Charles Raines

1977 Mooney M20J "201" N201TY

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Looks can be deceivingGood avionics, but a lot of other stuff that didn't workOn it way back to Las Vegas. What a beautiful sight!

With this airplane, a fool became a little wiser.

I knew better, but this was a clean bird with a fresh annual at the right price. So I broke the cardinal rule and bought this airplane without a thorough pre-buy inspection.

I had been looking for an early Mooney 201 for several months with no success. When I came across this 1977 "J" model in Las Vegas, it was completely opened up for an annual inspection. The log books looked good and the airplane was very clean. The doctor who owned it had just bought a new Cirrus and was anxious to sell the Mooney. I thought I had made a good deal–until I got it home and showed it to my mechanic.

During a thorough inspection–after the fact–major problems were discovered. The airplane had several massive fuel leaks, numerous inoperative components, a prop which was supposed to have been overhauled but wan't, AD's that had been signed off but never done, and on top of it all, the engine case was cracked. I was looking at nearly 40% of the purchase price to make this airplane airworthy.

Fortunately for fools like me, there are still honest people in the world. The previous owner was as dismayed over the condition of the airplane as I was. Apparently the A&P/AI who had been maintaining the airplane for several years was either totally incompetent or an absolute crook. I wanted to show the airplane to the FAA with the hope of getting this guy's A&P license revoked. The doctor however proposed that he simply take the airplane back, refund my money and handle the other issue himself. Being Las Vegas, it wouldn't have cost much to have put a contract out on the guy. But that wasn't my concern. I took my money and ran like a rabbit.

It still scares me to think about how close I came to being stuck with this airplane. Let this be a lesson to anyone who ever thinks about buying an airplane without a thorough inspection–no matter how good a deal they think they are getting.

It wasn't long before I found another M20J offered for sale by a reputable dealer. I paid a little more, but got exactly the airplane I had been looking for.