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AOPA Title Search, Accident History, Escrow Service

Cardiff Kook

PATRON
Sisters, OR
I'm buying my first plane thanks in no small part to the knowledge I have gleaned from this forum over the last 18 months.

Will do an a prebuy into annual with person very knowledgable with PA-18's.

I'm wondering if this service from AOPA is worth it? It's a minimal spend in the scheme of things.

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Nothing you can’t do for $10 with the FAA aircraft records, and an internet search on the NTSB web site for accidents.

Guess the real question, if they screw up the title search will the insure you in case someone wants the airplane and has a claim?

With as slow as FAA registry has been lately, I think I’d work with one of the title companies in Oklahoma City that can walk your file through, otherwise figure 3 to 6 months to get your registration back.


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I purchased my first plane last year and used the Escrow service. They provided the title search as part of the service. I think it was aerospace reports. I don't remember the total fee but it was well worth it to make the transaction seamless and handle the paperwork with the FAA. The seller had never sold a plane and I had never purchased one so we needed some hand holding. It took the FAA 2 or 3 months to update their records so don't expect that to happen overnight.
 
Title search

Ahh. I guess above does not include escrow service.

Is that something I should use as well?

A title search is crucial. You'd be amazed at the old liens that should have been released but weren't because banks didn't know how (Or that they should) and because banks were merged, bought up etc. Sometimes you have to be extremely insistent to get an old lien cleared up that should've been done by a previous bank. Frequently the new bank knows nothing about what you're talking about and it could be five or six banks down the line after multiple mergers. Better to know now than later. If you have an insurance claim you may find that the insurance check is made out to five different parties including people you've never even heard of or that may not even exist anymore. Get the seller to clear up any liens before you pay for the plane.

As to the escrow service I'm not so keen on that and I think that it makes things very complicated. Normally you find an airplane, you look it over, make a deposit, get a pre-purchase you go and collect and pay for it. Last time I had a title search done they sent me the airworthiness and registration records from the FAA along with it. Well worth every penny. FAA Bill of Sale forms are free, and can be downloaded on-line now. This is frequently made out for $2OVC, two bucks and other valuable consideration. The FAA isn't interested in how much you paid for the plane. You should, however, have a separate bill of sale detailing the agreement and any special terms.
 
I’ll second the separate bill of sale that WhiskeyMike mentioned. Depending on your tax department where you live it may be necessary, and not all states recognize the FAA documents.
 
I used AIC title in Ok City a number of times. Fast, competent, inexpensive and easy to work with.

The big reason I like going through them, (or other ones that do the job), is that I can overnight them the paperwork and they will have me a fly-wire within a working day. That means I can go through Canada without any issues.

A professional title search is not that much money in the scheme of things. I know of a few sales that got cancelled due to unclear titles, and one sale that the new owner found his plane had liens on it as much as the value that he suddenly was holding the bag on.

YMMV
 
IA does prebuy, if sale happens he will complete the annual.

That doesn’t fit with the regulations. If an IA starts an annual, he is REQUIRED to complete the inspection, and make a maintenance record entry per 43.11 either returning it to service, or providing a list of discrepancies and unairworthy items to the owner along with the appropriate log book entry. The regulations don’t make provisions for partial inspections.


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That doesn’t fit with the regulations. If an IA starts an annual, he is REQUIRED to complete the inspection, and make a maintenance record entry per 43.11 either returning it to service, or providing a list of discrepancies and unairworthy items to the owner along with the appropriate log book entry. The regulations don’t make provisions for partial inspections.

My understanding of the proposed scenario is that the IA started and completed a pre-buy inspection, not an annual inspection. After purchase the IA uses his knowledge of the aircraft condition to avoid repeating the same inspections during the "annual" inspection. I see nothing in the regulations that says the annual inspection must be completed in one session or within any particular time span.
 
Soooo I have a bit of of whine tonight and have LOTS to say on this topic!! BECAUSE no-one has mentioned fixing problems found in the pre-buy or annual. Both are inspections on paperwork and aircraft NOTHING TO DO WING FIXING ISSUES FOUND. (paperwork usually takes as long or longer as aircraft inspection on first visit. What happens when an issue is found in paperwork or aircraft???? The annual /pre buy ispection is just that. Inspect all parts/paperwork as required. NOW AND THIS IS A BIG NOW!! If problems are found and need to be fixed that is ANOTHER POT OF TIME/MONEY!!!. If I paid for 12 hours on pre buy paperwork and aircraft inspection on pre buy I would expect that to be rolled into the annual. Any problem found needs to be worked out out between buyer/seller. Let us not forget MOREBETTEDISEASE that can extent a simple annual/ pre buy into 20 -30 GRAND.
DENNY
 
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..... Let us not forget MOREBETTEDISEASE that can extent a simple annual/ pre buy into 20 -30 GRAND.

To avoid this, I like to limit my annuals to just inspections, yearly maintenance, and AD compliance as required.
Unlike some folks, I don't defer oil changes, brake pads, fixing squawks, etc until it's annual time.
This keeps the annual inspection short & sweet.
I always tackle mods and/or upgrades separately,
this avoids blurring the line between mandatory & optional work.

I knew a guy who used to gripe about how expensive his annuals were,
and how long they took, but as I pointed out to him,
that was because they usually included fixing a year's worth of squawks,
plus sometimes a mod or two.
 
To avoid this, I like to limit my annuals to just inspections, yearly maintenance, and AD compliance as required.
Unlike some folks, I don't defer oil changes, brake pads, fixing squawks, etc until it's annual time.
This keeps the annual inspection short & sweet.
I always tackle mods and/or upgrades separately,
this avoids blurring the line between mandatory & optional work.

I knew a guy who used to gripe about how expensive his annuals were,
and how long they took, but as I pointed out to him,
that was because they usually included fixing a year's worth of squawks,
plus sometimes a mod or two.

You could also point him to 91.405(a) where it says he is required to have discrepancies repaired between required inspections.


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Nothing you can’t do for $10 with the FAA aircraft records, and an internet search on the NTSB web site for accidents.

Guess the real question, if they screw up the title search will the insure you in case someone wants the airplane and has a claim?

With as slow as FAA registry has been lately, I think I’d work with one of the title companies in Oklahoma City that can walk your file through, otherwise figure 3 to 6 months to get your registration back.


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I ordered the FAA CD last week and have it in hand.

Would it show any title issues or do I need to do a separate title search?
 
I ordered the FAA CD last week and have it in hand.

Would it show any title issues or do I need to do a separate title search?

All title issues are in the “registration” file. You should have a Bill of Sale transferring it from each owner, and there should be lien documents. For each lien filed, there needs to be a corresponding “release of lien” from the lender. If you are missing a release of lien, you have a potential problem and need to find the lender and get a release.


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The Airworthiness file will have any Applications for airworthiness certificates and all the 337s that were filed on the aircraft. Compare the current configuration to the 337s and get your IA to look it over and see if there are thing missing.


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OP again.

I recently ran this on a plane. Pretty helpful.

You basically get the FAA CD info (airworthiness and registration) in 24-48 hours. Ordering a CD has been taking 2-3 weeks for me. If you can wait 2-3 weeks FAA only charges $10 for CD. In the scheme of a plane purchase I would just pay the money to have it in 48 hrs. I actually got it in about 15 hrs because I paid the $25 rush.

Accident/Incident report showed a minor incident that I couldn't locate on my own despite searching NTSB database.


Overall I would say it was worth it for $105.
 
Accident/Incident report showed a minor incident that I couldn't locate on my own despite searching NTSB database.

Did the accident/incident report show an NTSB reportable event? There are probably many events that should have been reported to NTSB but which were not reported.

Even if the event is in the database you have to be sure to use the correct search engine based on event date. CAROL only works for 1983 and later.
 
It was a ground loop with “minor” damage (as oppossed to “substantial” which i think is other option) on the NTSB report- which means no airframe damage per regs. Blew a tire on roll out. Happened at an international airport so maybe had to be reported? Or maybe owner was atp?
 
My understanding of the proposed scenario is that the IA started and completed a pre-buy inspection, not an annual inspection. After purchase the IA uses his knowledge of the aircraft condition to avoid repeating the same inspections during the "annual" inspection. I see nothing in the regulations that says the annual inspection must be completed in one session or within any particular time span.

Again does not fit with the requirements of Part 43. You are either doing an annual inspection or you aren’t. You can’t do part of it, break it off, move the airplane and do the rest later.


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Again does not fit with the requirements of Part 43. You are either doing an annual inspection or you aren’t. You can’t do part of it, break it off, move the airplane and do the rest later.

What in 14 CFR part 43 says that the inspection must be uninterrupted and all conducted in the same location?
 
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What in 14 CFR part 43 says that the inspection must be uninterrupted and all conducted in the same location?

While not in Part 43, the IA information guide states
“Incomplete Inspection
If an annual inspection is not completed, the holder of an IA should:
1. Indicate any discrepancies found in the aircraft records.
2. Not indicate that an annual inspection was completed.
3. Indicate in the aircraft records the extent to which the inspection was completed and all work accomplished.”

I’ll have to look farther to find additional information.


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Again does not fit with the requirements of Part 43. You are either doing an annual inspection or you aren’t. You can’t do part of it, break it off, move the airplane and do the rest later.


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Wouldn't that constitute a progressive inspection?

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In case that link doesn’t show results, enter the N number and the robot checker text and hit go…

 

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Originally Posted by dgapilot
Again does not fit with the requirements of Part 43. You are either doing an annual inspection or you aren’t. You can’t do part of it, break it off, move the airplane and do the rest later.


Just to be difficult........where does a time limit apply? or destination? I've done my cub over the period of a month before and moved it, on field. Can you start the annual in January......not fly or move it.....and finish up in June?
 
Remember an annual inspection is just an inspection and must be done by the IA himself. Any maintenance needed and found during that inspection can be documented in a letter to the operator. Then that operator can have an A&P accomplish the work and make the final sign off. The IA does not need to inspect it again after the work is accomplished.
 
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