Blog by Martin Keeping,
Chief Engineering & Maintenance at Kaizen Aerospace 


Welcome to my Blog post for Kaizen Aerospace, where over a series of blogs, I will guide you through the various disciplines of the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering world and then detail how we at Kaizen Aerospace, are different to our competitors and how we can provide for you a far more unique tailored support and full ‘One Stop Shop.’ This takes the worry away from the owner’s so they can concentrate their time on more important things like their family and business.

I have been in the Aviation Industry for over thirty years and have worked at every level and in every department of aircraft engineering from an apprentice up to an Engineering Director.

I am a Licensed Aircraft Engineer and worked on every single aircraft type from a Cessna 172 and Cirrus SR22 up to and including the A380, 747 and Concorde, with everything else in between. I am also a regulatory surveyor, issuing Permits to Fly and Certificates of Airworthiness and also reviewing and approving Maintenance Programs and validating modifications.

The final domain is auditing aircraft, maintenance facilities and Continued Airworthiness Organisations along with being an examiner, trainer and Expert Witness.

My first blog is at the start of the flying journey, the Pre-Purchase Inspection of a prospective aircraft. What inspection is required to be accomplished when purchasing an aircraft.

What is a PPI?

A pre-purchase inspection is exactly as the title states, an inspection of an aircraft that is performed by an agent on behalf of the purchaser, with solely the purchaser’s interest at heart. The inspection involves analysing the aircraft records and performing a Physical Inspection of the aircraft and identifying any anomalies or non-compliance as is required.

Who should perform a PPI?

It is very important, otherwise quite pointless, that an appropriately qualified and experienced engineer, on the specific aircraft type being inspected, performs the inspection, who is completely independent and has no conflict of interest with the manufacturer, seller or, if applicable, organisation / location to where the inspection is taking place.

Who should not be involved in performing a PPI?

Primarily, anybody immediately associated with the seller of the aircraft, this absolutely includes a representative of the manufacturer, if purchasing from the Manufacturer, or a representative of the Broker, if there is one. Anybody who has very little experience in aircraft engineering and associated Technical Aircraft Record and not being able to recognise potential problems, deficiencies and systemic problems with the type. It is absolutely fundamental, the inspector carrying out the PPI, has a good understanding of reading and analysing aircraft records and matching them to the physical Aircraft.

Why is it important to perform a PPI?

The asset of an aircraft needs to be protected and when a prospective buyer is purchasing an aircraft, they need to have a very clear understanding as to the true status of the aircraft and have a good visibility of any potential future costs and maintenance requirements. Furthermore, a decent PPI will identify any potential issues that require immediate rectification, record discrepancies and anomalies or maintenance compliances, that need to be actioned or that can be negotiated into the ‘deal’ and the purchase price. The PPI will also identify if the purchase price is realistic or otherwise.

What is achieved and expected from a PPI?

A PPI is an investment in protecting yourself against the purchase of your aircraft. With aircraft costing large amounts of money and an asset you will flying in, not just yourself, but probably your family as well, this means, that it is a cost that should not be restricted upon or disputed and if you were paying large volumes of money, in the multi-millions, then a few thousand to have a qualified engineer perform a detailed PPI, is a very wise investment.

What you can expect from a PPI with Kaizen Aerospace

1.0 Pre-Purchase Inspection

The qualified engineer would discuss the depth of the Pre-purchase Inspection and your expectation and will offer a contract with a price and timeframe. If flights and hotel are required, then the Engineer would expect money up front to purchase tickets and pay for respectable hotels and possible Car Hire.

2.0 Record Review

The Engineer will then engage with the seller and request a set of documents and aircraft records that would give a very good overview of the aircraft and determine the current maintenance status of the aircraft. Ideally the record review would be completed first, before the physical, this way sample checks can be set and confirmed and any queries could be verified against the actual aircraft.
The records will reveal any future maintenance, the level of maintenance checks, component replacements due and over what time frame and also highlight any maintenance, if any, that is out of compliance and needs action immediately. Depending on the size of the aircraft and the age of the aircraft, the record review can take a minimum of five days for an average business jet size aircraft.

3.0 Physical Inspection

The next step of the process is the Physical Inspection. This is a very detailed inspection of the aircraft, both internally and externally, looking at all areas. There are primarily two fundamental objectives with the physical Inspection, they are condition and compliance with the records. The condition is to ensure, there are no systemic defects, the aircraft is as advertised, the aircraft is not suffering from traditional defects with the aircraft type or that they are being managed and in good control and that the aircraft condition matches its age, or better. Among many requirements of the inspection, some areas are to ensure there are no leaks, or corrosion and structural integrity is assured with a confirmation that all pipes, cables and looms are in good condition with adequate radius and security. Ensure all decals and mandatory markings are correct and on clear display and are in compliance with the Aircraft Maintenance Manual, Flight Manual & requirements of the regulatory authority to which the aircraft is registered.

4.0 Engine and APU Inspection

The Engine and APU inspections will vary depending on whether the engines are managed through Technical Support programs with the manufacturers policies or not and whether additional Borescope Inspections would invalidate the programs and inspection sequences covered by the programs. As a result, Kaizen Aerospace can ensure the best possible outcome is accomplished on the engine / APU inspection as applicable.

5.0 Inspections vs. Records

The second fundamental of the physical is to match the sample checks of the records to the aircraft. For example, check component fits match the records, Airworthiness Directives are complied with, the Cabin Layout and materials match the burn certification data, and the Emergency equipment layout is correct and all in date.

6.0 Test Flight

Normally, it is advisable, to have a Test Flight carried out on the aircraft prior to purchase to ensure, the aircraft operates and performs in accordance with Type Design and applicable Flight Manual Limitations and envelope. Kaizen Aerospace has appropriately licensed and experienced Pilots to test fly the aircraft, along with the Engineer performing the PPI. The Test Flight is conducted in accordance with an agreed Test Flight Profile, to ensure all necessary measures and system functionality is tested to the Manufacturers requirements and recommendations.

On completion of the PPI, Kaizen, will produce the following for the client

A very detailed written report detailing the current status of the aircraft and future maintenance requirements and when due.

A very compressive library of Photographs capturing all areas of the aircraft and condition, highlighting irregularities and compliance / comparison to the supplied technical documentation.

Reviewed received documents all indexed & collated in a presentation format.

A list of Open Items / areas of issue where the records / aircraft do not correlate.

A valuation of the aircraft and potential estimated cost of impending maintenance.

A recommendation on required compliance and defects with the aircraft that need to be actioned and rectified before purchase.

An honest recommendation whether to purchase the aircraft or not.

What is different about having Kaizen Aerospace Perform your PPI?


At Kaizen Aerospace, we offer
a very unique and unparalleled service, we can provide a ‘one stop shop.’
The first advantage is Kaizen Aerospace has experienced Inspectors to perform your PPI on every possible aircraft type flying. The staff are licensed aircraft engineers who are also regulatory surveyors with over thirty years’ experience in the industry, and they are totally independent.


The second advantage, if any issues or maintenance compliance requirements are identified, Kaizen Aerospace, can then engage & negotiate with the seller / MRO and ensure and oversee, that all necessary maintenance is actioned appropriately, before the purchase takes place, having intimate knowledge of the aircraft and project oversite.


Finally, having reviewed the aircraft records and the physical aircraft and engaged with the seller / MRO right the way through the purchase process, we can then oversee the purchase, advise the most appropriate regulatory authority to operate the aircraft and then oversee and manage the aircraft through the registration process and issuance of the various regulatory certificates and then finally manage and operate your aircraft, ensuring all required support and maintenance due is accomplished as necessary.
A PPI is a crucial inspection to carry out, if not accomplished thoroughly, utilising suitably experienced qualified personnel, can cost huge amounts of money, in addition to an already potentially overpriced aircraft. You would always have a house or car inspected or surveyed, why would you not have an aircraft surveyed, which is so much higher in value and operating in far more extreme environments.

Watch for future Blogs on these subjects and support processes that Kaizen Aerospace can assist with.

Martin Keeping



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