The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Customer Letters: International Pre-Purchase Evaluation Done Right!

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 @ 07:42 AM

International Pre-Purchase Evaluation

When purchasing a business aircraft with a foreign registration, select a pre-purchase facility that knows what they are doing.

Our customers have come to expect a higher standard of service from us when it comes to the maintenance and care of their business aircraft. And although we can say that we do it better than any other major repair and overhaul service (MRO) provider in business aviation, our customers say it best. Below is a customer letter written and sent to Monte Reeves, Duncan Aviation’s Manager of Customer Service located in Lincoln, Nebraska, explaining his recent international pre-purchase experience with Duncan Aviation. All customer information has been removed at their request.


I wanted to write you to express my thanks, as well as appreciation, for the recent work Duncan Aviation and your team provided on the pre-purchase and paint of our Falcon 2000 EASy. In order to give you the proper perspective of our experience, here is a little background.

Previous Pre-Purchase Experience

Sixteen months ago, we purchased a German-based Citation Sovereign. Although we have purchased a number of business aircraft over the past 20 years, this was our first experience acquiring one registered in a foreign country. The experience was difficult, tedious and took much longer than we had expected. The process of de-registration and re-registration was cumbersome, as was the pre-purchase inspection that was accomplished in Germany, at the seller’s insistence.

Shortly after taking ownership, we made the decision to have extensive airframe and paint work accomplished and took the Sovereign to one of your competitors where we were told the paint work would take five to six weeks and in actuality took over seven. In the end, the quality of the work and new paint were fine, but the experience was much longer (over six months) and more difficult than we anticipated.

Our Duncan Aviation Experience

When we began the process of acquiring a Falcon 2000, we were very leery about purchasing another foreign-registered aircraft, due to the previous bad experience. However, we found the right aircraft for us based in Belgium and decided to proceed with the purchase. Our only stipulation was to accomplish the pre-purchase inspection in the United States. The seller agreed.

After consulting with several people in the industry, we contacted Duncan Aviation and brought the aircraft to Lincoln, NE. Even though we have been in the aviation business for some time, this would be our first experience with Duncan.

We, like every other operator purchasing a new aircraft, wanted to get it in right away. Our Director of Maintenance talked with Tim Klenke, Falcon Airframe Service Sales Rep, and explained our needs, including bringing the aircraft into the country under foreign registration, performing the pre-purchase inspection, de-registering, re-registering, etc. With this instruction, Tim coordinated everything with your production teams and Duncan Aviation was able to accommodate our tight schedule. I was able to talk with Dan Moody, MRA Project Coordinator, personally and got a good comfort level of how the registration process would happen.

When we arrived, we were met and greeted at our aircraft by our Project Manager Steve Ballard. The next morning we had a briefing with a representative from every department that would be involved in our project. I was impressed that there was not only airframe and engine representatives present, but also interior, documentation and engineering. We were able to review each of the items on the pre-purchase, as well as extra items that we wanted done at our request outside the scope of the pre -purchase. Each one in that meeting was not only knowledgeable, but professional and friendly.

As we took a tour of Duncan’s Lincoln facility, the first thing that surprised me was how busy everyone was. Over the next several weeks, we not only saw a great work ethic, but your people were genuinely friendly and extremely knowledgeable. If we had questions or concerns about the project or our aircraft, they responded quickly and followed up when necessary.

Half-way through the pre-purchase, we decided to add a new paint job to the workscope. Due to scheduling constraints of your very busy paint shop and registration issues, there was some doubt that our request could be accommodated. However, Steve, together with many production people, came together and worked out a plan that included a new paint and kept the project very close to the original schedule.

Exceeding Expectations

The paint process was split into two phases. Dan Moody assured me the new plan would have no impact on his process and the interior shop assured us they could get their work done around the schedule changes. At this point, I should also mention when I first talked to the people in Duncan's paint and design department, I was told the aircraft paint project would be completed in three weeks. Now if I hadn’t already known of Duncan Aviation's reputation for quality aircraft paint work, I would have been very suspicious since we just watched our Sovereign take seven weeks somewhere else.  

The end of the story is that our Falcon 2000 was delivered four days ahead of schedule. The work quality was excellent, including the paint and interior work. And the registration process was so smooth, it was almost a non-issue. All of the Duncan Aviation people on our project worked hard, but not at the expense of the customer relationship. We were always treated with respect and felt they understood how important our aircraft was to us, even though they must deal with the same relationship with every customer. They really did want to get it right.

As our Project Manager, Steve was on top of everything all the way. He and some of the department leaders handled a few difficult situations that arose early on in the project between the seller and buyer with courtesy, professionalism and knowledge; defusing some potentially rough spots in the process. On the occasions when we weren’t on-site at Duncan Aviation, kept us connected and made things understandable and easy.

Whatever You are Doing, Keep Doing It

I could try and list as many people by name as I could to say Thank You, but I know I would be leaving too many out. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. Please make sure that everyone from Line Service to the Front Desk; Paint and Design  to Engineering, including Interior, Airframe, Engine, Detailing and any other department that touched our aircraft while at Duncan Aviation, knows what a great job they did and what an excellent experience we had.

You Get What You Pay For

Initially, I was concerned that your labor rate was high. However, it soon became obvious that for every hour of labor I bought, I actually got an hours worth of labor. The end cost was less than when you pay a lower hourly rate and only get part of an hour's work. Imagine that!

Pre-Purchase Services For Buyers & Sellers

Duncan Aviation's only focus during a pre-buy evaluation is to provide the most accurate assessment on the condition of an aircraft to the buyer and seller. Our comprehensive services allow us to correct most discrepancy repairs in-house.

New avionics systems, interiors and industry-leading paint can be updated during the process, providing buyers with a high-quality product with as little downtime as possible.

Business Aircraft Acquisition Services

Locating and purchasing a pre-owned business aircraft is incredibly complex and risky. The stakes are huge. A small oversight can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But a little insight can gain an equally large advantage. Talk to an experienced business aircraft acquisitions expert, to located the business aircraft that matches your needs. Duncan Aviation is the largest, family-owned maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the world providing complete acquisition sales and support services for business aircraft.

Tags: International Considerations, Aircraft Sales, Customer Service, Pre-Purchase Inspection


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