What to Expect
What to expect from a
Thanks for your interest in the KDP Solutions Cardinal Inspection.
A Cardinal Inspection goes far beyond finding a list of issues. It will also inform, educate and support you through the process. You will receive information useful to the negotiation as well as knowledge, context, expectations and alternatives which will help you operate, care for and maintain the inspected aircraft for years to come. We are very glad to help you with your purchase.
Hopefully you will be able to attend the inspection. If so it will be an interactive experience: a conversation between the inspector, buyer and airplane. Each issue discovered will be shown, described, context explained, alternatives and costs considered and questions answered. This is the recommended approach.
If you cannot attend, a detailed report can be delivered (via web) consisting of photographs of each finding and a written discussion. Substantial extra effort is required for this report and there is an additional cost. Some situations may benefit from both the verbal and pictorial report. Please let me know if at any point you would like such a report so pictures can be taken along the way.
In most cases you will receive an inspection report with the issues listed in categories, including Airworthiness, Value affecting, Do before purchase, Do before flying home, Do soon, Next Annual and Future Annuals. These categories may be adjusted to match the situation.
If you choose to also hire a local A&P mechanic they are welcome in this discussion and will be included in a value adding way. Sometimes hiring an A&P for an hour of consultation can bring access to a shop for the inspection. Seller involvement can be helpful but can also become a distraction. Consider the personality of the seller and your relationship with them before inviting them to actively join the inspection.
Location: Depending on the climate and season, an open ramp can be used with some reduction of ability to see into the deeper parts of the airframe. A hangar with a reasonably clean floor is preferred if possible.
Tools: Screwdrivers and wrenches (3/8 and 7/16) for removing cowl and inspection plates and proper wrenches for removing spark plugs (1/2 inch drive wrench, 7/8 open end or adjustable. I can usually bring along a plug socket.)
Access and permission: We will need the keys and permission to access the airplane and its environment and to perform tasks which the FAA allows for an owner, ie cowl removal. Please see the next page for details.
The Inspection: The inspector will spend time with the airplane and with the log books. The sequence is not usually important. Often circumstances suggest a best approach. The total time required will be 4-7 hours.
The engine, prop and airframe logs will be reviewed in detail, seeking unexpected events or gaps. Typical maintenance items will be noted and compared with observations. Unusual events or patterns will be brought to your attention. Logs can be difficult to read, but every effort will be made to glean as much as possible.
At the airplane, the inspector will check a large number of items, using a checklist to assure completeness. Items of interest, whether good, bad or unknown, will be pointed out verbally. Feel free to ask questions or point out things that you may observe. Completeness is more important than speed and your questions are important. As items are checked off the checklist, notes are taken and pictures taken. A running summary is often created at the same time to help with later discussions. You will be able to copy or transcribe this summary.
Once the checklist is complete the list of findings will be reviewed with you in detail. This is a good time to bring the Seller into the discussion (if available) and consult with an A&P (if desired.) This completes the inspection, although discussion and clarification of the findings, questions and answers may continue as needed.
Decisions and Choices: Purchasing an airplane is an unavoidably emotional process. Often buyers become depressed when first hearing of a long list of issues to address. I will try to help you put the issues in perspective. Even excellent aircraft usually have dozens of issues and most can be resolved with time and money.
Issues will be categorized to help you understand which issues are showstoppers, which you should negotiate for resolution before purchase and which should be completed before flying home. There will also be a list of items to be addressed soon, at the next few annuals and things which you should simply know about your new airplane.
The inspection will give you enough information to make an informed decision, negotiate an appropriate purchase agreement and anticipate your next few years of ownership, along with understanding any risk of issues in the future.
Hopefully it will be a great airplane, all will go well and you will soon bring home an excellent Cardinal!
Thank you for letting us assist you.
Keith Peterson, KDP Solutions