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Recommendations for mobile prebuy mechanic

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17 minutes ago, jaylw314 said:

As a seller, I would have been explicit ahead of time that no inspection or repairs are authorized, and I would certainly not agree to address any airworthiness issues that you observed in your "non-inspection"...  If that wasn't agreed on ahead of time, I wouldn't have allowed for the pre-buy with you.

While I'm no lawyer, I can't imagine that any A&P or IA who cared to keep his certificate would agree to an inspection under those circumstances.

Regardless of any thesaurus-lawyering you might wish to engage in, an A&P, or especially an IA, is operating as a duly certificated representative of the FAA.  If such a person engaged in a "non inspection", found an issue that should ground the aircraft, failed to report it to the local FSDO, allowed the pilot to fly the plane, and that plane subsequently crashed, I wouldn't give you a wooden nickel for his odds of not being charged with everything the FAA could find to charge him with.

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44 minutes ago, orionflt said:

A prebuy is an inspection looking at the aircraft so the buyer knows what he is buying, I disclose the airworthy issues to the seller so he knows what I found. it is a courtesy so when the buyer contacts him about the items found they are on the same page. 

Here is a question, If I found a crack in a cylinder during a prebuy inspection would you want me to tell you your plane was not airworthy?? 

Yes, I'd love that, but I wouldn't expect you to communicate that to anyone other than the buyer.  After all, I flew the plane the week before and I didn't pay you anything to look in the engine bay, did I?  Hopefully, the buyer will communicate that to me, and I'd expect him to because he has a financial incentive to do so as a negotiating point.  

And what if you're one of those unscrupulous or ignorant mechanics who sees a line on the cylinder and says "That's a crack!" gleefully with dollars signs in his eyes, instead of suggesting to the owner proceeding with further workup for a suspected crack like a dye penetrant test?  As the owner, I reserve the right to disagree with you, and I win because you're not doing an inspection.

In fact, in other arenas like buying horses (the evil creatures :angry:), pre-buy vet exams are routinely not disclosed to the seller and are considered the property of the potential buyer.  The buyer is fully within their rights to "cherry-pick" information from the veterinarian report as negotiation points with the seller. 

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46 minutes ago, ShuRugal said:

While I'm no lawyer, I can't imagine that any A&P or IA who cared to keep his certificate would agree to an inspection under those circumstances.

Regardless of any thesaurus-lawyering you might wish to engage in, an A&P, or especially an IA, is operating as a duly certificated representative of the FAA.  If such a person engaged in a "non inspection", found an issue that should ground the aircraft, failed to report it to the local FSDO, allowed the pilot to fly the plane, and that plane subsequently crashed, I wouldn't give you a wooden nickel for his odds of not being charged with everything the FAA could find to charge him with.

When Dave Behrens at Dugosh did the pre-buy for me for a plane sold by the AAA guys, I was a little surprised that he put his bullet-point discrepancy list together on Microsoft Word file with no date, no signatures, and no names.  I thought it would be a little more official, but in retrospect it makes total sense to make any list as unofficial as possible.

I did negotiate around a couple significant items, and the AAA guys got them repaired at their home field, which I agreed to.

As to being sued for failing to report something to the local FSDO, reporting something in this circumstance is much more likely to get him sued by the owner, so I don't see how that's safer for the mechanic?  

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7 hours ago, gsxrpilot said:

Asking a question here... :ph34r:

If an IA or A&P for that matter looking at my airplane says, "this plane isn't airworthy because of X, or because this AD wasn't complied with, or some other reason". But the airplane has a current annual, this is not during an annual inspection, and nothing is logged. Doesn't the FAR also give the PIC final determination on that airworthiness? In other words, that IA can't hold my plane hostage if I choose to fly it away? 

I'm just thinking that since shops disagree all the time on determinations of airworthiness and other questions, I as PIC might pick one opinion over another and make the decision to fly home or to a different shop?

Yes, the PIC determines the airworthiness of the airplane.   However, if the PIC has been made aware of issues that actually materially affect the airworthiness of the airplane and flies it anyway and something bad happens, that could potentially become an issue for the pilot.   Personally, I set the bar pretty high on that, i.e., somebody's opinion, that might differ from somebody else's opinion, isn't going to ground my airplane.   An AD that has immediate effect and requires immediate action is hard to ignore if you're aware of it, but those are very rare.   Almost always an AD gives somebody time to get the airplane somewhere they want it in order to get the compliance work done, and from what I've seen they're usually pretty generous about that.

I don't know of any mechanism by which an A&P or even an IA can declare an aircraft grounded.   Inspections expire, but that's not done by an A&P or IA.

That's my understanding, anyway.

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1 hour ago, ShuRugal said:

While I'm no lawyer, I can't imagine that any A&P or IA who cared to keep his certificate would agree to an inspection under those circumstances.

Regardless of any thesaurus-lawyering you might wish to engage in, an A&P, or especially an IA, is operating as a duly certificated representative of the FAA.  If such a person engaged in a "non inspection", found an issue that should ground the aircraft, failed to report it to the local FSDO, allowed the pilot to fly the plane, and that plane subsequently crashed, I wouldn't give you a wooden nickel for his odds of not being charged with everything the FAA could find to charge him with.

An A&P has no obligation to report issues to anyone but whoever is paying him, unless specifically required to in certain instances (e.g., filing a 337, etc.).   Formal inspections results don't go anywhere but the logbook and to the owner/operator, and even then discrepancy lists are given only to the owner/operator and don't go in the logbook.   This system is pretty good in that it doesn't discourage people from getting their aircraft maintained or going near an A&P or IA.   If there was a risk that the airplane could be grounded or undesirably reported every time it went near an A&P or IA, a lot more maintenance would go underground than already is, and that would be a bad thing.

 

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2 hours ago, jaylw314 said:

And what if you're one of those unscrupulous or ignorant mechanics who sees a line on the cylinder and says "That's a crack!" gleefully with dollars signs in his eyes, instead of suggesting to the owner proceeding with further workup for a suspected crack like a dye penetrant test?  As the owner, I reserve the right to disagree with you, and I win because you're not doing an inspection.

you must not be a very trusting person if you expect every mechanic to try to take advantage of you to make some money, I also hope that if one tells you you have a cracked cylinder you get a second opinion other then yours before you decide to fly it away. and please don't take anyone with you.  

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16 minutes ago, orionflt said:

you must not be a very trusting person if you expect every mechanic to try to take advantage of you to make some money, I also hope that if one tells you you have a cracked cylinder you get a second opinion other then yours before you decide to fly it away. and please don't take anyone with you.  

It's not about trust, it's about establishing layers of protection, just like breaking the accident chain. 

Is there a reason you think I would plan on killing someone else by not getting another opinion on something like that?  The way you said that is insulting

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40 minutes ago, jaylw314 said:

It's not about trust, it's about establishing layers of protection, just like breaking the accident chain. 

Is there a reason you think I would plan on killing someone else by not getting another opinion on something like that?  The way you said that is insulting

I think that comes from the unscrupulous/ ignorant mechanic statement. I personally do not know any mechanics that would try to hold a plane hostage or recommend unnecessary work. I will not say that they are not out there but those that are do not stay in business very long, the word gets out quickly. I will tell you that all the mechanics I know are more concerned with ensuring the aircraft flying are safe to fly and meet all the requirements set forth by the FAA. telling you there are issues with your plane that you may want to address is just us looking out for you. If it is something that could kill you or others we will try to ensure you understand the severity of the issue. I have never felt the need to call the FAA on an owner, but I also never came across an owner who didn't have a major issue looked at before flying the plane again. 

in short, just because a mechanic tells you he found something wrong with you plane doesn't mean he is trying to get more work, he is just ensuring you know there is something you need to be aware of. as you said the choice after that is yours. we just don't want you to make a bad or uninformed decision.    

Edited by orionflt

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5 hours ago, jaylw314 said:

I don't quite understand why you believe you have an obligation to tell the seller about anything.  In fact, I'd argue (like a home inspection) that the information in the prebuy belongs to the potential buyer, and it would and should only be disclosed to the seller at the buyer's discretion.  After all, the potential buyer is the one paying for the information, and your only possible contractual obligation is to him.  You've entered into no fiduciary relationship with the seller, and as the aircraft owner I've given you no authority to conduct a regulatory inspection.

I'm not saying it's bad to tell me as the seller/owner that you didn't see, for example, an AD complied with, but that's only an observation, because you haven't been authorized to conduct an inspection.  If you called the FSDO as I was flying back that I was flying an unairworthy airplane, you would be in deep kim-chee with me and my lawyers.  For all you know, I could have known that AD was complied with but I accidentally left that page out of the logbook, and I'd be under no obligation to explain that to you because determining the airworthiness of the aircraft is my prerogative outside of an actual inspection.

So if during said PPI inspection the wing spar is found to be corroded to the point that failure is a real concern.  The inspector informs the buyer and recommends that he pass on the purchase of the plane.  

The seller flys away in his airplane, the wing fails and he is killed, the widow of the owner along with her lawyers might want to know why he wasn’t informed.  I think the inspector would have a moral obligation to point out to defect to the owner both verbally and in writing.  In a case like this a call to the regulators might well be in order.

Clarence

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2 hours ago, orionflt said:

I think that comes from the unscrupulous/ ignorant mechanic statement. I personally do not know any mechanics that would try to hold a plane hostage or recommend unnecessary work. I will not say that they are not out there but those that are do not stay in business very long, the word gets out quickly. I will tell you that all the mechanics I know are more concerned with ensuring the aircraft flying are safe to fly and meet all the requirements set forth by the FAA. telling you there are issues with your plane that you may want to address is just us looking out for you. If it is something that could kill you or others we will try to ensure you understand the severity of the issue. I have never felt the need to call the FAA on an owner, but I also never came across an owner who didn't have a major issue looked at before flying the plane again. 

in short, just because a mechanic tells you he found something wrong with you plane doesn't mean he is trying to get more work, he is just ensuring you know there is something you need to be aware of. as you said the choice after that is yours. we just don't want you to make a bad or uninformed decision.    

I accept that most mechanics are well-meaning a scrupulous.  However, unlike physicians and attorneys (I assume there are some other professions, but I can't think of them right now), mechanics have no fiduciary obligation to their clients and certainly not to the owner in a prebuy, so if I can put an extra layer of protection when working with a mechanic I don't know, it certainly makes sense to do.  Yes, it means I'm not a trusting person, but given the stakes I don't think I should be.  

2 hours ago, M20Doc said:

So if during said PPI inspection the wing spar is found to be corroded to the point that failure is a real concern.  The inspector informs the buyer and recommends that he pass on the purchase of the plane.  

The seller flys away in his airplane, the wing fails and he is killed, the widow of the owner along with her lawyers might want to know why he wasn’t informed.  I think the inspector would have a moral obligation to point out to defect to the owner both verbally and in writing.  In a case like this a call to the regulators might well be in order.

Clarence

Of course that is a question that is going to be asked in that situation, but it would take a judge and jury to determine if there was actually a duty to warn there, and I would argue there isn't.  Yes, the mechanics is likely to be sued, but I think the facts of the case suggest that suit would be unsuccessful.  My counter argument would be what if you thought there was an unsafe condition that you informed the local FSDO about?  If there was not an unsafe condition, you are likely to be sued also (by the owner), and I think it would be likely to be successful (although the damages would likely be less).  Even if there was an unsafe condition, unless the owner crashes shortly thereafter, you are still likely to be sued successfully.

Yes, if it's an egregious condition (clear evidence of wing spar corrosion and near failure), it certainly makes sense to word it strongly to the owner and accept the likelihood that he will sue you because the likelihood of failure soon.  But that is a much different scenario from calling the FSDO because you noticed a 337 was missing.

I know it seems like I'm saying "the mechanic will always get sued," but what I'm trying to say is "you can't apply a blanket rule to every situation."  Calling the FSDO for any airworthiness issue the owner won't fix or not calling the FSDO no matter how bad the problem is are probably both incorrect rules.  Like @EricJ pointed out, fixed rules about these things are likely to produce a chilling effect that reduces safety.

I'll say again a saying in medical practice:

  • If you practice to not get sued in the first place, you are probably practicing bad medicine
  • If you practice to not get sued successfully, you are probably practicing good medicine.
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