Never enough can be said here. Prior to the aircraft leaving for pre purchase “all” records should be itemized with a very detailed inventory list. Boxes of some sort should be used to hold all historical records and these should be identified in some manner and shown on the inventory list by number (could be chronological) to their specific contents.
The records review by a facility during a pre purchase is by far the most time consuming and important part of this process. It will most likely be the pacing item to the whole operation. It has been my experience that most facility personnel tasked with records research will inspect what is immediately available and easily accessed and beyond that write a discrepancy. I see many discrepancies written for missing data, manuals or equipment paperwork which I can find in box sent with the aircraft after a couple of hours of searching. Here again these are written discrepancies that must be cleared by someone.
All log books must be available at this time, they must be in good condition, chronological, “every” entry must have the correct documentation, including appropriate signatures and dates. Every entry which makes reference to a document (337, engineering letter or drawing) should be supported. It helps to have a copy of the FAA file on CD or even better a three ring binder containing printed chronological copies of all. All installations will require “instructions for continued airworthiness,” copies of pertinent STC cover sheets as well as flight manual supplements when referenced. In speaking to these items it is also a good thing to check that CAMP records are supporting and tracking them per the ICA data. All installed parts as we know now require traceability. Some operators leave this data with filed work orders or CAMP records, place them in log books or keep them all in single location.
All life limited components during a pre purchase will have to show documentation by serial number to the unit installed or face being unnecessarily overhauled. It is good practice to take a CAMP status run and go down the list matching parts to paperwork. Missing information can usually be tracked down by log entry and work order and supplied by the vendor ahead of time. It is better to send all available records to meet the above requirements so they are available to the facility at the time of inspection than to have the facility bill their labor to research them.
All flight manual and operations manuals will have to be current on their revision status and available to the facility. During a records review a facility will also research “all” AD listings for an aircraft, this includes the vendor and appliance AD lists. In the normal scope of operations most operators only concern themselves with pertinent AD list to their specific aircraft, so what one could see at this time would be a long AD list supplied by the facility as “open” yet they still need to be addressed in the records as “Not Applicable.” On older aircraft this list can be quite long and a facility will try to charge large amounts of labor to research these and sign them off as NA. An operator could take the supplied list and supply the list of NA sign offs to address this issue.
Any damage history or major repairs due to corrosion, however minor, should have as much supporting documentation as possible. It is a good idea to take all materials affected (work order, photographs, drawings, engineering statements and complete parts lists) and make copies of all to be placed in specific box or file folder envelope along with copies of the log entry and a brief description of the event and have it readily available to the buyer and the facility. Fear of the unknown is the single most concern to an unknowledgeable buyer. This type of presentation tends to minimize the event and calm nerves and keep a buyer from running away.
Logs and records can mean as much to the value of the asset as the asset/aircraft itself. This is a critical component of any pre-purchase inspection and the above are some simple suggestions that can help the log and records research go smoothly.