Among the many services Duncan Aviation offers are pre-buy evaluations. During these evaluations, Duncan Aviation team members with experience in the specific airframe being purchased go over the aircraft from nose-to-tail, verifying that the aircraft has been properly maintained and is in a condition that makes it a great investment for a potential buyer.
“The package we offer is dependent on the make and model. Every make and model has its own evaluation guide, and the teams use the guides to assist them in performing a thorough evaluation of the entire aircraft,” says Kasey Harwick, Director of Maintenance at Duncan Aviation’s Battle Creek, Michigan, location. “We look for everything, of course, but we are especially aware of the common findings for specific airframes because we have experience performing heavy maintenance on them.”
Among the evaluations the teams perform are function tests on avionics and airframe systems, engine runs, and visual checks of potential failure areas. For instance, there’s a known frame station crack in one model, and teams check for that.
“We also evaluate for water leaks; our teams carefully check galleys and lavs for signs of water damage,” says Kasey. “Water leaks inside the cabin of an aircraft can potentially lead to serious and expensive damage.”
Techs also review records to make sure the aircraft has been well-maintained and see how it was operated—how many hours of flight it has had in a typical year, for instance.
Just as important as the technical evaluations is the personal management of the project. “Because buyers and sellers typically have representatives on-site, these evaluations are sometimes tricky to handle from a personal interaction point of view,” says Doug Alleman, Vice President of Customer Service with Duncan Aviation. Duncan Aviation’s project managers are trained and experienced in communicating effectively with all the various sides involved in pre-purchase evaluations.
Generally, the buyer chooses the facility where the inspection will be performed, and they often opt for a facility that has not done the maintenance on the aircraft. This ensures sets of objective eyes are evaluating the condition of the aircraft.
“Because the buyer chooses, and the facility that performs the evaluation is usually not the maintenance facility that has done most of the inspections and work, these evaluations often present us with a great opportunity to develop a relationship with a potential new customer,” says Kasey Harwick. “If we are performing a pre-buy evaluation, we more than likely have not done much if any of the routine maintenance. In our experience, potential buyers are usually impressed by how thorough and knowledgeable our airframe teams are; we often end up performing much of the necessary maintenance on the aircraft, too.”
Although Duncan Aviation often gains a new, satisfied customer from the pre-buy evaluations, the customers always gain the peace of mind of knowing they’re investing in a sound, safe aircraft.
“The pre-buy evaluations are a great benefit when we are buying an aircraft for a customer,” says Duncan Aviation Aircraft Sales Representative Doug Roth. “It helps us verify that the aircraft is in acceptable condition. We always recommend that our clients complete some level of a pre-buy evaluation.”
Last year, Director of Maintenance Nelson Foote went through a pre-buy evaluation on a Global.
“It was a great experience. I’d never worked on a Global, so when the maintenance team at Duncan Aviation had it opened up, I learned a great deal about the airplane,” says Nelson. “I wanted the Duncan Aviation team to find what they could. Otherwise, during the next inspection, I’d look like an idiot for not having caught those things before we invested all that money in the Global.”