Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

7 Replies

Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Ron Himmelreich on Feb 19, 2019 1:40 pm

I guess I should say, I need two!  One for the Pre-buy Inspection in Dothan, AL and the other in Marietta/Dallas, GA for regular maintenance of the aircraft.  Does anyone have suggestions for actual mechanics or resources to find one?  The current owner is an A&P/IA if that matters at all.  I also know abut the impending AD and the price reflects that eventuality.  Since this has so many new upgrades it is worth purchasing my own appraisal?

A little bit about the airplane:
1969 Cherokee 180
3300 TTAF
325 SMOH on motor and prop.
The logs are complete
ADS-B Compliant
Autopilot
MAJOR avionics upgrades...see attached picture
Interior is 7/10
Paint 8/10

df81d721a37c2a0d86583d88e690510d-huge-in


 
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Re: Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Feb 20, 2019 9:42 am

Regarding the pre-buy inspection, the one thing you DON'T want is one performed by either the owner/mechanic or one of his pals. You need an independent assessment, even if that means paying to fly the plane to another airport. As for a long-term mechanic, ask around your home airport. With a Piper Cherokee, you don't need any type-specific specialists, so anyone everyone likes will do.

Re: Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Steven Andrews on Feb 20, 2019 3:21 pm

I recommend Johnny Jenkins, Silver Comet Aviation. He is at the Paulding County Airport (PUJ), which is about an hour and 10 minute flight from Dothan. I recently purchased a 77 Archer II out of Pell City, AL and had Johnny do the pre-buy, fix the squawks and turn it to an annual. He was fair, very helpful when explaining things to me, and had everything done from drop off to pick up in about 2 weeks. I didn't have any major squawks though.

 

Re: Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Charles Beckett on Feb 25, 2019 9:26 am

Richard Hamilton (A&P IA) & Chris Rudd (A&P) are at Quincy 2J9 in Florida only 60nm southeast from DHN. Richard & Chris did both my Pre-buy and Annuals and routinely take care of my PA28. They are exceptional and not only take care of local aircraft they routinely support the Aerobatics teams at overseas competitions.

Re: Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Douglas Mcfall on Feb 25, 2019 11:28 am

I have to disagree with not using the mechanic that has been maintaining the aircraft. It depends on the character of the mechanic and if you can trust him/her. Here at my base (KTWF) my AP/IA has performed many pre buy inspections on aircraft he has been maintaining, including my 182 that I was selling. He will tell the buyer the good and the bad, and I appreciate that. Many of my friends have been stung after a pre buy that didn’t catch everything, such as an engine that checked out good until ten hours later the engine came apart due to an undocumented prop strike. And that mechanic may tell you about it for little to no cost, as they don’t have to open it up, as they should know the aircraft inside out, if they have been doing their job. With that said, if you can not confirm the trustworthy of the mechanic, have an outside mechanic perform the pre buy, but remember, even then you can’t be 100% sure he/she found all the problems.
Doug McFall, CFI Twin Falls, Idaho

Re: Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Feb 25, 2019 10:04 pm

Douglas Mcfall:
I have to disagree with not using the mechanic that has been maintaining the aircraft. It depends on the character of the mechanic and if you can trust him/her.

In the words of the Bard of Avon, "Aye, there's the rub."  If the airplane is located a long way from your home, how do you determine that?  But even then, a second opinion is always valuable.  I've seen a second mechanic find things the really good mechanic who regularly maintains the airplane may have missed.

 

Re: Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Ron Himmelreich on Mar 8, 2019 11:20 pm

I ended up passing on the airplane I pictured.  It was great, the owner was a really nice guy but it just wasn’t the right one for me.  I have a prepurchase inspection tomorrow for a Challenger a bit more reasonably priced but does need some upgrades. Johnny Jenkins is doing the inspection.  It turns out I know him from a PT135 outfit several years ago.  I will keeping the plane at KPUJ so it could not have worked out better!

Re: Buying my first airplane, how to find a good A&P?

Posted by Dave Rice on Mar 11, 2019 2:03 pm

Hi Ron - 

I would also recommend using Aero-Space Reports to (aerospacereports.com) to validate the 337s are all filed, and you know about all that were filed, and also to validate the absence of any liens against the aircraft.  I’ve used these guys for both of my plane purchases, and I couldn’t be happier with their services.  800-765-2336.  Best of luck with your purchase.

Dave