BE THOROUGH. When considering the purchase of an airplane, take your time and cover all bases. Hire your own trusted mechanic for the prebuy inspection.
You might think that FAA airworthiness, inspection and record-keeping requirements virtually guarantee that any airplane you buy is going to be in superb condition. Think again: There’s a need to put serious effort into your own investigation or hire your own trusted mechanic to travel to the seller’s location. Even if the seller is a scrupulous individual, there could be expensive problems lurking that can be detected only by extensive expert examination. Even when you can rely on a warranty, it’s preferable to discover discrepancies before they bite you. Complicating matters is that detecting an unscrupulous seller can itself be a challenge. When you begin to fly your purchase, you’re entitled to the peace of mind that comes from knowing you did everything you could to diminish chances of ending up in the NTSB’s accident files.
The flight instructor and the commercial pilot/owner had traveled to Maryland to inspect and pick up the newly purchased Taylorcraft 15A, and fly it back to Jack Barstow Airport, Midland, Mich. The commercial pilot wasn’t current in the airplane and asked the flight instructor to accompany him and provide instruction en route. As part of the presale agreement, the seller hired a mechanic to perform an airworthiness inspection of the airplane, which included an engine compression check and airframe fabric test. The mechanic endorsed the airplane’s logbook for day/VFR flight only. The flight to Michigan was being conducted under an FAA ferry permit, which does not permit carrying passengers. For both the pilot and instructor to be on board, they would have to be required crewmembers.