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Opportunity to buy in to 235, seeking advice

user 23174

New Member
Dec 25, 2022
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Hi All,

Been researching on various forums for a while now, and reading every article I can find, but could use the advice of those who have been through this before.

Have always been a renter as outright ownership just wasn’t financially feasible, but have an opportunity to buy someone out of their 1/3 partnership in a 1976 235. I've always been partial to Cherokee's, and prefer them to Cessna (still have memories flying around in a 1965 Cherokee 180 in my training days to build time and loved that airplane, no bells or whistles but just fun to fly).

Some details:
PA28-235 1976 Pathfinder
TT: 3700
SMOH: 800 (done in 2014)
New interior and paint in 2014 during engine overhaul
L3 NGT 9000
430 non-WAAS (would obviously prefer WAAS, but I'm familiar with the 430 and it works, but assume at some point in the near future a GPS upgrade will be needed)
Insight G2 engine monitor
Plane is set up as an LLC with each party owning 1/3 of the LLC
Hangared on California central coast

One of the owners is a buddy who has told me that there is another owner who is older and moved and has been talking about it being time to finally sell his share, so I reached out to talk about an offer and we agreed on a number based on what I know about the plane, Controller/Trade-a-Plane, and Vref.

Now comes the fun part I know nothing about besides what I've seen in forums; the due diligence I need to do before making this official. The airplane happens to be going in to annual, so I’ll see any outstanding issues once that wraps up. Since I know one of the owners well, I know this plane has been taken care of and maintenance issue are addressed promptly.

Would love input and advice on the following and obviously anything else I'm missing that is a must-do for someone in my position.

Will be looking through all aircraft and engine logbooks next week once the annual is wrapped up. I haven't reached out to any area mechanics about a pre-buy yet, but assume the advice would be to still do a pre-buy with another mechanic?

PA28 Wing Spar Issues
I need to find out if they've done any proactive inspections in regards to the wing spar. I know with the recent service bulletin, another AD might be coming. The current plane isn't going to come anywhere close to being part of the current AD's flight hour limit for inspection, but I obviously don't want to buy in to something that could potentially be worth zero if there are cracks.

Legal Review of LLC documents
Have the AOPA Legal Service plan, so will be having an aviation attorney go through the aircraft LLC documents as well as the owners agreement.

Checked with insurance to see what checkout requirements will be and got a new quote with me replacing the other owner, no issues there.

Test Flight
Will be going up with my buddy who is one of the other partners in it for a test flight after the annual. With the 235hp O-540, been figuring around 130 true with a 14gph fuel burn. I know these engines like gas. Been flying a 1976 Arrow, so very used to the Piper cockpit and these planes liking a little power left in on landing. Anything I should be looking for during a test flight? It has the Knots2U Flap / Aileron / Stabilator Gap Seal kit, the wing root fairing kit, as well as the Dakota-style wheel pants, so figure might get a few extra knots and a couple more fpm on climb, but need to go up with the plane. The 4 fuel tanks will be a bit of a learning curve, but I assume you get used to it pretty quickly and just requires a bit more of a strict fuel management plan on longer cross countries?

Other owners
Obviously a big part of co-ownership is making sure you're compatible with the other owners on scheduling, maintenance items, keeping the engine happy, etc. While I don't know one of the partners, the other one is a friend whose company owns the share and is primarily a backup aircraft for another single they use. From the schedule I've seen the past year, it flies a couple times a month and could definitely use a third owner to fill in the gaps to keep it flying a bit more. So I'm not worried about lack of availability for doing trips or local scenic flights. While I don't know specifics over any squawks, I know that this group takes maintenance seriously and isn't the defer until annual type, issues are addressed and fixed as they come up. Since a company is one of the co-owners, and their partners are often on board, the plane is kept in good shape. So it seems this part (that can make or break a successful co-ownership agreement) will be ok, but let me know if there are other factors I'm missing. I know this will obviously make it tougher to sell in a punch if I need to get out, but this is by no means a stretch financially so not anticipating any issues there, even if the engine decided to fail tomorrow. Now, if there are any wing spar issues, that's another story...

I'm sure I'm missing some must-do items, so very open to the knowledge of those that own these planes and been through this process.

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