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About 6 months ago in a hangar at a local (KLWT), I saw a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche and instantly wanted it. When I got home, I did a look up on the Registration (N) number and found out that the aircraft was de-registered in 2005.

I did some asking around the airport the next day and discovered that the owner had passed away. After some more research, I discovered that the airplane had one engine and its prop totaled. It had the propeller and engine replaced, but neither had logbooks and that was why the plane is collecting dust.

I really would like the airplane, because it is actually in good condition, yet it sits in the back of the central hangar and is ignored by everyone. So in a nutshell, the airplane is in good condition with airframe, avionics and logbooks for the right engine and prop. There are just no left prop or engine books.

The current owners (the estate of the deceased pilot) do not seem to even realize that the airplane is still sitting there, so I do not think that they would put much thought into selling the plane and I might be able to pick it up relatively cheaply. The only thing that I seem to need is a logbook. So I was wondering if it would be possible to somehow just start a new log after purchase? The other option is to just buy a new engine with books. Any advice?

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One way to get a new engine logbook is to send the engine for a factory overhaul.

Your engine will be regarded as a usable core, and will come back with all tolerances within "as new" limits and a new logbook.

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For an engine or prop, you can simply start a new log with the appropriate explanation as the first entry.

As a bonus, there's a good chance the airframe log will have the installation date and time so you might come up with TSMOH too (if not total time). If you can determine TSMOH, there is probably little value reduction due to the missing log assuming you can determine the engine/prop is airworthy. (it's a missing airframe log that really devalues an aircraft)

But alas there is airworthiness (the strict FAA meaning of airworthiness) of the engine or prop. You want to know that it meets its type design or properly altered configuration and that it is in a safe condition to operate. So AD compliance does come into question here. If the aircraft went through an annual inspection since the engine/prop replacement, and was declared airworthy, although it is possible that the AD status went with the missing logs, it probably didn't. Typically most shops print out a status report for the aircraft including airframe, engines, props, & appliances and staple the whole report together and place it in the logbook pouch. This happens more often than not so if it's there you're good as long as the inspector signed that any applicable AD was properly dealt with... even the "Previously Complied With" ones. That list then becomes the complying record.

Most shops use some sort of computerized aid for AD status. Usually they save the aircraft profile and report in memory so they have less work next year. If your lucky, maybe they can reprint and resign the list.

If the airframe logbook has an entry for installing the engine maybe there is a hint of where the engine was overhauled. If so, that overhaul agency should be able to pull up a work order and if your lucky, give you more info like total time and what ADs were complied with at that point, etc.

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First of all, if the engine hasn’t been run since 2005, it is likely corroded internally and is junk. Don’t worry about the logs, that engine will never legally fly on a certified aircraft unless it is overhauled and receives a new logbook. The other engine and the whole airframe may also be corroded beyond saving.

Answering your question more directly: you can buy a new logbook. Your A&P mechanic must list everything known about the engine from whatever receipts the FBO might have, and he must also verify AD compliance. An AD is a mandatory Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA. The A&P will verify which ADs apply to that airframe/engine and inspect the plane to insure the work has been done. After the A&P completes his work for an Annual Inspection, the airframe will be legal to fly.

Sitting for 10 years is very bad for engines and airframes. Be careful going forward. This plane could be a money pit!

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  • $\begingroup$ Very, very good point. The OP might offer to buy the plane contingent on it receiving a new SAC, similar to buying a home with the provision that it passes an independent inspection. If you end up having to eat the costs of the inspection, it'll probably run you about 2000-2500 bucks for something thorough enough to give you peace of mind, but that's much cheaper than paying the going rate for a Twin Comanche and then finding out it will never fly again. $\endgroup$ – KeithS Jul 24 '15 at 16:27

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