Airplane Loans

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Along with securing airplane loans, aircraft buyers should follow recommended procedures that help protect their considerable investments. Two absolutely crucial standard procedures include a "pre-buy" inspection, and a title search. Although some buyers are in a hurry and skip these essentials, horror stories abound about the consequences.

Importance of a Pre-Buy and Title Search

The pre-buy is an inspection of an airplane by at least one mechanic. Probably no one would buy a plane sight unseen, but some commit to a purchase hastily because they like something about the aircraft. There are "rules" to the pre-buy that can ensure you get an objective opinion. Most importantly, get the pre-buy done at a business that had nothing to do with the maintenance of the plane. The value of a second opinion in this situation can be critical.

Next, get the pre-buy done at a place away from the plane's home airport. Even flying to a nearby airport will help to remove the possibility of subjective opinions by a mechanic who knows the plane and/or the current owner. Your mechanic should not only inspect the plane, but the logbooks as well to make certain they contain original and accurate entries. This is not as extensive as an annual, so it can be completed in about four hours or less.

Owners have a tendency to skip the title search; after all, the present owner is a friend and says there has never been a lien against the plane. The title gives you legal ownership, however, so it is critical to make sure the title is clear. Any aircraft may have a lien against it even though the owner may be totally unaware of it. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not notify owners when liens are filed, so the only way to discover them is through title searches. The FAA does offer a CD with aircraft records, but these records are not complete.


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