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The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. IFA, nor any related parties to IFA, assume any responsibility or liability for events that occur due to actions you or others on your behalf take based on the information provided in these articles. It is suggested that you consult your own aircraft manuals and aircraft mechanic for any maintenance on your aircraft. You are proceeding at your own risk.

As the Hangar Door Shuts Blog - by Brooks Margolien, 6/12/2013

Pre-purchase Inspection

Since the housing crash, all of us in the aviation business have felt the change in the economy. I’m luckier (but I don’t believe in luck) than most in that my shop has been busy right along, save for the fourth quarter of last year when the apron was torn up and reconstructed in front of my hangar at Orange, Mass.

I always thought the enemy of fixing an airplane was interruption, which is why a cell phone is so dangerous around a maintenance shop. However, last fall I learned the granddaddy of interruption is the giant vibratory steam roller used to roll out the new ramp, in this case it was the original dirt, then the crushed stone and finally the asphalt. Day after day the shakes ran through the shop until I couldn’t take it anymore. I came in late and left early. Occasionally we “cancel the day due to lack of interest”, but that takes an exceptional event, such as the weather is too good, or too bad or I whack my head so hard on a Cessna wing that I see stars. I’d wear a helmet, but it would do too much damage to the planes.

However, since New Year’s, just like the Fed Beige book, the aviation economy is showing signs of a new spring. And there is no better indicator than when you get the call to go perform a pre-purchase inspection for a new plane owner. Everyone likes to be wanted. Airplane mechanics included.

In the most recent case it was to go look at a beautiful Tiger LLC AG-5B Tiger. Can’t call it a Grumman Tiger anymore. One of the last ones built, this dry country plane was not only a fine example of a Tiger, but a fine airplane all around. These planes have everything a mechanic likes: a sturdy cowling, tough landing gear, upholstery that holds up, windows still in great shape. Engine had new magnetos, new cam and lifters, new prop from a teardown. For years I’ve told anyone buying a plane to buy the nicest one they can find. It took a total stranger to “hear” my gospel. The cheapest way to acquire a bunch of good aircraft maintenance is to buy a plane that the seller did all the heavy lifting. The next best way is to have me do it!
There’s just something about going to look at a nice shiny plane for somebody. Makes you believe in yourself, your choice to be in aviation and even a little hope for the future. We all have managed to survive 9/11 shut down, TFR’s, the market crash and $5.90 fuel. Now as long as everyone doesn’t run out and buy a boat I think we’re going make it! Please don’t buy a boat.

Something about the $5.90 fuel I’ve noticed. It just seems so much more worth it to spend $200 bucks on AvGas to go flying than to throw another $65 into the minivan tank.

So on behalf of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank and airplane mechanics everywhere, I say GO BUY A PLANE!

I would like to take this moment to say I have a Cherokee, a share in a Citabria, (it’s for sale by the way), 5 cars on the road (one nice thing about getting old - car insurance is CHEAP), 4 mini bikes and a vintage 250 Moto-X bike. I’m doing my share!

Brooks Margolien is president and chief technician of Aero Care, Inc., a state-of-the-art piston engine aircraft (13’6” H by 50’ W door opening) maintenance shop in Orange, MA. Brooks has been an aircraft mechanic for over 23 years. You can reach Brooks directly at aerocare.aero@gmail.com.