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Thread: Cessna missing logs 20 yrs ago

  1. #1
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Cessna missing logs 20 yrs ago

    I read through most of the other missing log threads.

    I notice most are for fabric airplanes. Theme seems to be “if it was rebuilt/recovered and engine overhauled since its not a huge deal.” [simplification]

    Curious how this plays with a cessna- which doesnt get recovered.

    A local buddy of mine is selling a very nice 185F. He says “no damage history.” It is a nice plane and is priced accordingly.

    Only issue is that its missing a few hundred hours of airframe logs from the early 2000’s which I didnt realize when I first considered it. Not sure how it could be no damage history AND missing logs. Is that possible?

    Engine was overhauled a couple of years ago and no issue with logs there.

    I have very little concern with their being issues known to him but not disclosed- as its local and we run in the same circles. I am just super duper meticulous with stuff.

    Only bought one other plane- so experience is limited

    It cost as much as the house I grew up in so thought I would check for feedback here.

    My main concern is not being able to easily sell because of the log issue. Its not like its a 70 year old plane. Again- logs missing were from 15-20 yrs ago.

    I want the unicorn- no damage history AND complete logs- but then I think- maybe actually knowing the owner and the mechanics is more important than that?

    Should i hold out for the unicorn or is this the unicorn because its local and nicely appointed?

    Sometimes just writing this out is cathartic for me.

    I am not in a rush either way.

    Sourcing wisdom.

    Ps- even if its not this plane (another threadnon whether skywayon is even the right call) curious on feedback in case i confront this in the future on another purchase

  2. #2

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    I’d put more stock into a good inspection by a good Skywagon mechanic than anything written in logs.

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    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardiff Kook View Post
    Only issue is that its missing a few hundred hours of airframe logs from the early 2000’s which I didnt realize when I first considered it. Not sure how it could be no damage history AND missing logs. Is that possible?
    "No damage history" is entirely consistent with missing logs. The history of the damage is lost with the logs.

    No damage history means no history of damage. It does not mean there never was any damage. Even if there are complete logs you really don't know for sure it wasn't damaged and repaired without a log entry. Even if there is a log entry recording damage repair you don't know for sure it is a complete record.

    Others may have a less cynical view of aircraft damage being accurately recorded in the logs.
    Last edited by frequent_flyer; 12-04-2022 at 01:25 PM. Reason: correct typo
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    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    I’d put more stock into a good inspection by a good Skywagon mechanic than anything written in logs.
    Me too- but worth holding out for a good inspection and good logs on a very high cost plane?

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    Every deal is different. I consider airplanes as assets, so the market value has to equal/exceed the purchase value.

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    Friend who’s an aircraft broker said missing logs, 20% off the book value right off the bat.
    That was before the market went crazy though. He also made the point about not over spending on emotions. It’s a business transaction.

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    I have seen a lot of damage and repairs on aircraft that never made it into the logs!!! So having logs from day 1 only means something if over the life of the plane everyone followed the rules. My cub is missing a lot of early logs, it has been in so many wrecks that about the only thing original is the altimeter. My Cessna had major firewall gear box repair years ago in Washington, then got flipped in lake hood resulting in wing and engine swap from a 182. Both fly just fine!! You need to find an IA that cares for Cessna 185 on a routine basis to do a pre-buy no matter what the logs/owner/your buddy says!!! It is pretty easy to spot damage/repairs if you know what you are looking at. Bottom line is logs really mean little from a damage/repair standpoint. The big thing is to make sure all changes or STC's are properly documented. If you are worried about getting your money back out of a plane you need to find another hobby like boating.
    DENNY

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    First, the term “missing logs” can imply different things. Is one entire logbook (as in “logbook number three of five”) missing, or is there simply a GAP in time where no logbook entries were made?

    A lost logbook can result from totally innocent situations. My old 170 wound up with its original (first) logbook missing, while the logbook was “stored” at a maintenance facility. It was stupid on my part to allow those logbooks to remain in the possession of the maintenance facility. I’m not implying ANY skulduggery on the part of that facility….I’m the one who left those logbooks there, in an unlocked cabinet, with a bunch of other logs. Don’t ever do that, is my message.

    In that case, that very early logbook contained the signatures of some quite famous Alaskan aviation pioneers….back then, every flight was logged in the plane’s logbook. So, I suspect that book was “borrowed” at some point.

    In that case, the missing logbook was so far back that it really didn’t affect value much.

    More recent logs….could contain more pertinent data. But, this is kind of like the issue of what constitutes “high time” in an airframe. Forty years ago, a 6000 hour Cessna 180 was considered high time, and price adjusted accordingly. Today, a 180 might have 8000 hours, but after a thorough refurbishment might be a real cream puff, and worth a lot.

    As others suggested, get someone who REALLY knows 185s to do a serious pre-buy……you should do that in any case, BTW. But part of this pre-buy should be an assumption that “I’m not going to buy this unless we can in fact prove there is no damage history, OR that IF there MAY have been damage history, was it properly repaired?”. Then have the Inspector DOCUMENT whatever he found in the logbooks, IF you buy the plane.

    point is yesterdays paradigm MAY no longer apply, both regarding hours and damage history.

    Thats up to YOU to decide. If there’s damage history, am I comfortable that it was properly repaired? Are there mods or ADs that have not been addressed AND properly logged?

    As to the plane being local, vs distant: That can be an advantage. Unless you have NO 185 “experts” nearby to do the pre buy.

    Cessna 185s, perhaps more than any single engine type, have been used as working airplanes, and sometimes they’ve been worked hard, in a very harsh environment. Point is, there aren’t a lot of low time cream puffs out there.

    And, finally, YOU are really the only one who can decide if the price is “fair”.

    MTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    If you are worried about getting your money back out of a plane you need to find another hobby like boating.
    DENNY
    Boat…..Bust Out Another Thousand I haven’t figured out the airplane acronym yet but it ends with thousand(S)
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Cardiff,
    Go to https://www.faa.gov. Over on the right side enter the airplane's N number/submit. At the top of that page select N-Numbers then Request for Aircraft records. On that screen order the CD records of the airplane in question.

    You will then have the complete FAA record of that airplane including who the previous owners were. You may then be able to determine in what type of use it had been treated as well as any major repairs which had been documented (and are now missing) all the way back to Cessna's original airworthiness certificate.

    This information may give you clues as to whether you really care about the missing log book. Though it would be nice to have it.
    N1PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardiff Kook View Post
    Me too- but worth holding out for a good inspection and good logs on a very high cost plane?
    I’d want the best airplane I could afford. To me, logs play no role in condition. The airplane is what is is regardless of what someone may have written or omitted in the logbooks through the years. If you can establish it’s a legal airframe with legally acceptable airframe components, engine time, and prop time? Everything else in the logs is fluff. “No damage history” doesn’t make a good airplane. It makes good marketing for prospective buyers who don’t know better.

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    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Cardiff,
    Go to https://www.faa.gov. Over on the right side enter the airplane's N number/submit. At the top of that page select N-Numbers then Request for Aircraft records. On that screen order the CD records of the airplane in question.

    You will then have the complete FAA record of that airplane including who the previous owners were. You may then be able to determine in what type of use it had been treated as well as any major repairs which had been documented (and are now missing) all the way back to Cessna's original airworthiness certificate.

    This information may give you clues as to whether you really care about the missing log book. Though it would be nice to have it.
    Yep. Did that. I have about 20 plane log cds on my desk. Its generally done as soon as i am remotely interested.

  13. #13
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Cessna missing logs 20 yrs ago

    One strange thing about this plane is the it has original paint and interior- but both look super good to me for a 40 yr old plane. Of course- i havent seem many to compare against. 7500 hrs. on the plane and it was a pipeline plane for first five years of its life.

    I would think interior and paint would be pretty beat up at this point.
    Last edited by Cardiff Kook; 12-04-2022 at 01:50 PM.

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    Paint and interior decay in UV exposure. Hangared planes don’t show age as quickly as those parked outside. One benefit of original paint is it’ll make damage and repairs easier to spot. If you’re serious about a Skywagon and want to learn what the problem areas are? Read the SID documents from Cessna. They’ll talk about airframe times and calendar times with respect to different component structures and corrosion.

  15. #15
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardiff Kook View Post
    One strange thing about this plane is the it has original paint and interior- but both look super good to me for a 40 yr old plane. Of course- i havent seem many to compare against. 7500 hrs. on the plane and it was a pipeline plane for first five years of its life.

    I would think interior and paint would be pretty beat up at this point.
    Pipeline patrol hours are usually much easier on the airplane than other types of flying since it is mostly easy cross country cruising. The paint used 40 years ago by Cessna was good paint and the interior means easy use. Likely mostly just the pilot's seat. I had a high time patrol plane (7GCB). It was a decent plane with most of the "wear" being vibration cracking. Otherwise in good shape for the hours.
    N1PA
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    Just flying usually does little to no wear and tear on a plane in general. All you do is get in fly and then add fuel and fly. Your not loading/unloading crap all day taking seats in and out ect and if the had a hanger to keep it even better. So if it was just flying and looking at pipeline that would fit the story. On the other side it could have had the interior replaced and new paint done at some point, once again easy to tell for a Cessna guy that works on them all the time. Look at the last 5-6 feet on top of the wigs and compare rivet placement spacing from side to side if and difference that would be from a tip strike. You can do the same with the tail and around the gear boxes. But you really do need a good IA to look it over before you fall in love. DENNY

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    sub3's Avatar
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    Echoing what others have said, get a quality inspection by someone who knows Skywagons inside and out. Complete logs are great to have but to me have little bearing on condition; they tend to only affect resale to buyers who care. In a very short time, a good inspection should tell you everything you need to know about that airplane. I'd rather know what I bought then count on someones word or times logged on a sheet of paper.

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    The best Skywagon damage history “tell” is look at the leading edges. See rivets? If so, it’s been repaired. Cessna bonded the leading edges (glued them on). Flush rivets are a sure sign of repairs.

    My 180 hit a peat bank (floats) during takeoff and went onto its back early in its life. The airframe repair 337 is very detailed. What’s missing is any mention of engine or prop. How’s that happen? Sometimes what logs don’t say is as important as what they do say.
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    sub3's Avatar
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    I looked at a Cub a few weeks back near me; great low time logs, the seller said it had NDH, the 337's showed the tail had been ripped off and replaced, a 5-minute visual inspection showed many other repairs.. It was also marketed as having an overhauled engine, which turned out to be a run-out engine with a prop strike IRAN vs. overhaul...
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    Formandfunction's Avatar
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    Nothing more expensive in aviation than a super clean plane that's been sitting for years. Good attentive maintenance and extremely thorough prebuy inspections are the best move. Personally chicken scratch logs mean nothing to me and I trust logs about as much as I trust a wet fart. With that said it's alot harder to sell a plane with missing logs so price accordingly. Repairs done correctly also don't mean a whole lot to me. These things are old and stuff happens.

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    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    So sounds like no one would pass on a plane just because it had some missing logs?

    On a scale of 1-10 how much harder is it to sell?

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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Your interpretation in #21 already answered that. Depends on the potential buyer. Your hesitation seems to be at a max. Personally, I wouldn't care. I'd be interested in the current condition and regulatory compliance of the aircraft.

    Look at it this way: There's the airplane, and there is stuff people have written about the airplane in the past. Which matters?
    Last edited by Gordon Misch; 12-04-2022 at 09:50 PM.
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    Just get a good skywagon mechanic to do a good pre buy inspection . Too much screwing around and you will miss out !

    Sent from my VS988 using SuperCub.Org mobile app

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    All that matters is what it’s worth to you. How you view that may be different if it’s a buy and sell airplane or your forever airplane.

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    I dumped a "no logbooks" Cherokee for $35 grand - made the purchaser sign a note saying, if the logs were ever found, that it would take an additional five grand to join them up with the airframe - not because they were worth that, but because the selling price reflected a deep discount.

    Logbooks turned up about a year later - not worth five grand to the owner, even though it means an expensive spar inspection.

    So I don't know about that 20% figure - could be that logs to day zero really aren't necessary to get full market value.
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    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    I dumped a "no logbooks" Cherokee for $35 grand
    I wonder how long ago that was. I'd "dump" my PA-28-180 with complete airframe logs for $35 grand today. First one with the money can have it.

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    This was an Arrow retract, 200 hp, 1700 original hours. A good airframe. Out of annual for four years. The new owner did a major overhaul right after purchase and told me he thought it was worth $75 grand.

    For me, a Cherokee of any type has only one virtue - it can sort of escape the surly bonds, given enough runway. I could not wait to unload it.

    I wonder - someday someone may want these logs to enhance resale value.
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  28. #28
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    This was an Arrow retract, 200 hp, 1700 original hours. A good airframe. Out of annual for four years. The new owner did a major overhaul right after purchase and told me he thought it was worth $75 grand.

    For me, a Cherokee of any type has only one virtue - it can sort of escape the surly bonds, given enough runway. I could not wait to unload it.

    I wonder - someday someone may want these logs to enhance resale value.
    I found some very airframe old logs amongst my wifes great grandfathers belongings. He passed 30 years ago but they resurfaced recently.

    I am going to track the owner down and send them the logs. It will make their day I would imagine.
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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I just need to ask: Is this gap in log books verified? As in a gap in time in the airframe logs but the same time span shows entries in the prop and engine logs? Is that correct? I'm asking because I have seen aircraft sit for many, many years without generating an entry in any logs. That would be different than just missing some maintenance entries.

    Web
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  30. #30
    Paul Jackson's Avatar
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    I buy and sell and handle acquisitions and sales for many people from J-3's to G-V's. Lot's of opinions but there are other considerations to be made when making what is likely the most expensive transaction you will make other than your house.

    First is the bank. Banks ask very simple and basic questions. Is it a damage free complete log airplane? If not, the amount the valuation is dinged is their interpretation. You may not be financing but the next guy may and the bank's opinion matters to the value.

    Second is the market. Resale will be affected by incomplete logs. How much is up to the market with the caveat that in good times complete logs matter less than in lesser times. Mistakes made in a good market , like we have today, can loom large in a down market like we have seen in the recent past.

    Last is your transaction and how you work with the above variables. Does the seller recognise or even care they have incomplete logs? I would ask a third party to do a valuation if you are not financing it to get an idea of the hit on the value.

    So what is the value hit on this aircraft? In your case the logs that are lost I would consider "recent" in that they are for a period of less than 20 years ago and also likely one book before the current one being used for entries. That is a definite hit on value and to market above. It doesn't mean it isn't a straight good flying aircraft, it just means that third parties, who you have no control over, will view the aircraft as having incomplete recent logs. The hit here can be as high as 20% of the value which would be about the same hit for major damage history aircraft.

    As many have said here, in the current 180/185 market if you don't buy it someone else likely will. I am talking values not purchase price, which in this market is about 20% above stupid at this point.

    So what do I do when I come across incomplete recent logs? I don't turn and run as it is not an uncommon occurrence (for some reason many off shore aircraft I deal in often have their US logs lost). I will have my mechanic look closely at all of the sheet metal and pull more panels and look for internal evidence of damage. I also will run the N number for accidents and note with FAA what 337s are on file and make sure no other paperwork was lost along with the logs. When I review books I always recheck aircraft TT by reviewing each annual and maintenance entry and when I come to a gap in the books I insure that the flow continues and that we don't lose a bunch of time. I also can use engine and prop logs (if applicable) to compare TT in airframe books so that I have a warm fuzzy that the advertised TT is actually in the books. The last check is to correlate what you find to Hobbs and/or tach in the plane. In this market I am looking very conservatively and buying very liberally as you can sell just about anything regardless of boogers and books.

    One other note is that engine logs are not as critical as airframe in my valuation of cost of lost books. This applies particularly if there is an overhaul in the current books that has a good TT that resets the SMOH time. I just bought a C-85 stroker that is missing its first book but it is two overhauls prior and the case is the only remaining part from those books so I didn't knock anything off its value (I got a smoking deal on it anyways). Technically not complete logs, but I am much more concerned with airframe logs.

    Always make your offers and Purchase Agreement in writing. Always do a complete pre-purchase and log review. Always use escrow for closing and title transfer and lien release. I won't buy or sell a J3 or a G-V without following those basics.

    PJJ
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  31. #31
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    I just need to ask: Is this gap in log books verified? As in a gap in time in the airframe logs but the same time span shows entries in the prop and engine logs? Is that correct? I'm asking because I have seen aircraft sit for many, many years without generating an entry in any logs. That would be different than just missing some maintenance entries.

    Web
    Yes- I believe that is correct. A log book was lost by the fbo- apparently they made an entry indicating as much when it happened. I will get my hands on the entry.

    This plane has no past damage as verified by inspection (as much as that can be done.)
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  32. #32
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jackson View Post
    First is the bank. Banks ask very simple and basic questions. Is it a damage free complete log airplane? If not, the amount the valuation is dinged is their interpretation.

    PJJ
    Very informative post above, Paul. Thanks.

    What would define "damage free?" Is that any damage history, or damage unrepaired? Most of the 185's I have looked at have had a ground loop at some point.

  33. #33
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardiff Kook View Post
    Most of the 185's I have looked at have had a ground loop at some point.
    I rode through two ground loops in an Aeronca Chief with zero damage. A partner ground looped it later and the wing strut hit an electrical box between the runway and taxiway and broke one or both spars. Insurance wrote it off. Happy to say it was restored later and I think it is still flying.

    "Ground loop" doesn't tell you much about the severity of the event or the damage, if any, that resulted from it.

  34. #34
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardiff Kook View Post
    Very informative post above, Paul. Thanks.

    What would define "damage free?" Is that any damage history, or damage unrepaired? Most of the 185's I have looked at have had a ground loop at some point.
    There is “damage” and “damage history”. Damage is one thing. Damage which has been properly repaired AND documented may effect the sale price some, but would not cause me to run. Detected damage that was repaired but not properly documented….I’d be running away fast.

    Finally current damage that hasn’t been touched affects value, but you need to talk to your mechanic to find out whether to run.

    MTV

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    Ground loops in a 180 are not quite as benign as those in a Chief.

  36. #36
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Ground loops in a 180 are not quite as benign as those in a Chief.
    True dat…….and harder to detect.

    MTV

  37. #37
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Mornin' Kook - Dunno if you already have a solid Cessna IA lined up to inspect. This man in Bend is very experienced in the 180 line, and is highly recommended by a good friend of mine who is a 180 owner. John Bentley, Bentley Air 541-318-8604. https://www.bentleyair.com/Current-p....htm?m=6&s=771
    Gordon

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  38. #38
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Cessna missing logs 20 yrs ago

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    Mornin' Kook - Dunno if you already have a solid Cessna IA lined up to inspect. This man in Bend is very experienced in the 180 line, and is highly recommended by a good friend of mine who is a 180 owner. John Bentley, Bentley Air 541-318-8604. https://www.bentleyair.com/Current-p....htm?m=6&s=771
    Thats my guy! Ha. Talked to him last night.

    At least I am doing one thing right!

  39. #39

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    I’d make sure the guy doing the inspection is not someone who maintains the plane.

  40. #40
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    I’d make sure the guy doing the inspection is not someone who maintains the plane.
    Did that too.

    Im on a roll today.
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