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Talking To the Principal About Post-Prebuy Projects

March 2021

A new aircraft owner understandably wants to get that aircraft into service as quickly as possible. But waiting until after the finalized agreement before planning for any desired modifications will only delay delivery.

Below are our recommendations to get your new aircraft in service quicker after a pre-buy.

Early Planning

Updating avionics, cabin systems, interior, and new paint are common post-prebuy projects. Although you may not want to spend any time with color, material, or design selection until after purchasing the aircraft, it is too late. The pre-buy is the time to define the scope of these projects and make material decisions.


The first step is understanding your expectations about how you are going to use your aircraft. What interior requirements do you have? What are your general aesthetic preferences for colors and materials? For instance, do you want two divans in your aircraft, but the aircraft you are looking at only has one? What are your cabin seating requirements? Galley needs?

The same principle applies to flight deck upgrades or cabin electronics. Will you be flying internationally? What equipment upgrades are required in these airspaces? What are the destination requirements?

The answers to these questions factor into how soon your new aircraft can be put into service.


To make the most of the time after a pre-buy, it is critical you understand the time and effort it takes for sales, designers, engineers, and others to plan for and gather all the resources to meet your usage and delivery expectations.

Accounting for material lead times is often underestimated. Typical material lead times can range anywhere from one to four weeks to procure; utilizing exotic materials will result in even longer lead times. When these decisions are made early, materials can be on their way before the pre-buy is finalized. 

Lead times impact more than just interior materials. Many avionics and cabin system upgrades require significant planning and lead times for the equipment and design.

Having an up to date internet connectivity system is a must for any business aircraft. Evaluation and decisions need to be made ahead of time about data transfer speeds, service coverage, service plans, security, and costs. Once decided, engineers need time to design and plan the installation.  

Split Delivery

In some scenarios, when faced with extremely long lead times, it may make sense to do an upgrade survey of the aircraft during the prebuy inspection making all material and design decisions. While waiting for the materials and equipment to arrive, depart and enjoy the new aircraft for that period of time. Then return for installation after materials have arrived and design and engineering are complete.

This allows us to plan and receive the material while you are enjoying your new aircraft. And when you return for the planned modification, the amount of time the aircraft has to be down is shorter.

The bottom line is this. Don’t wait until the end of the pre-buy to begin planning for what happens next. You’ll be waiting longer than necessary.

Previous Talking To The Principal Series Topics:

November: Talking To The Principal About Safety Management Systems

December: Talking To The Principal About Cabin Management Obsolescence 

January: Talking To The Principal About COTS

February: Talking To The Principal About Comparing Quotes

If you have topics you would like to see covered in this series, please send your suggestions to Intelligence@DuncanAviation.com