Tip 15 – Tips For Buying a Cessna 310
Part II Ok I Want One
By: Jerry Temple
Phone: (972) 712-7302      Fax: (972) 712-7303

Published in Cessna Owners Magazine Nov 1999


Introduction


This article is the second of a three part series on purchasing a Cessna 310. Part One: Present Tense – How They Come in 1999 was published in last month’s October ’99 Cessna Owner Magazine. In summary, part one addresses many of the common questions and concerns that pilots have who are considering the purchase of a 310. These include questions about models, engines, fuel systems – original and after-market equipment. Much of the discussion in this part two, OK I Want One applies to the purchase of any twin Cessna, or any general aviation aircraft. OK, let’s assume that you’ve decided that a 310, or another twin Cessna is the right aircraft for you. Before scanning Trade-A-Plane and making calls requesting specs there are a few subjects to give some thought.

 

Insurance


Most insurance firms require 300-400 Pilot-In-Command hours in order to obtain light twin insurance. The more complex the experience the better. In addition to the required M/E rating, 20-25 hours of dual in type is usually required. For a low time pilot, a requirement to be instrument rated and attend a simulator course can also be required. Costs and requirements vary. There are exceptions to the above. Before calling a dealer or broker, a call to an insurance agent would be wise. You need to be certain that you can obtain insurance and have a good feel for what training will be required and approximate premium and training cost.

 

Financing


There are many lenders specializing in aircraft loans. They advertise extensively. Shop and compare. Many will later rewrite loans in order to finance improvements such as engine overhauls and new paint/interior. In some cases it may be wise to request a loan that immediately addresses major maintenance and improvements. You’ll then have an airplane with perhaps fresh engines, new paint/interior and panel improvements. The aircraft is now how you want it and better serves its mission, while the increased monthly payment is manageable.

Prior to initiating your 310 search, or when in discussions with professional and not so professional, sales entities a present tense understanding of damage history and missing logbooks is important.

This is 1999 and the youngest 310R is nineteen years old. That’s almost two decades of life. It could be a sophomore in college. With that said, a prospective 310 buyer should know that there are many 310s available with no major damage history and with all logbooks present. On the other hand, there will be many aircraft, and these may be very good aircraft, with damage history or some missing records. These two subjects could each justify an entire article or be the subject of a major paper, but I’ll keep it basic.

 

Damage History


When did it occur? Six months ago or sixteen years ago? Were the repairs well documented in the logbooks and/or on a Form 337? As a common example let’s take a nose gear collapse/repair.

It occurred in 1974. It was during taxi. The repair is well described in logbooks and on the 337. The aircraft has had twenty-five annual inspections and approximately twelve pre-purchase inspections since the incident. The engines and props that were on the aircraft in ’74 are long gone. The aircraft has since been painted once or twice. Would you pass on this 310 because it had (past tense) damage? I wouldn’t. Nor would I entertain any discount for “damage history” if I were representing this aircraft. This example is a case where a seller should consider professional support in order to assure a positive presentation, and a buyer should seek good advice from a knowledgeable source.

 

Missing Logs


This is a serious problem. Any aircraft with complete missing airframe or engine logs must be considered with extreme caution. The reasons are obvious. Partially missing airframe logs still require great caution, but like damage we must evaluate what do we know. How many hours or years are missing. What Air Worthiness Directives and Service Bulletin compliance and maintenance can be confirmed? Do the known airframe or engine hours, or equipment and condition “overcome” the unknown. Think hard. Get help.

Treat your present or future aircraft logbooks like a gold bar from Fort Knox. They have similar value. See COM Nov. ’95 Protect Your Cessna’ Logbook . Today, create a photocopy set of your aircraft’s logbooks. Keep this clone set current. This action is as important as actual maintenance on your aircraft. The stories I have heard of how logbooks were lost will dumbfound you. Don’t get into the position where buyers are looking at your otherwise great airplane with extreme caution.

 

Hangar/Tie Down


Is hangar or tie down space available? Don’t assume. Also, confirm that the available hangar or tie down space will accommodate the aircraft you’re seeking. Some T-hangars will not accommodate a long nose 310R, but a short nose (thru Q) fits in fine. Double check wing span, horizontal tail span and tail height. Don’t look foolish to friends and family when arriving with your new airplane and find it won’t fit.

 

Aircraft Availability


Realistically, supply is based upon your budget. You should have one. If you don’t, establish one even if you have unlimited funds. Any pro supporting your acquisition should ask you about your budget. As with a real estate agent driving a client to see new homes, a budget is needed. Where do they go? What sub-division? What neighborhood? With a budget a sales professional can now supply candidates.

Method of Purchasing : Solo or With Professional Support

As with your home or commercial property it is perfectly legal to sell your current aircraft and purchase a 310, or other aircraft by yourself. There are books and articles on how to buy and sell an airplane. “For Sale” aircraft are advertised in aviation publications and on the Internet. In part three of this series Tips For Buying A Cessna 310 – Go For It, many of the key steps in the actual acquisition process are discussed.

Again, as with real estate, there are professionals who buy and sell aircraft under a contract. By true definition, an aircraft dealer owns and stocks “for-sale” aircraft. An aircraft broker, like a real estate broker, represents an aircraft owner (seller) or a buyer. Often a dealer will also broker aircraft and/or represent buyers.

In the above paragraphs the term “professionals” and “under contract” were used. This distinction is made to separate the aircraft that are marketed and “looked for” under the thick gray of “I’ve got this aircraft” or “I’ve got this guy.”

Being a professional aircraft broker, I’ll simply say that if it is your intention to sell and/or buy an aircraft yourself, then prepare yourself. Buy the available books and obtain the “how-to” articles. Consult with someone who has bought and sold several airplanes.

If it is your desire to have professional support in a sale, purchase or both, I suggest you seek specialized help. Yes, there are good general practitioners, but the sale of a quality twin Cessna has evolved into a complex business transaction which requires the full time effort of an aviation professional and one that is a specialist. How do you find them? Professional dealers and brokers advertise their available aircraft and services in aviation publications, on the Internet and in owners association magazines. Call them. Have them discuss their background and experience. Ask how many of the types of aircraft you wish to sell, or seek to purchase, have they sold/purchased in the past year – past two years – past five years. Have them discuss their marketing methods or purchasing procedures. Ask for their brochure. Look at their web site. Critical – ask for references. But aside from the ones you’re given, call the various owners groups for that type of aircraft. Call magazine editors. Banks may give you an off the record comment, but remember they may get loan referrals from a certain dealer or broker. Ask owners of the type of aircraft you are seeking to sell or purchase. They’ll often give you a good steer. Associating with the right professional is an important decision. Don’t sell yourself short by hurrying your research. Take the time. Make the calls. It may save you a lot of time, grief and money. With appropriate research the bad guys tend to become known and the good guys will stand out.

 

Summary


In Part One – Tips For Buying A Cessna 310 – Present Tense – How They Come in 1999 I briefly discussed the various 310 models, key systems, options, equipment and cosmetics. In this part two – Tips For Buying A Cessna 310 – OK I Want One, I’ve addressed some of the realities that you need to look into and understand before beginning to shop.

In the upcoming part three – Go For It I’ll discuss the key steps in the acquisition process, the pre-purchase inspection, delivery support and owners support.