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How bad is it really to have missing logs?


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I've found a reasonable Mooney for sale that has 0 logs for the last 20 years. I have beautiful logs 1989 - 2001. 

Here's what I know:

  • No NTSB reports for the aircraft for incidents
  • I have in hand all the FAA records you can purchase, nothing scary there
  • I know I'll need to re-certify every single AD since 2001
  • I have in-hand engine major overhaul paperwork  in 2014 and complied AD's for the engine installed
  • I have proof the current engine time is 80 hours. 

Once I have redone all the outstanding AD's have those in a new log book and rebuild the pieces that I can will that improve the value of the aircraft or should I offer the seller 1/2 the value of an equivalent Mooney for not having all the logs? 

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Because the logs that are missing are the current logs the price will take a bigger hit. I would be concerned with damage history that is being hidden. Make sure you have a thorough prebuy from a reputable Mooney expert.  Can we ask what you are looking at?  
 

Brian

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Like above

No logs at all = huge reduction in value 
old logs missing, but 10+ years of current logs = gives you some negotiation power
current logs missing, but has older logs = not much better than no logs at all.

 

Definitely check to make sure the logs aren’t being held by an A&P and there isn’t a mechanics lien against it

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Having missing logs from more than a year ago isn't that big of a deal, but missing the current logs is an issue.    As you mentioned, documenting that all relevant ADs are current is necessary, which might require some intrusive maintenance in some cases, especially on engines. 

That said, usually the bigger issue is that the total time on the airframe must be known, and that can be very difficult to determine without the logs.

Edit:   AC43-9C Chg 2 has a lot of relevant information in section 12, which deals specifically with lost records.

Edited by EricJ
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Me personally, I would get a very thorough pre-buy at MY choice of shop. And that pre-buy is going to be expensive. And then hopefully it all works out and you're flying a nice M20J for half what it should have cost.

But...

Just be aware that when you go to sell it, you're gonna take a huge hit to the value as well. Unless you own it for 20 years and have therefore created 20 years of impeccable logs, you'll take a bath when you go to sell. And even if you have those 20 years of logs when you sell, your buyers pool will be smaller as there are plenty of buyers out there who won't look at a Mooney that's missing ANY logs.

I'd buy it if everything checks out... but it would have to be at a significant discount.

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Posted (edited)

@orionflt I found it by calling people from local airports that had Mooneys with flat tires using FAA tail number records. Behold someone looking to sell! 

@RLCarter There indeed is a lien against it. Current owner has a year or two left on the loan. I'll for sure use a title company to move money around. 

@EricJ I have the engine overhaul documents from 2014. Serial number on the engine, pistons, I can see from the outside match. I think I have the AD compliance list for the engine at least. I have hobbs time from that 2014 overhaul. And the current hobbs is about 100 hours more than that. I believe I can infer the airframe total hours at 7500 ish. I have to replace #2 cylinder compression is 56/80, bore scope shows pitting in the wall about 1/2 up in the 5 o-clock position looking from the upper spark plug. I'll verify the s/n and condition of the cams when that is out. 

Thanks all!

Edited by Parttime_Pilot_Blake
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Just now, Parttime_Pilot_Blake said:

@orionflt I found it by calling people from local airports that had Mooneys with flat tires using FAA tail number records. Behold someone looking to sell! 

@RLCarter There indeed is a lien against it. Current owner has a year or two left on the loan. I'll for sure use a title company to move money around. 

@EricJ I have the engine overhaul documents from 2014. Serial number on the engine pistons things external match. I think I have the AD compliance list for the engine at least. I have hobbs time from that 2014 overhaul. And the current hobbs is about 100 hours more than that. I believe I can infer the airframe total hours at 7500 ish. I have to replace #2 cylinder compression is 56/80, bore scope shows pitting in the wall about 1/2 up in the 5 o-clock position looking from the upper spark plug. I'll verify the s/n and condition of the cams when that is out. 

Thanks all!

Sounds like you're on top of it.   Checking the cam will be a good idea since it hasn't flown much in the last seven years, and you'll only be able to see the part of the cam exposed when the cylinder is pulled.    Regardless, it'll be a lot of work for you to get everything back up to speed on the documentation, so the price should reflect that plus the additional risk you'll be taking for whatever pops up later that could not be known without the logs.   If there's already pitting in a cylinder with only about 100 hours on it, it may be likely that there are issues elsewhere as well that might not reveal themselves for a while.

 

 

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@EricJ Yes. Fortunately for me I've found an airplane partner that is an A&P. So at least all the hours to go through the AD compliance list won't be at the standard rate. Also thanks for the AC43-9C Chg 2 reference for missing manuals. I think I understand why A&P's do so little work in the time they have, they spend half of it buried in paperwork. The sheer volume of paperwork documentation, cross-referencing is shocking. Where the aircraft is for me, rather than trying to flip a plane; resell value isn't super important. 

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@RLCarter He "can't find them." He thought he was missing 5 years, which I believe because it's been sitting for 6. I have no logs from the last three owners. His personal situation is to abandon the standard brick and mortar way of life and become nomadic so either the logs are buried in a storage unit somewhere or he really did pitch them all when he moved out. 

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@EricJ On your Mooney there is a steel truss near the wing spar right where there'd be marks if there was a gear up landing. I have a flat spot. It's the only thing I can find anywhere on the airframe that looks like it could have had a gear up landing. I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture. I'll be back in there to figure out what clanks on the ailerons when I turn it right. 

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It’s a very simple question....

what will you say when you go to sell the plane and people call you and ask why the logs are missing?

it’s probably ok, and probably not nefarious, but you have to wonder and so will the next buyer...

it isn’t the defining quality of the plane, but it is VERY relevant. 
 

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While not original, logs can be recreated by an IA. Is there ANY paper work for the last 20 years? Sounds like you know who the previous owner(s) were, see if the can give you any names on who has worked on the plane and check with them to see if they have any copies of work done

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4 minutes ago, Schllc said:

It’s a very simple question....

what will you say when you go to sell the plane and people call you and ask why the logs are missing?

it’s probably ok, and probably not nefarious, but you have to wonder and so will the next buyer...

it isn’t the defining quality of the plane, but it is VERY relevant. 
 

Depending on how long you own the plane it may become a non-issue. The bigger issue is how you will prove all ADs have been complied with or even if they don't apply. It will take a lot of labor to review all the ADs and inspect the plane to create log entries to say they'd been complied with. 

Not sure how you'd report SMOH time for insurance purposes.

-Robert

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Just now, RobertGary1 said:

Depending on how long you own the plane it may become a non-issue. The bigger issue is how you will prove all ADs have been complied with or even if they don't apply. It will take a lot of labor to review all the ADs and inspect the plane to create log entries to say they'd been complied with. 

Not sure how you'd report SMOH time for insurance purposes.

-Robert

My reference was only to gauge how you would price compared to the same plane with the logs. 
if you can’t prove ads have been complied with, you have to pay a shop to confirm. It’s that simple. 
It affects value, that is axiomatic.  To what extent, is what the market determines. 
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, there are plenty of naive buyers. 
I'm a research nerd.... two sides to that coin too....

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1 hour ago, Schllc said:

It’s a very simple question....

what will you say when you go to sell the plane and people call you and ask why the logs are missing?

it’s probably ok, and probably not nefarious, but you have to wonder and so will the next buyer...

it isn’t the defining quality of the plane, but it is VERY relevant. 
 

Yes you are 100% right it will look *really* fishy. Maybe I’m naive, but do people buy airplanes because they’re a good investment? I assume the aircraft will depreciate. But if I buy it at a great price, fly it 5-10 years keep good logs and sell it for less than I bought it for am I out any more than someone who paid more for a well documented plane? Say I buy a well documented plane for 85k fly it for 800 hours over the years and sell it for 40-60k I’m out 20-40k for the use of the aircraft. Now let’s say I get it for half and put 15-20k of work in it. I’m still 20k cheaper than the well logged plane to get into it. Then I put 800 hours on it sell it for 30-50k and I’m out 20-40k for the time I spent in the aircraft. Kinda 6’s isn’t it? 

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Don't know if you're looking to take a loan out for the purchase (I'm guessing not), but I ran into banks that would not underwrite a loan on an aircraft all the logs, and I suspect no current logs would be a gamestopper.

Also, it'd be worth asking @Parker_Woodruff if lack of current logs will affect the ability to insure the aircraft once it's airworthy?

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21 minutes ago, Parttime_Pilot_Blake said:

Yes you are 100% right it will look *really* fishy. Maybe I’m naive, but do people buy airplanes because they’re a good investment? I assume the aircraft will depreciate. But if I buy it at a great price, fly it 5-10 years keep good logs and sell it for less than I bought it for am I out any more than someone who paid more for a well documented plane? Say I buy a well documented plane for 85k fly it for 800 hours over the years and sell it for 40-60k I’m out 20-40k for the use of the aircraft. Now let’s say I get it for half and put 15-20k of work in it. I’m still 20k cheaper than the well logged plane to get into it. Then I put 800 hours on it sell it for 30-50k and I’m out 20-40k for the time I spent in the aircraft. Kinda 6’s isn’t it? 

M20J's don't depreciate. Or at least they aren't over the last 5 years. If you buy a well documented, airworthy, M20J today for 85K and fly it for 800 hours over the course of 6 to 8 years, you'll sell it for $125K. We'll assume you maintain it, fly it, maybe upgrade the panel a bit and take good care of it.

All Mooneys other than the long bodies, have already fully depreciated. If one is maintained in flying condition with a moderately up to date panel/autopilot, it will appreciate considerably.

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50 minutes ago, jaylw314 said:

Don't know if you're looking to take a loan out for the purchase (I'm guessing not), but I ran into banks that would not underwrite a loan on an aircraft all the logs, and I suspect no current logs would be a gamestopper.

Also, it'd be worth asking @Parker_Woodruff if lack of current logs will affect the ability to insure the aircraft once it's airworthy?

Insurable. Basically no one ever asks about complete logs in underwriting. They do ask hours SMOH very often though 

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Take a look around here...

Often planes that sit, specifically IO360s...

Start getting priced as if the engine is run out.   Because the engine very often needs an OH...soon.

 

Airframes that sit outside... collect an equal number of challenges...  rain and UV light is not very friendly...

Planes that sit indoors make great houses...


So...

If you want a project to work on... this is a great way to demonstrate your mechanical skill...

 

If you are somehow thinking this is a great way to buy a low cost airplane... and nobody else has recognized this opportunity...

Even free planes can be very expensive to get airworthy...


Compare yourself to people that do this all the time...

That have experience rebuilding airplanes from nose to tail... they are able to do this legally because they are mechanics...

To do this because you have mechanical skill, you will be relying on a mechanic that has the legal skill to sign the log that says your work was done properly...

 

When describing a machine like this... it is close to being described as too far gone.  It has two major setbacks that are too much for many people...

So...

Who buys these things... and why...

Mechanics buy these things... If they can get it airworthy, it fly’s again... if it doesn’t, it gets disassembled, parts get catalogued and sold off over the years...

 

Know that there are some people that won’t buy a plane with damage history... 

There are people that don’t buy planes that have no logs...

Another group won’t buy a plane that has damage history that has been repaired by an unknown mechanic... or company...

 

When this makes sense to buy...  

you are getting a really good plane that accidentally got abandoned... and somebody was paying the bills to keep it indoors...

You are either a mechanic, or have a good relationship with one...

You have a ton of dough to cover the mistakes you are about to make... and willing to gamble...

You have had a pre purchase inspection done to identify the key expensive areas are still solid...

 

You have a solid plan B...  what am I going to do when I realize This isn’t for me..?

There are three people around the country that help in this situation...

 

Keep in mind... the lowest cost to fly... is to get a plane that is currently flying with all of the unknowns wrung out...

Sounds like horrible news... those planes are so expensive....

 

One thing that could work really well... how well does the owner know the plane?   Talk to him about the plane to see what it’s condition might really be...


set your expectations...

Expect that it may be too far gone...

Expect that it might be a better project for somebody else...

Expect that if you get it for free... your are still going to spend a ton of dough on it...

expect that your plan B may be sell it as a parts plane to the undertaker...

 

On the other hand... 

You might get to see every inch of it...  

there might not be any corrosion anywhere... 

Even the rat socks are in good condition...

All the steel tubes are nicely painted...

 

If you have a plan that doesn’t include hope and wishful thinking as main steps... you might go pretty far...

Do everything you can to minimize hope and wishful...


There are several project planes brought back to life around here...

There are also projects that blamed the FAA or somebody else for the plane not ever flying again...

Make sure you are not buying somebody else’s problems...

Either way... MS will still be here supporting everyone that tries...

Go for it!

See how far you can get...

The stronger your plan A is, the less likely you will need a plan B...

My M20C sat outdoors uncovered for two years without being used... but, it had all of its log books...  :)

It is a work of passion...

Best regards,

-a-

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Posted (edited)

How do you say no to this face??? It's like your kid saying "daddy will you take me flying?" Jokes aside I'd be interested to know if my financing options are going to be limited. And if insurance is going to be an issue also. 

 

Mooney M20J.jpeg

Edited by Parttime_Pilot_Blake
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22 minutes ago, Parker_Woodruff said:

Insurable. Basically no one ever asks about complete logs in underwriting. They do ask hours SMOH very often though 

Not to change the subject but have underwriters found that high time motors are a bigger risk or is it just a hunch?

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