By Dennis Carley
The only thing you can do to make sure it is as advertised is GO INSPECT IT, or hire someone to go inspect it for you. The aircraft you are looking at may be fine…but there is no way to tell for sure without seeing it.
I have lost track of the number of times guys have bought an aircraft sight-unseen, and ended up spending more on it than they would have if they had bought a new one. We have 2 big parts orders going out this week, both to guys who bought a used aircraft only to find that they needed to replace several airframe components before they would be safe to fly.
One other consideration when looking at used Aerolites is what year it was manufactured. The older models had a different wing panel, rear lift strut attachment, flap system, landing gear, etc., and have 100 pounds less maximum gross weight than the current version. There have also been many updates to the design since the original versions were produced. Additionally, the older design was never load tested. The updated (current) airframe has been (you can see the results and pics on our website). There is nothing inherently wrong with the older models, but they are not structurally the same as the current ones we produce. That is something a potential buyer should consider when choosing an older or new model, especially if the empty weight of the older aircraft is high due to a larger engine or other added accessories.
Lastly, it is worth every penny a buyer spends on having their aircraft transported properly. Again, I can tell you countless stores of guys buying light aircraft (an Aerolite and virtually every other model) and hiring someone to move it that either had no experience moving light aircraft, or did not have the proper equipment to move it. I have had customers send movers to our factory to pick up their brand new Aerolite, and we knew the moment the aircraft left here that it was going to be damaged before it made it 100 miles down the road. I have had customers call me up virtually in tears when their new plane arrived, only to see it damaged from being improperly transported. We can make a recommendation for transport if you need it, or give you info on how to set your trailer up to move it if you are going to move it yourself.