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Buying a 60 year old airframe in the USA and flying it back to the UK

Does following this new export process allow one to avoid aircraft re-import to US in future dates? sort of “US free certificate of circulation” that is valid for life even if the aircraft was permanently based in Europe…

The chart-flow seems well targeted at Aircraft Guaranty trust…but at the end it seems other trusts has also to send and EEI request maybe to beneficial owners as well as to FAA/CBP?

Last Edited by Ibra at 28 Apr 13:42
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

No once you return you will have to go through customs, so doesn’t provide you with a free circulation for life card.

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

I have learned a bit more about Canada ELT requirements. The law became effective on November 2021, and in effect it allows foreign aircraft to comply with a handheld PLB.


An aircraft may be operated without an ELT on board if the aircraft

(b) is registered under the laws of a contracting state or a state that is a party to an agreement entered into with Canada relating to interstate flying, is equipped with a serviceable emergency beacon that transmits on the 406 MHz frequency with a tested life of at least 24 hours and

(i) has a Class 1 or Class 2 Type Approval Certificate issued by the international search and rescue Cospas-Sarsat Council, and

(ii) is registered with the appropriate authority of the country identified in the coded message transmitted by the emergency beacon;

This for example qualifies.

There are more stringent regulations coming down the line, which require diversity of antenna provisions, etc.

All of the above courtesy of Beechtalk.

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

The candidate aircraft was carrying three historic liens which had not been technically released in an accurate form. They dated back to the 1960’s and 1970’s, and were related to old bank loans.

My impression that if this is a domestic sale the buyer shrugs his shoulders and carries on. Being an overseas buyer that plans to cross international borders, and using a Trustee, the escrow company, at a cost to the seller by convention, will attempt to lift or rectify this old deficient lien releases. Another handicap for an overseas buyer.

Typically the lender was a long gone local main street bank (one in this case was North Austin City Bank), or probably defunct savings and loan. The escrow agent then does detective work to find out the entity which absorbed the historic lender, gets in touch with their lending department and, if common sense prevails, a correctly drafted release is filed with the FAA. Occasionally, there may be a jobsworthy resistance which requires moving up the hierarchy of the organisation. Invariably one eyed and one horse savings and loan, if it was absorbed, is now part of a large interstate bank with a legal department in Chicago or San Francisco. If it didn’t past go, and went straight to the FDIC (government bank insurance dumping ground), am not sure how the lien is rectified.

At this point the very patient seller is wondering why deal with an overseas buyer, watch this space…

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

I’ve been told that if you dismantle a plane, it will never fly “straight” afterwards. It takes just a 1mm difference in the trailing edge height (in effect, AOA) between the two wings and you have a hopeless trim situation.

YMMV. A C172 in my club had a nosewheel collapse after a bad landing with major damage to the cowling etc. The aircraft had to be disassembled in order to be brought to a repair shop. Today it flies as well as ever.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

RobertL18C wrote:

My impression that if this is a domestic sale the buyer shrugs his shoulders and carries on.

It is my experience that for US buyers, the liens must be cleared or the transaction fails. It is usually a process that takes several days to a few weeks, but there are means of determining the current bank who can issue the release.

KUZA, United States

@NCYankee I would agree, and the broker was clear it was the seller’s responsibility to clear this up. However, I have seen a lot of aircraft change hands in the USA with these technical deficiencies hanging over the title. In this example, there were three or four transactions since these historic liens with no FAA filed releases had been filed.

Edit to add Trustee: Perhaps it is the role of the Trustee in an overseas purchase which doesn’t allow these old cans to be kicked down the road?

Last Edited by RobertL18C at 30 Apr 18:40
Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

Airborne_Again wrote:


As mentioned above, my plan last week was to remove both wings on my plane in sequence, to replace some aileron control linkage disconnect bushings. I took a couple of days off work last week to do it. In reality I removed and replaced the left wing once (on Thursday), then spent the last two days (Friday and Saturday) removing and replacing the right wing three times The first two times were necessary to correct a bellcrank bracket shimming job done by some A&P previously, then when I was inspecting and ‘admiring’ my work, I noticed a bolt installed backwards by the same previous A&P… better fixed late than never, it was a situation that results in the end of one bolt hitting the head of another. So off the wing came again, to access the hardware in the wing root, but this time the whole operation took only two hours because I was getting good at it by that time!

While doing all this I was reminded that if the plane has cable actuated ailerons, and particularly if the two sides are independent (with no shared crossover cable) you need to watch that cable tension is correct and equal on both sides. In flight each aileron will float upwards to a degree limited by the initial tension in the cable. If the two sides have slightly different cable tension then one aileron will float up a little more than the other, and a slight roll off will be the result.

I don’t think taking a plane apart and putting it back together is that big a deal in terms of maintaining flying qualities, as long as you use your head to a reasonable degree. In fact if the mechanic knows what he’s doing there is a possibility that it might end up better than before.

Next week with a bunch of work now done ‘under supervision’ my plane wil be inspected by the A&P IA I work with, and then I’ll be flying again.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 01 May 04:43

Silvaire wrote:

I don’t think taking a plane apart and putting it back together is that big a deal in terms of maintaining flying qualities, as long as you use your head to a reasonable degree.

I think a Bonanza is different. Special tools are required to remove and reinstall the wing bolts. If the same person is removing the wing and reinstalling it, they will have the tools and also be able to mark the incident angle for each wing. Wing bolts have two installation procedures, a dry installation and a wet installation. Wing bolts also have to be inspected ultrasonically before they can be reused. Last time I checked, the tools for the wing bolts ran about $2000 a set. A revision of the Beechcraft shop manual has recommends that the wing bolts be removed every 5 years and inspected and replaced at 15 year intervals. This is not mandatory on the N registry aircraft because there isn’t an AD and the change to the shop manual is not part of a limitation. There has never been a documented failure of a wing bolt, so many N registry aircraft still have the original wing bolts installed.

KUZA, United States

@NCYankee added to which I am not sure replacement bolts are even easily that available from Textron these days.

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom
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