A Wrench in your Deal

Or a Screw in your wing?

Jim Odenwaldt -Elliott Aviation Aircraft Sales Manager www.elliottaviation.com

Last month we touched on technical expertise and use of available resources during pre-buy (otherwise known as survey). We have all had bumps in the road as we move deals towards completion. Sometimes, it can be tough to get sellers and buyers to agree on price and terms when the pre-buy list is distributed. Here is a short story illustrating how the use of these skills assisted in delivering the best possible outcome.

Earlier this year, we had a light jet at an OEM service center for a pre-buy. It had come directly from a well-known non-OEM service center facility where a complete inspection had just been conducted for the seller, based on the calendar requirements of the maintenance program, prior to the deal being structured. The seller assumed that no major issues would be found as this inspection had just been completed.

At the OEM service center, during the pre-buy, however, a section of the leading edges was removed for a detailed inspection of the area. It was discovered a countersunk screw that was ¼" too long had inadvertently been installed in the corner of the panel. As this fastener was headed toward being flush on the outside, it was gouging into the structure underneath. The damage was beyond the allowable percentage of skin thickness. The service center had to call OEM Engineering to devise a repair, which could take up to three weeks at an undetermined cost. They did offer a 30 flight hour waiver so we had the option to move the aircraft to P&I, the next scheduled stop after closing. Either way, it had to be fixed.

The non-OEM shop that conducted the inspection sent representatives and ultimately took responsibility for the improper fastener. They agreed to cover the cost of the repairs but found it unacceptable to wait three weeks to get a repair scheme from OEM Engineering with no cost estimate. The buyer was willing to close and have the repair made during P&I but the company who offered to pay the bill, understandably, wasn’t going to offer their checkbook carte blanche.

I went to the buyer and presented the idea of having an independent DER devise a repair procedure and take the aircraft back to the non-OEM facility to conduct the repairs. This would accelerate the schedule and allow them to fix their own mistake. Thankfully, they agreed! We finished the inspection, settled the bill and had the aircraft towed back across the airport. The DER was able to quickly formulate a plan, and the work was completed in about two weeks. We were very fortunate all parties were very reasonable. Everyone proceeded with integrity and patience so this one was able to get done.

Jim Odenwaldt has extensive flying and technical experience with all Beechcraft products and sales expertise with all models of Hawker/Beech, Citation and Gulfstream. After graduating from Embry-Riddle in 1989, Jim worked as a CFI and maintenance technician. While with American Beechcraft Company, he was responsible for aircraft sales in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition to his ATP, Jim is an A&P and type rated in the Beechcraft Premier.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).