Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Banner
Welcome to our forums

How to lose your plane and 35 000 Euro

This is the story of a failed avionics upgrade project. I think it’s informative, because those of us who have a plane will sooner or later think of upgrading their avionics. I hope this article will help you avoid the same mistakes and consequences. I would also like to share with you the operating mechanisms of a certified avionics installer and an FAA certified avionics manufacturer with which the owner of an aircraft has lost his plane and nearly 35000 euros. This includes: sale of avionics through a dummy company, but to claim that the sale was made through an official reseller, requiring payment when not due, ordinary lies for the purpose of obtaining an undue payment, presenting a fixed price offer and later, when the aircraft is grounded and disembarked, requiring additional sums and services which were not even mentioned during the contract negotiation. There is also a legal justification for keeping someone’s airplane.
I would also like to share with you the content of an agreement proposed by the avionics manufacturer to the owner of the aircraft. At first glance, this sounds like “win-win”. In fact, this allowed the avionics producer to withdraw from the project without assuming any responsibility. Asymmetry of access to information is an important aspect of history. The owner always knew less than the installer, who was always one step ahead. If the installer told him that the aircraft documents were not correct and that the owner has consequently asked a question about it on the Internet forum, installer’s colleagues were already waiting to answer this question. The answer was in line with the expectations of the installer. I can expect the same mechanism to work for my post here.
To my knowledge, the same avionics had already been installed in another Robin. This installation also failed and the aircraft was later “found non-navigable and scrapped”.
I want to emphasize that my role is not to judge participants in this story and to justify why they did what they did. Maybe that’s how the business works. The last important note: I do not know everything about this story, but everything described here will be based on documents, emails and other written messages. Recently, I tried to contact the owner of the plane and ask him to post what had happened to his plane. From what I understood, after losing the plane and trying unsuccessfully to recover it, he stopped flying powered aircraft and stopped taking interest in this case.
In short, here is the story: the owner has paid in advance for the equipment and partly for its installation. A total of 34500 euros. This had to be a pilot installation for EASA STC validation. The work was to last “about 4 weeks”. After about 3 weeks, all the instrument panel, electrics and the radio stack were dismantled and cut. The installer refused to let the owner access his own aircraft to perform Lycoming’s scheduled engine maintenance, which had been idling for 13 months at this time. About six months after the aircraft delivery date, new antennas for the new avionics were installed on top of the wooden fuselage. Shortly after, the owner learned that work on the STC had been abandoned. More than a year has elapsed and, as far as I know, the aircraft has so far been held in a hangar controlled by the installer’s employer, a Part 145 approved service shop and the avionics manufacturer’s official dealer.

I will post the complete story soon. Analysing source documents takes some time and I want to do it in a structured way.

LFCL, France

That’s quite some first post !

FAA A&P/IA
LFPN

Is there nothing that protects the costumer against fraudulent behaviour?

Sweden

Let’s start by introducing the participants of this story:
“Pilot” – the guy who lost 35 000 Euro and his plane.
“Aspen” – certified manufacturer of avionics
“Vliekwerk" – certified repair shop, official dealer of the aforementioned manufacturer,
“Jesse” – Certified avionics installer, employee of the aforementioned dealer who happens also to be the owner of:
- “JP Avionics (een handelsnaam van JLK Design & Technology)” which Google translates as “a trade name of JLK Design & Technology”) and
-” JP Avionics BV”.
Last but not least: “Design Organization” – this company is referenced many times, but so far I have not found it being mentioned by name.

Today I would like to describe the financial aspect of this story. I’ll leave other equally interesting threads for subsequent articles.

It all begun with this post:

Email discussion between “Pilot” and “Jesse” begun. EFD2000 was at the time a nice glass cockpit solution. The pilot was interested. His aircraft is a Jodel, an airplane type similar but older than the ones sought in the above announcement. Initial offer for avionics was very sweet:
From “Jesse” to “Pilot”
“__Aspen offers the EFD2000 for 9.995,00 USD, expect installation cost up to 5000 Euro depending equipment. Normally this installation would be 19.995 USD,00 in parts only__.”
This is effectively a 50% discount on equipment. Since “Pilot”s aircraft is formally of a different type, the Aspen STC would have to be extended to cover this additional type. Sometime later “Pilot” gets another proposal:
From “Jesse” to “Pilot”
„__Aspen is willing to pay for the additional STC and offer you a very reasonable discount, if you are prepaired to order this month__.”
and soon after:
„__To be able to get the discount, we need to order before the end of the month, so I should receive the down payment on Monday latest__.
Here is extract from the financial offer issued by "JP Avionics (een handelsnaam van JLK Design & Technology)”:
„EFD-2000 awareness incl STC Offer valid only till end november: 20.495,00 USD
Installation EFD-2000: 4.750,00 Euro”
The very important terms of payment:
„– 50% equipment at acceptance or order.
– 50% equipment, when equipment has arrived and before installation.
– All other cost, including labour are charged when with the certificate release to service.”
Release to service means installation signed off and ready to fly.
In practice, this looks like “Pilot” received the “awareness” software option as discount. It presents virtual 3d view of terrain ahead instead of attitude indicator. Sometime later this option was offered for free to all new EFD-2000 buyers.
The offer was accepted. Not long after that 18 910 Euro was transfered to "JP Avionics (een handelsnaam van JLK Design & Technology)” bank account. Later, Jesse this time acting on behalf of “JP Avionics BV” sent out an offer to install a new GTN radio and GTX transponder and “Pilot” provided engine monitor. 15 592 Euro was transferred this time. Another 2500 Euro were spent on standby attitude indicator required by EFD-2000 which was send directly from Aircraft Spruce to “Jesse”.
“Pilot” delivered the plane on August the 11th 2017. It soon turned out that things were not going as they should. As they were promised. I will come back with more details on this soon. Anyway, deadlines came and gone. The plane was grounded with the instrument panel removed and the electrical and vacuum installation completely cut out. None of the avionics purchased by “Pilot” were installed on a date which was initially defined. Time passed. The aircraft engine was rusting. After a few months “Pilot” reached out to “Aspen” with a question if they knew what was going on.
Initially the person handling this inquiry was surprised that in spite of STC paperwork not being ready “t__hey already ordered the displays for the installation__”. This is a very good point. After all, Jesse himself admitted he possessed EFD-2000 “demo unit” which could have been used to see if EFD 2000 would fit into Jodel. If on the other hand a binding commitment from “Pilot” was needed it would be enough to set up an escrow account. But on the other hand escrow accounts do not pay dealer’s commission.
After a few days’ time “Pilot” received official reply from “Aspen”:
„Thank you for your patience while I collected the information. Here’s what I discovered.
Aspen Avionics is not involved with the EASA STC, Vliegwerk is handling the installation and another agency is designing the STC for Vliegwer.”
This message has shed new light on the whole matter.
Now comes the moment of truth:
March the 2nd 2018
From „Pilot” to „Jesse”
CC: Aspen Avionics CEO and other Aspen staff
„__Kindly answer the following questions. But only simple “yes”/“no” answers please: Is it true that back in November 2016 Aspen Avionics required me to transfer money to your bank account “till the end of the month” in order to get a discount?
And the answer is:
From „Jesse” to „Pilot”
CC: Aspen Avionics CEO and other Aspen staff
No__”

Looks like “Pilot” was misled to pay “Jesse” money. Just as good a victim could have been anyone else who visits this forum. It’s worth to remember that EFD 2000 glass cockpit solution is already obsolete. This spring in Oshkosh Aspen introduced EFD ProMax, the successor of EFD 2000.
On April the 13th 2018 the aircraft was still grounded, installation not completed but “Jesse” requested full payment for installation of Aspen EFD-2000. This is obviously contrary to the payment terms that he himself put forward in the offer: ”All other cost, including labour are charged when with the certificate release to service.”
„Pilot” replied that he would pay the invoice as soon as the installation would be returned to service or another words ready to fly. Exactly as agreed. And that he was willing to make partial payments for items already installed and signed off. Nothing was signed off, even the GTN nav radio for which “Jesse” got paid upfront, both for labor and equipment.

This is the invoice, issued by “JP Avionics”. not by "JP Avionics (een handelsnaam van JLK Design & Technology)” which submitted binding offer for EFD-2000 installation. One company issued offer and another one issued invoice requesting payment for the job not done.
There is also a charge for “relocating of VHF antenna” 3 antennas? The aircraft was flown in with only one, factory installed VHF antenna and neither one of “Jesse” offers mentions any additional charges for relocation of the single one antenna.

This is how the instrument panel looked on April the 20th 2018. That is over 8 months after delivery of the aircraft to EHMZ.
Anyway, as “Pilot” did not pay the invoice, he was declared a debtor. It happened regardless of the fact that the installation was not completed, aircraft was not returned to service therefore as per “Jesse” own offer, payment for labor was not due. Nevertheless, because “Pilot” was declared a debtor, “Jesse” used his retention right that means right to hold the airplane until „Jesse” invoice would be paid. Clever isn’t it?
Legal justification: Articles 290 till 296 in book 3 of the Dutch Civil Code in connection with art. 52 till 57 of book 6 BW.

Don’t’ know what is the current status but last time I was at EHMZ the airplane was still held at “Vliekwerk” hangar.

to be continued

LFCL, France

This does look terrible.

It would be good if Jesse was allowed to defend himself on this topic (I don’t know that he wants to, never actually spoken to him). If then he doesn’t want to do so, anyone can reach their own conclusions

Last Edited by Noe at 23 Oct 12:37

Noe wrote:

It would be good if Jesse was allowed to defend himself on this topic (I don’t know that he wants to, never actually spoken to him). If then he doesn’t want to do so, anyone can reach their own conclusions

Wasn’t Jesse banned from here?

We are not discussing posters’ accounts, other than to say Jesse is not banned.

Administrator
EGTR / London, United Kingdom

A sad story, but not unusual in GA! Keep your flying simples is one of the lessons I take away. If you did want an update for IFR might not a G5 and a GTN650 sufficed? I realise wisdom with hindsight. Hope the avionics shop resolves this in the spirit of good faith business practice.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

Where I come from €35000 buys a lot of muscle.

Forever learning
EGTB

Perhaps one should be a bit careful about passing judgement when all you’ve heard is one side. Particularly as we have read several accounts on EuroGA with people being very happy with work done by JP Avionics.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
105 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top