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August 26, 2020

Buying an airplane is a vital investment, so you should consider significant aspects of aircraft ownership before you sign on the dotted line. We can say that purchasing an aircraft is a significant commitment that should be considered carefully, especially in the case of a used aircraft.

Here, we will provide you with top tips to help you make an informed decision when buying a used aircraft:

Needs Analysis

Avoid being impulsive in your final purchase decision; don't make rash decisions and take adequate time to analyze your needs and be realistic.

Consider important factors such as usual flight loading, flight conditions, and trip distance, then match different airplanes with your requirements. First, rent the type of plane you're interested in, if possible, to get an idea of how well it will meet your needs.

Critical Valuation Factors

The following factors have a significant effect on the aircraft's resale value:

  • Engine Hours: The number of hours consumed by a specific airplane engine is one of the most typical influences on an aircraft's resale value. The closer an airplane engine gets closer to its recommended time between overhaul TBO, the lesser its value becomes. Apart from that, a record of consistent usage combined with a decent maintenance program is equally important. Regular use of an aircraft engine helps keep its seals and other crucial components lubricated and in good condition
  • Equipment Installed: This includes vital pieces of equipment such as avionics, interior tools, deicing gear, and air conditioning. An essential piece of equipment among these is the avionics that can double the resale value of an old airplane. Besides, older tools are usually more costly to maintain.
  • Airworthiness Directives: The concerned aviation authorities issue these instructions for safety reasons. All the aircraft operators have to completely comply with these directives within an allotted time period after they are issued. Therefore, it's vital that you look into the airworthiness directives of an airplane while purchasing it. Examine the nature of these instructions and understand whether they are on a one-time or recurring compliance basis. Always ensure that the logbooks show full compliance with each applicable directive
  • Damage History: Repairs done on an aircraft can have a significant impact on its resale value. An airplane's damage history reduces its useful value, depending on the nature of the damage, the kind of accident, and degree to which significant parts have been damaged. Always inspect your potential aircraft with a damage history to determine whether it has been correctly repaired according to the applicable regulations and recommended practices of the concerned aviation authority
  • Paintwork: Most sellers would give their old, worn-out aircraft a new facelift with a thorough paint job. Examine the newly done paintwork on a plane carefully for possible evidence of corrosion under its exterior surface
  • Interior: Items present inside an aircraft must be inspected to know whether they are in good condition


To better understand your next aircraft's condition, make yourself familiar with some of the specific terminologies involved in describing the state of the engine. A top overhaul of the airplane engine includes engine component repairs outside of the crankcase.

A significant overhaul of the aircraft engine includes complete disassembly, examination, component restoration, and reassembly of an engine to its specifications. The logbooks of an aircraft engine that has undergone a top or significant overhaul must show its prior maintenance history and total time on the engine.

A zero-time engine is a type of engine that has been overhauled to factor new limits by the original engine manufacturer OEM. It's also the one that has been issued with a new logbook without prior operational history. Remember that an airplane with a zero-time engine will be more valuable than a similar aircraft having an overhauled engine.

Pre-Purchase Inspection

Before making the final decision, inspect your potential airplane thoroughly through a trusted and reliable aviation technician who can give you a report regarding your aircrafts condition. A pre-buy inspection is vital to achieving a differential compression check on an engine's cylinders, additional tests should be done to determine the airplanes condition.

Acorn Welding is an aviation expert based in Canada. Visit our website to learn more about us or contact us for personalized care.