WHEN DAMAGE HISTORY DOESN’T MATTER
In response to the hidden damage article in the December 2022 Aviation Consumer, I can weigh in.
I am not a broker, but I have been involved in many airplane purchases for friends (mostly Beechcrafts)—perhaps a dozen including three of my own. In those searches and purchases, several of the Beechcrafts have had damage history, mostly gear-up landings or retractions on the ground. It’s those who have and those who will. I bought three of these airplanes and tried to buy a fourth. All have been terrific aircraft, and the V35B I am flying now had two gear retraction incidents (accidents).
I researched the damage, discussed it with the repair shop, did an extensive prebuy evaluation (which found about a dozen minor discrepancies unrelated to the retractions) and negotiated a slightly lower price because of the discrepancies. I was very comfortable with the purchase and the airplane has been terrific.
When going over the FAA Form 337s and aircraft logs, it can be helpful to talk to the A&Ps and repair shops that have maintained the aircraft (especially over the prior five to seven years) and if possible, talk with the shops that repaired the damage.
I bought a B58TC once that had two gear-ups and a nosegear issue (the pilot forgot to remove the towbar). I talked to all the shops that did the repairs and had Arky Foulk (a head American Bonanza Society tech advisor) check the repairs. His comment was the repairs look better than when they came out of the factory as a new airplane (it was repaired by a Beechcraft shop). I put a thousand hours on that bird and its only issue was one leaky fuel tank, which was eventually replaced. It never even had a cylinder off.
Larry Weitzman – Hurricane, Utah
Thanks for weighing in, and your experience is worth talking about. We’ve had our own hands in plenty of airplanes like you described (and own) and can say that many were better airplanes than when they came out of the factory thanks to high-quality repairs. It’s proof that as long as the repairs were made to pro standards, with good documentation as proof, there’s no reason to avoid aircraft with certain damage history.
On the other hand, we’ve seen plenty machines with repairs that hacked the wreck back together, and light on supporting paperwork. We think potential buyers should run—not walk—away from these.
LIGHTSPEED DELTA ZULU
As a Lightspeed PFX user for many years, I was intrigued by the Delta Zulu (DZ) so I ordered one. I flew the headset in a few different aircraft and offer the following observations.
In a Piper Arrow IV, I had an intermittent reverberation/rumbling in the headphone audio. It was still present even after adjusting the tension of the headband. The ability to adjust frequency response for hearing deficiencies is a really cool feature and it worked well.
I think the ANR performance in the old PFX model is superior to the circuitry in the Delta Zulu. As for wearability, the DZ set has the typically good Lightspeed comfort, plus the rechargeable battery works really well, and I found the battery life to be excellent.
I think the DZ’s mono/stereo switch located below the battery is a nuisance. I found that my PFX works in everything I fly, but the DZ required changing this switch between mono and stereo to work in certain aircraft. I ended up returning the set because of the ANR and the mono switch because they were deal breakers for me, but not for others.
Andrew Elwood – Essex, Connecticut
In regards to your well-done ceramic coating coverage and recent long-term trial article (November 2022 Aviation Consumer), many of our planes today have an exterior combination of both paint and vinyl decals. Given that ceramic coating is mostly a paint protective, how would a ceramic coating work with multiple decals, including vinyl, on the paint’s surface?
Brian Turrisi – Hilton Head, South Carolina
Our experience and others we heard from proves that properly applied ceramic treatment works well on vinyl.