Skip to main content
Not editable in Design Mode. Switch to HTML mode

How to use the Forums as ListServ Emails

Click Here To Learn How
Welcome to the Club Photo Albums Page. By default only the most recently updated photos are shown in the list below. To see all photo albums click on the Search Looking Glass icon to the right and change your selection. 

Purchase Tips

Learn from my mistake
Author Last Post
I am also an A&P/IA and that is a great advantage when doing a prebuy. I had no type specific experience in maintenance on 185 though. I can see where a well intentioned mechanic could miss things on a prebuy. The boys at Beegles gave me a "crash course" on these birds. The information posted on this site was helpful as well when I was lurking before I was qualified for membership. A great source of information that can save the owner money year after year. A side benefit is the discussion of various mods as to which ones are worth the money or not.

I agree with you that some real airworthiness items are overlooked. Replaced one just like that (and several other trim actuator components) several years ago. As you suggested, when the trim goes it gets a little more interesting
I did the pre-purchase of my own 185. Then again I do hold A&P and am an inspector. I expect things to be wrong on aircraft like 185's. There are two types that own them, bush types or folks that want the capability. Bush types tend to do the minimum to the aircraft to keep it flying. The others depend on their shops to keep track of the maintenance. Some shops are better than others. Mine had a fairly obvious defect, and it had been annualed and maintained by a fairly large well known shop, which I shall not name, but they are a big force in the float world.

I immediately knew the trim system was going to fail. I had mine fail before on my first one (it had a finish nail instead of a roll pin) and it really sucks when it does. The 185 is not easy to land in cruise trim, don't try unless you must. It was fairly obvious it was defective, you could move the trim wheel a click or two before the chain wheel would turn. You would think somebody would have noticed, as the chain is an annual lube item. the holes where completely wallowed out and the roll pin broken into three pieces, with only the safety wire barely holding it in place. Kind of a safety of flight item. Naturally, it was one of the items I used to beat up the owner on the price, citing shoddy maintenance. It was also the first thing I replaced.

Shops also have to get the owner's approval to do work, if the owner cheeps out they cannot force the issue unless it is a safety of flight and refuse to sign it off without fixing the defect. Shoddy works adds up over time. It can be an advantage to purchase a poorly maintained aircraft, provided you can beat up the price with that info. Then you fix the defects and get a now known well maintained aircraft. I have seen scores of what appear to be well maintained aircraft that are actually flying death traps beneath the nice paint, cool interior and nifty radios. All the items that folks use to make the primary decision to buy the aircraft.
I agree with Tom. 180/185's were built to work and operate in less than ideal conditions. My search for the right one lead me down many dead end streets. I remember looking at many airplanes and reading the log books to find the two didn't come close to matching. Sometimes I would walk around the airplane and then just walk away from what was supposed to be a creampuff. Other times the logs looked pretty good but the plane would fly like the wings were different lengths. Some planes could be crossed off the list with a simple conversation with the owner. Planes listed with brokers were never what they were represented to be and always over priced. I was so skeptical that by the time a came across the one I bought, I almost passed it up for fear I had missed some hidden issue. I am forever indebted to the boys at Beegles Air in Greeley Co. for taking the time to educate me on what to look for and where to look for it. Those guys took me through their shop and showed me every nook and crany of these airplanes and how they are supposed to be put together. They had examples of how they are not supposed to be in the shop and showed me what the fix should look like. The one I have had a few minor issues that had not been addressed over the years. One was an AD on a mag. The owner was willing to pay for the parts and I did the labor. It never ceases to amaze me at the condition of airplanes flying around in what is such a regulated activity. I guess this is just another example of government protecting us through endless regulation. But I digress.

Sorry you had that experience. I looked at 180s for a while before buying mine. Had the fever on two of them before I came to my senses. One was in Anchorage, had good reports from local shop, but when I flew up commerial to buy it I turned around and came home empty-handed. 180s are pickup trucks and many are treated like the old beater you keep out back to make dump runs.

I've also learned that even a reputable shop is no guarantee that something hasn't been pencil-whipped in the past. There is unfortunately no substitute for learning the airplane and doing your own personal inspection of both plane and paperwork.

1954 Cessna 180. I purchased this aircraft from Manitoba last year Before I purchased it I hired a AME from neer the location of plane to have a pre purchase inspection done and ask for him to check for any structural damage or corrosion. I got a good report back saying it was in good shape. So I bought it and brought it back home.
 I took it in this spring to a very good reputable AME and to my surprise he found that the leading edge ribs where damaged and never replaced they where poorly straighten and new aluminum skin covering installed. There was no entry in the technical log of these repairs or of the plane ever been flipped over. Person thinks that buying a certified aircraft that the repairs should have been done properly and any damage documented. As seen in attached photos the damage and shaby repair Also had to replace all cylinder on engine that only had 800 hrs on it. Along with mags where never inspected or documented. Also many other repairs that should of been flagged by last annual and pre purchase inspection. Think got over 30 k into repairs and still not done. So learning are to ensure the AME that does per purchase inspection is a reputable AME.
Return to Forum