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How bad is it really to have missing logs?


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when it comes to finance...
Start talking to everyone that will listen...

They usually have questions about it.

 

They want to know how to get rid of it when you stop paying for it...

Trying to assess it’s value will be worse for them than it is for you...

A flying plane, in airworthiness condition, with records to support it... is a better known value...

 

Getting a loan for a project plane... with no prior experience...

Is very much like getting between a rock and a hard place, intentionally...

Expect the engine may need an OH because it sat so long... do you get a second loan to cover the the OH cost?

Working on a plane, without a hangar can be really tough as well...

See what hangar and tie-down costs are...

Keep working on the unknowns...

Get them into the known category...

PP thoughts and suggestions only, not making any recommendations...

Best regards,

-a-

 

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Oh, for me, this is absolutely more of the long-term play. I have loved the process as much as the simple ownership and ability to fly when I want to (weather and wife permitting!).  I know every

Mooney fans, you have spoken and I will answer what I can. What are my motives? Why not buy a Mooney with logs and a current annual? I obviously have a soft spot for Mooney's and I mentioned I fo

Having purchased an '82 K without ANY logbooks due to a government seizure, I can give you my story and my take on it. I saw it as a way to get in to a very desirable airplane that I intended to keep

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The one thing I do have is proof of time on the engine. And where I've stuck a scope in the cylinders, and one for sure needs work and another is a maybe. So for the insurance I do have when it was last overhauled. Again 80 confirmed hours on this engine. I'll have more info when I pull jug #2 and can see the cams. 

What I know:

  • The right wing is wet, not because the gas is inside but because it is also outside. 
  • The pilot has no brakes but the co-pilot does
  • Ailerons make a clunking noise
  • Everything that should move is stiff, yoke, throttle, prop, mixture, old pilot, doors. 
  • There are no oil leaks anywhere
  • Tires are round except where they're square
  • Inside all the access panels are free of oxidation, water, dirt, living animals
  • Fuel caps are for decoration, they don't keep the water out or the fuel in
  • The engine is new, as are most of the aux components
  • Alternator is attached but functions only as a tension pulley
  • Runs great, fired up cold with only 1/2 a turn on blade of the prop
  • Prop speed governor works and doesn't leak
  • Plexiglass is surprisingly free of cracks UV oxidation and yellowing
  • I wouldn't use the company that painted it last time to paint it again. I can do better with a rattle can in some places.

That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger; or gives other people something to laugh at. 

~Blake

 

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7 minutes ago, Parttime_Pilot_Blake said:

The one thing I do have is proof of time on the engine. And where I've stuck a scope in the cylinders, and one for sure needs work and another is a maybe. So for the insurance I do have when it was last overhauled. Again 80 confirmed hours on this engine. I'll have more info when I pull jug #2 and can see the cams. 

What I know:

  • The right wing is wet, not because the gas is inside but because it is also outside. 
  • The pilot has no brakes but the co-pilot does
  • Ailerons make a clunking noise
  • Everything that should move is stiff, yoke, throttle, prop, mixture, old pilot, doors. 
  • There are no oil leaks anywhere
  • Tires are round except where they're square
  • Inside all the access panels are free of oxidation, water, dirt, living animals
  • Fuel caps are for decoration, they don't keep the water out or the fuel in
  • The engine is new, as are most of the aux components
  • Alternator is attached but functions only as a tension pulley
  • Runs great, fired up cold with only 1/2 a turn on blade of the prop
  • Prop speed governor works and doesn't leak
  • Plexiglass is surprisingly free of cracks UV oxidation and yellowing
  • I wouldn't use the company that painted it last time to paint it again. I can do better with a rattle can in some places.

That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger; or gives other people something to laugh at. 

~Blake

 

Real talk: why do you want this plane? If it’s a budget issue, take a good hard look at whether ownership is really for you right now. Planes that don’t fly are trouble. You can easily consume any savings by spending to bring it to a level you could have bought for less in the form of another plane on the market. And then you’ve already spent all your upgrade money just getting the plane sorted, so to add what you wanted to add you’re going to spend even more. It sounds like you already have some giant flashing neon red flags that this could turn out to be the case. Having an A&P partner mitigates this somewhat but still: parts and engine work ain’t free no matter who’s doing it. Personally I would not touch this with a ten foot pole unless I could buy it for a song but YMMV.

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Having purchased an '82 K without ANY logbooks due to a government seizure, I can give you my story and my take on it. I saw it as a way to get in to a very desirable airplane that I intended to keep and fly. I bought mine from the US Marshal's service (and can recount and document the circumstances surrounding its seizure, and thus loss of logs) should I ever want to sell. After getting it airworthy and an AD list confirmed for around $3500, I flew it for a year before slipping off a runway and suffering a prop strike and a small dent in the wing. Insurance helped, and I paid to turn it into a major overhaul. Have since upgraded the panel, and refurbished the interior to my liking. All this being said, with the avionics, overhaul, and interior, I likely could have picked up a fairly comparable plane at a similar cost. But again, to me, I was looking for something to get into in an inexpensive way, and then make my own. I also like to do a lot of "hands-on." And that is just what I have done. I now have a phenomenal, low time engine airplane with a great panel, that I intend to keep flying. That, and it has been a great business deduction!!!

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Just now, CharlesHuddleston said:

Having purchased an '82 K without ANY logbooks due to a government seizure, I can give you my story and my take on it. I saw it as a way to get in to a very desirable airplane that I intended to keep and fly. I bought mine from the US Marshal's service (and can recount and document the circumstances surrounding its seizure, and thus loss of logs) should I ever want to sell. After getting it airworthy and an AD list confirmed for around $3500, I flew it for a year before slipping off a runway and suffering a prop strike and a small dent in the wing. Insurance helped, and I paid to turn it into a major overhaul. Have since upgraded the panel, and refurbished the interior to my liking. All this being said, with the avionics, overhaul, and interior, I likely could have picked up a fairly comparable plane at a similar cost. But again, to me, I was looking for something to get into in an inexpensive way, and then make my own. I also like to do a lot of "hands-on." And that is just what I have done. I now have a phenomenal, low time engine airplane with a great panel, that I intend to keep flying. That, and it has been a great business deduction!!!

Are you concerned at all about resell value, or is this more of a long-term play?

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Charles,

I’m glad you were able to share your experience...

From somebody that has done it, without being the mechanic working on it...

Best regards,

-a- 

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3 minutes ago, ZuluZulu said:

Are you concerned at all about resell value, or is this more of a long-term play?

Charles has described how every nut and bolt down to the center of the plane has been identified... and documented...

Kind of takes the mystery out of selling it later...

 

If he were sitting on an unknown crankshaft because the engine had no log... that would be a different story...

 

When it comes to history...

I had a car that was so fast it out ran the cops... when it got stolen... a great record of performance...

Looks like Charles’ plane wasn’t fast enough...   :)

Best regards,

-a-

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Gents keep in mind what the logs are for...

They are a record of every nut and bolt at the core of the plane... including any and all ADs accomplished...

If you can get a record of every nut and bolt, or make a record... the logs aren’t so magical after that...

call it an alternative method of compliance...

The hardest thing to do... is get part numbers off things inside the engine...

Some engine builds and OHs are recorded in full detail at the engine shop...

If an engine has been field OH’d a couple of times, and the logs get lost... 

Rebuilding the records of that without opening the engine case are going to be much less likely...

For the OP, you can see the example of how much things can cost in rebuilding just the records of the plane being considered...

PP thoughts only, not a mechanic...

Best regards,

-a-

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Mooney fans, you have spoken and I will answer what I can.

What are my motives? Why not buy a Mooney with logs and a current annual? I obviously have a soft spot for Mooney's and I mentioned I found it by calling people with derelict Mooney's not primarily because of the price point. I mean who doesn't love a good deal, but because they are increasingly rare and what they do they do exceptionally well and where one has the means and the time why the heck not?  I'm not an A&P, nor will I likely ever be, IA is even further off. This one looked like one that could be saved.

I can rent a Piper manufactured model PA-28R golf cart and stay current while I spend time with a friend spinning a wrench on a plane and creating something beautiful. Why do people buy old cars? I may create some groaning with this comment but I think the late J models are the apex of style and function in a "part time pilots" price range. I mean given millions of dollars the Pilatus PC-12 is sexy! But if I had the millions I needed to buy the Pilatus I wouldn't have the time to fly it. 

@OSUAV8TER Ima going to need some seals for the fuel cap, and be the second thing to add to a brand new log book. After the oil change I did this weekend.

Good evening all, I'll leave you with a thought; as a son of an auto mechanic, grandson of a general contractor and a mom that could do just about anything with $10 I take to heart the quote from Frederick Douglas "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." We learn quickest from experiencing and overcoming the "hard things." Maybe this will ensure some Gen Z pilot has one more Mooney still around they can love as much as we love them.

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Nice work Blake...

Keeping both eyes open...

You are fully informed...

Did you share your idea with the Dad?

Dads can be helpful, and pretty funny at the same time... :)

-a-

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2 hours ago, Parttime_Pilot_Blake said:

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

That looks nice!   The missing inner gear doors might also be indicative of a past gear-up, but if there was one and it was all repaired to the point that nobody can really tell and it was more than a year ago, then it is a non-issue imho.

Since it hasn't flown for more than a year, the missing logs are really not important.   Getting the AD list compliance sorted out and the total time estimated well enough are the main hurdles and it sounds like you have reasonable plans for those.   It looks like a good opportunity to me assuming no land mines are lurking hidden, which sufficient inspection should mitigate that risk.

Edited by EricJ
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I’m guessing the owner isn’t around for comment?

Double check the usual places that logs get stored...

wives/husbands don’t often know where the logs are...

They could be easily kept in file where the last annual was performed... (that was normal back in the day...)

Sometimes they are kept amongst the other files in the home office... next to the car files...

Planes that look that nice don’t usually have their logs go missing...

PP thoughts only,

-a-

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1 hour ago, Parttime_Pilot_Blake said:

Mooney fans, you have spoken and I will answer what I can.

What are my motives? Why not buy a Mooney with logs and a current annual? I obviously have a soft spot for Mooney's and I mentioned I found it by calling people with derelict Mooney's not primarily because of the price point. I mean who doesn't love a good deal, but because they are increasingly rare and what they do they do exceptionally well and where one has the means and the time why the heck not?  I'm not an A&P, nor will I likely ever be, IA is even further off. This one looked like one that could be saved.

I can rent a Piper manufactured model PA-28R golf cart and stay current while I spend time with a friend spinning a wrench on a plane and creating something beautiful. Why do people buy old cars? I may create some groaning with this comment but I think the late J models are the apex of style and function in a "part time pilots" price range. I mean given millions of dollars the Pilatus PC-12 is sexy! But if I had the millions I needed to buy the Pilatus I wouldn't have the time to fly it. 

@OSUAV8TER Ima going to need some seals for the fuel cap, and be the second thing to add to a brand new log book. After the oil change I did this weekend.

Good evening all, I'll leave you with a thought; as a son of an auto mechanic, grandson of a general contractor and a mom that could do just about anything with $10 I take to heart the quote from Frederick Douglas "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." We learn quickest from experiencing and overcoming the "hard things." Maybe this will ensure some Gen Z pilot has one more Mooney still around they can love as much as we love them.

I appreciate the fightin' spirit!  Resurrecting unloved airplanes isn't for everyone but it sounds like you're approaching it with both eyes open.  Good luck!  Bringing a neglected plane back to life with love always gets a warm ovation around here so make sure you post photos once it's back in the air...

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2 hours ago, carusoam said:

Charles has described how every nut and bolt down to the center of the plane has been identified... and documented...

Kind of takes the mystery out of selling it later...

 

If he were sitting on an unknown crankshaft because the engine had no log... that would be a different story...

 

When it comes to history...

I had a car that was so fast it out ran the cops... when it got stolen... a great record of performance...

Looks like Charles’ plane wasn’t fast enough...   :)

Best regards,

-a-

That's why I asked!  He's done just about everything one can do to mitigate the missing logs issue.  Kudos, Charles!

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10 hours ago, RobertGary1 said:

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

When you've got an airplane far past TBO insured for 50% over market value, some questions need to get asked.

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Missing logs are generally bad.

That said, there is deduction in purchase price, and normally a smaller market to sell the airplane to when it's time to sell, also at a discount.

The older the logs are that are missing is better. As long as the last X years show consistent flying, all the work, the airplane is in good shape, and any damage history is noted in the logs, it will be better. If there's obviously a repair on the airplane that's noticeable but nothing logged about it - that could be an issue. An upgrade or STC that's upgraded, but not logged is also an issue.

I purchased my 1967 M20F in 2008 with the initial log book missing. It had a gear up a few years before I purchased it with an overhauled engine and new prop. It had flown enough and was maintained by an MSC. I purchased it for $53k and three years and 500 hours later sold it for $50k in 2011. I probably could have gotten closer to $55 or $60k as I put more time on it, did some upgrades, etc, but I also took 500 hours off the engine and did a private transaction quickly to a friend with no listing fees. With the missing first log at the time, I figured it would be hard to get $60k. Also, it needed a paint job, which the new owner did about a year after purchasing. Now it's recently been sold again (9 years later). In it's current state it's worth more than that amount today (especially with the uptick in M20C, E, F, and J model prices). That said, inflation over 8 years probably keeps it about even.

My current 1983 Mooney Missile has all it's logs. 

You can purchase, insure, and fly an airplane with missing logs. Just understand the pros/cons before you do it. Many airplanes are flying with missing logs. Reconstructed information is also a posisitve.

If you have logs - take digital pics, scan them, do something so you have a back up somewhere. It's cheap insurance.

 

-Seth

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Me personally, I'd use it for a negotiating tool and if after a thorough inspection of the aircraft you like it and can get it at a price you are comfortable with, buy it. 

I have worked for airlines where we bought some used aircraft that the logs weren't missing but all the maintenance from the previous foreign operator was suspect. We re-accomplished every single scheduled maintenance task and airworthiness directive on the aircraft. Basically the aircraft was rebuilt/re-certified to an almost new standard. So what we got in the end was probably better than a lot of other used aircraft and even after all the work was done, less expensive. Just realize what you are getting yourself in to. If you were closer around here, I'd help. I like seeing aircraft that have been sitting around unused get a new life. 

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9 hours ago, EricJ said:

That looks nice!   The missing inner gear doors might also be indicative of a past gear-up, but if there was one and it was all repaired to the point that nobody can really tell and it was more than a year ago, then it is a non-issue imho.

Since it hasn't flown for more than a year, the missing logs are really not important.   Getting the AD list compliance sorted out and the total time estimated well enough are the main hurdles and it sounds like you have reasonable plans for those.   It looks like a good opportunity to me assuming no land mines are lurking hidden, which sufficient inspection should mitigate that risk.

Hehe missing gear door is an indicator the plane was parked on it. When I found it 2/3 tires were flat all the way to the rim. I have the door, its damage is consistent with improper tire inflation. 

I've been told there are two types of retractable gear aircraft, those that have had a gear up landing, and the ones that will. If this one has had a gear up, and the only thing that I can find that might be evidence of a gear up is some abrasion on a steel member on the belly wouldn't that imply that an extensive professional repair was done? Are there other long term consequences of a gear up landing for the plane? (For the pilot that will follow you around FOREVER) also wouldn't a gear up have record at the NTSB? (assuming gear up on landing not gear up while parked)

 

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12 hours ago, RobertGary1 said:

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

Having worked in as an analyst in an actuarial department I can tell you there is probably a statistical correlation between high time engines and claims. With how few aircraft there are in GA it would probably only take a handful of incidents to create a statistical blip to correlate high time engines to insurance claims. 

On a possibly related note I have a friend that I won't name have an engine almost 1k hours over TBO, off-hand he joked the cheapest way to get an overhaul is to pray for qualifying event that the insurance helps you pay for it. He sold 3 shares in his plane and not 6 months later a partner had... a prop-strike. 

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8 minutes ago, Parttime_Pilot_Blake said:

Having worked in as an analyst in an actuarial department I can tell you there is probably a statistical correlation between high time engines and claims. With how few aircraft there are in GA it would probably only take a handful of incidents to create a statistical blip to correlate high time engines to insurance claims. 

On a possibly related note I have a friend that I won't name have an engine almost 1k hours over TBO, off-hand he joked the cheapest way to get an overhaul is to pray for qualifying event that the insurance helps you pay for it. He sold 3 shares in his plane and not 6 months later a partner had... a prop-strike. 

That surprises me. A friend had a gear up in my v tail and the insurance company charged me betterment. Isn’t  that standard. @Parker_Woodruff??

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2 minutes ago, RobertGary1 said:

That surprises me. A friend had a gear up in my v tail and the insurance company charged me betterment. Isn’t  that standard. @Parker_Woodruff??

They'll charge you betterment if you do the overhaul instead of just the required teardown.  But they're not going to charge you betterment if it's a total loss.  They just cut a check.

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It sounds like you're looking for a project, not too concerned about the cost, and interested in rescuing a deserving Mooney. In that case, this looks like a great option. The M20J being the most popular Mooney model, it's a great candidate rescue. 

Compared to rescuing a car, it will take a lot more time and will be much more expensive. But the end result will be very satisfying. And if you own/fly it long enough, you'll get your investment back. It will always have that "scarlet letter" of missing logs attached to it. But the effect will fade over time and as the overall fleet continues to shrink.

Best of luck and keep us posted on the progress.

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