• Complete the sale with a price adjustment to offset the cost of discrepancies.
• Discontinue the sale and pay out the AMO for services rendered.
• Work out another equitable arrangement between the parties.

Since both the buyer and the seller are at the end of a long road, most choose to work out an agreement that will allow everyone involved to settle the deal in a mutually agreeable fashion.

Pre-Purchase Inspection FAQ’s

Who pays for the pre-purchase inspection?
Typically, the buyer normally chooses the AMO and pays for the pre-purchase inspection via a down payment to the seller. The AMO provides the results of the inspection to the buyer. In most instances, the buyer and seller make alternate arrangements. If the aircraft sells the cost is shared. If the aircraft does not sell, the buyer loses the down payment.

Why should I pay for a pre-purchase inspection before buying an aircraft?
An aircraft can be beautiful on the surface, but many have hidden defects and problems that can cost you money in the long run. The aircraft owner may not even be aware of problems, especially if an aircraft hasn’t been run in a while. Corrosion may not be visible on the surface but pulling panels can reveal hidden problems. A pre-purchase inspection will provide a good general idea of future expectations and maintenance costs most likely to occur.

After I buy the airplane is it due to have an annual inspection? Isn’t a pre-purchase inspection the same thing as an annual?
Some of the steps of a pre-purchase inspection are similar to actions taken during an annual inspection. A pre-purchase inspection is not as detailed as an annual inspection nor does it address regulatory requirements. If Victoria Air Maintenance conducts the pre-purchase on your acquisition aircraft and you hire our AMO to complete an annual inspection shortly after the pre-purchase inspection, you will realize cost savings.

How much does a pre-purchase inspection cost?
Costs vary by aircraft type, quality of the aircraft and the completeness and orderliness of its logbooks and Technical Records. The cost is directly proportionate to the depth of both the physical inspection and the professional assessment/review of the aircraft’s Technical Records. Naturally, the deeper you contract us to look the more likely we are to uncover hidden issues. Our records show that buyers have requested as low as 4 hours of inspection time and as high as 20 hours of inspection time for smaller aircraft. The “average buyer” has chosen a 12-hour inspection for a small non-commercial aircraft. Parts and materials used during an inspection are in addition to labour costs. In some instances, the purchaser has requested very specific testing of certain areas of concern. In a nutshell, it is in the buyer’s best interest to purchase enough inspection time to provide a satisfactory assessment enabling the buyer to make “informed choices”.