Aerlex Law Group

The Technical Representative

The Technical Representative — Originally published in BusinessAir Magazine, April 2015, Volume 25, No. 4.

During a recent aircraft sale, an inspection facility released an aircraft, the seller received the final invoice, and we scheduled a closing for the sale of the aircraft. On the morning of the closing, we learned that a certain repair had been performed in a way that would require inspections at more frequent intervals. This new requirement meant the aircraft did not meet the delivery conditions in the purchase agreement, which prohibited non-standard inspection intervals.  Additionally, none of the records discrepancies had been cleared. While it is impossible to control all of the possible issues that can occur on closing day, the issues on this closing could have been prevented by adding a technical representative to the working group.

The relationship between an aircraft buyer, seller and inspection facility during the pre-buy inspection process can present challenges. Even though the buyer is not paying for the repairs, as the future owner of the aircraft, the buyer needs to make sure the repairs are being done correctly, in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the purchase agreement. For that reason, it is generally best for the buyer to have its own representative on site at the inspection location throughout the pre-buy inspection process.  Additionally, even though the buyer may have assembled an experienced closing team of lawyers, bankers, insurance brokers and aircraft brokers, an aircraft buyer needs the specialized expertise that a technical representative brings to the acquisition team. It is the technical advisor who can protect the buyer’s interests in this situation, ensuring that repairs are completed correctly and that the seller pays for all repairs required under the contract.

Further, repairs are not the only matter of concern. The buyer’s on-site technical representative should also confirm the aircraft is equipped as represented in the specifications provided by seller and that it is not missing an important, costly feature that may have been represented as being installed on the aircraft by seller. Since most purchase agreements require the buyer to confirm the details on the aircraft specification sheet, the buyer must make sure this is done.

When selecting a technical representative, it is important to retain someone who has expert knowledge about the particular aircraft being purchased. Some technical representatives have previously been employed by a specific manufacturer and know those certain aircraft models and their likely issues. However, the representative might not have comparable knowledge regarding a different manufacturer or aircraft type.

It is also critical that the technical representative is able to be present with the aircraft during the initial inspection, to oversee the repairs, and to participate in the test flight. Having your technical representative onsite  throughout the entire inspection process more than pays for itself in the long run.

Finally, while the inspection facility should be neutral, the technical representative should be an advocate for the buyer.  Having a technical representative that is employed by the inspection facility is not a wise option since  such an individual cannot truly advocate for either party. Further, retaining an inspection facility that has worked on and/or has maintained the aircraft presents a potential conflict of interest.

When acquiring a new aircraft, once the production process begins, it is never too early to have your representative onsite. Because there are literally hundreds of thousands of parts that have to be assembled to build an  aircraft, some errors are inevitable. A buyer’s representative can discover these squawks and ensure correction while the aircraft is still being built. If you simply have someone go to the delivery location and look at the aircraft, you are too late. By that time, the interior has been installed and much of the aircraft is inaccessible. It is never too early to have your technical representative on hand when a new aircraft is in production, and you will find that it is well worth the money spent for that expert’s service.

Please contact Amanda Applegate at 877-237-5398 or