Aircraft Sales Insights

A Service of Dallas Jet International

The Purchase Process – Why a Test Flight AND an Acceptance Flight?

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By Brad Harris

The aircraft purchase process is necessarily complex.

When you’re buying a home or a commercial property, you probably visit the property on more than one occasion, usually accompanied by different experts that have different perspectives and priorities.

For the same reason, DJI includes two flights in the process when we represent a client purchasing an aircraft. Each flight is to achieve different objectives.

Here’s an outline of DJI’s priorities and purposes for the two flights:

The aircraft purchase process - why two test flights?

The Test Flight

After we’ve located an aircraft for a client, part of our process includes an evaluation of the aircraft on the ground.  If the evaluation meets or exceeds DJI’s standards and the client’s expectations; and if all parties agree to the terms, we fly the aircraft to a reputable inspection facility.

During this flight, we test all aircraft systems looking for any abnormal indications. These need to be emphasized in the inspection process.  If there are discrepancies noted on the flight, we write them up with the Prebuy inspection facility as incoming discrepancies.

Technical Acceptance

We perform a thorough ground check to ensure all inspection items have been resolved before the aircraft is returned to service.

Aircraft repair is not always as simple as it appears. Aircraft are composed of many complex systems. Even the most experienced OEM or Service Centers may not be completely sure they have addressed the root cause of a problem (or “squawk”) in the inspection process until it is thoroughly retested. DJI’s process ensures that we have several experts involved in the repair and check process.

The Acceptance Flight

Of course, there are some items that can only be that tested when the aircraft is in flight.

As an example – one of the items on the inspection “squawk list” may be that the flaps don’t function properly. The mechanic discovers and fixes a problem with the flap synchronization switch.  Now the flaps are functioning properly on the ground.  However, when you go on the acceptance flight, the airflow inflight causes the problem to re-occur and therefore additional adjustments need to be made.

In addition, an inspection list may include a number of “squawks” that could be interrelated.  Repairing or replacing one item may solve more than one problem, or it may have a different cause.

We prefer to have different pilots fly the aircraft on the Acceptance Flight.  We typically will look for test pilots that have worked for the Manufacturer of the Aircraft and use them when able.

Why not use the same flight crew?

Pilots process a huge amount of information when they operate an aircraft.

Experienced and attentive pilots tend to “learn” the personality of a particular aircraft and may become comfortable with idiosyncratic behavior, even after a single flight. Anything that has been experienced more than once seems more “normal” and less noteworthy.

Different pilots bring a fresh perspective to the aircraft, and are more likely to notice and report the anomaly.

Upon successful completion of the acceptance flight, DJI is more comfortable stating that all of the inspection items have been resolved and the transaction can proceed to closing.

The acceptance flight can also deliver the aircraft to a location convenient for the client to close and take delivery of the aircraft.  We work with our clients carefully to determine the best location for delivery, and we always purchase fuel at that location and add the receipt to the closing documentation package for the aircraft.

DJI takes our fiduciary responsibility very seriously.  This process, including two flights with different flight crews, is the best solution for ensuring that each transaction is successful.


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