Arguably, the most revealing pre-buy inspection is a good audit of the aircraft records. A complete audit will identify the current status of the aircraft as required by 14 CFR 91.417, uncover time frames of no maintenance, identify inaccurate engine cycle tracking as well as aircraft time tracking, and reveal aircraft damage history. Once an aircraft has been damaged, it is difficult to establish a value that is as high as the identical aircraft with no damage.
Complete records pay off
Incomplete or missing records will greatly impact the value and ability to sell the aircraft. The completeness and accuracy of the aircraft's maintenance records is something we can control with very little effort.
We have seen missing blocks of time or missing logbooks impact the value of a used aircraft as much as 25 percent. For a $15 million aircraft that figure is $3,750,000. Hard to believe isn't it? Well, think about it this way; if your particular aircraft is one of several available at the time you are ready to sell and you are missing a large block of maintenance records for some reason, the aircraft with complete and accurate records will sell first, no doubt. And, when you are faced with a must-sell situation, you will be forced to reduce the price significantly in order to move the aircraft.
So, you can see how important complete and accurate aircraft records are. The regulations set up the framework for maintenance recording. They dictate what must be recorded, by who, and when, as well as what records must be transferred with the aircraft.
I hope that as a result of reading this article you have a new or reinforced appreciation for the impact that maintenance record keeping has on the cost of maintenance and the overall value of an aircraft.
Joe Hertzler is the CEO and co-founder of Avtrak Inc., provider of the industry's first Internet-based and compliance-focused maintenance tracking service — Avtrak GlobalNet. Avtrak has announced, within the past two years, alliances with Gulfstream, Raytheon, and Sikorsky that have each selected Avtrak's GlobalNet technology for the next generation of their factory-provided maintenance tracking services, Gulfstream CMP.net, Raytheon FACTS, and Sikorsky Helotrac II.
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