June 2002 Issue

Low Time Surprise

Aircraft’s low hours don’t mean much as fuel system troubles overshadow apparent fuel exhaustion accident.

[IMGCAP(1)] Check the ads for used airplanes and it’s pretty clear that most buyers are looking for a 1970s era airplane with low airframe and engine time. The Holy Grail, it seems, is a mid- to late-70s model with under 2,000 hours.

Although the buyers’ intent is usually to find an airplane that has been well cared for, there are some cases where “low time” means neglected. Furthermore, many owners rely on operating hours when scheduling maintenance, not accepting the fact that many parts also need attention after the passage of time, even if the airplane has been on the ground.

The buyer of a 1975 Cessna 177RG thought he’d found a good deal when he bought the airplane Dec. 30, 1999....

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