As a pilot and aviation lawyer, Wayne Wright knows that when a plane is damaged, even slightly; its resale value can be severely diminished. It may never sell at the price of an undamaged plane of the same make and model.
Repairs to damaged aircraft are expensive and negotiations with insurance companies can be tricky. For example, insurance companies may insist on installing a used part instead of a new one, further reducing a damaged plane’s value. Some repair shops may cut corners, leaving an aircraft with an official damage history, further diminishing its value.
Wayne Wright aviation lawyers know how to avoid those missteps in the repair process as they focus on a return to airworthy conditions while preserving as much of an aircraft’s subsequent value as possible.
General aviation aircraft can easily sustain damage from “hangar rash,” - collisions caused by ground service equipment - bird strikes, lightening and hail. The resulting dents, scratches and gouges may appear minor. Many times the damage goes deeper. It can significantly diminish the value of a plane or helicopter by altering the “flying characteristics” that make it air worthy.
According to the Aviation Glossary, a plane’s damage can be categorized as minor, substantial or destroyed. Each category takes careful assessment by a qualified mechanic. If the damage is minor, the plane will need “simple repairs or replacement of minor parts.” If the damage is substantial, the aircraft’s structural integrity can be affected. It may need “replacement of an entire component.” If it is deemed “destroyed,” it is not advisable to repair it.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) manual provides a step-by-step list of repairs and tools that can make a plane or a helicopter safe to fly again. Only a well-trained airline mechanic can make repairs that allow the stresses that pull, push and twist an aircraft to flow simultaneously across its body in the air or on the ground. If the flow is blocked, the aircraft is subject to “fatigue cracking and eventual failure.”
Unlike cars, airplanes are more than the sum of their parts. When repairs are needed, Wayne Wright lawyers can guide owners through the complex process crucial to preserving as much value in their aircraft as possible. Otherwise, determining fault and liability can be expensive.
Some of the initial Wayne Wright steps after an aircraft is damaged include the following:
- Wayne Wright aviation lawyers insist that damage be repaired at an FAA approved repair stations. Negotiations with insurance companies may be necessary to assure aircraft are not repaired elsewhere.Otherwise, the repairs may be less than optimal; opening the door to a major “Red Flag” in a plane’s logs - an FAA Form 337 - indicating the aircraft sustained “major damage” which seriously diminishes its value.
- Wayne Wright aviation lawyers know that FAA approved repair shops may have more latitude in avoiding an FAA form 337.
- Wayne Wright lawyers insist that insurance companies pay for new parts rather than used parts to preserve the aircraft’s value as much as possible.
- Wayne Wright lawyers obtain several estimates before aircraft is repaired to avoid “damage history” as much as possible.
- Wayne Wright lawyers can involve manufacturers in the repair process to stop insurance company quick fixes that may damage the brand’s reputation.
- Wayne Wright lawyers know that damage in the air or while landing is more serious than hangar damage. But if the aircraft is damaged in the hangar, other parties may be responsible for the cost of repairs.
These considerations, among numerous others, can affect an aircraft’s value after it is repaired. Contacting an aviation lawyer at Wayne Wright LLP after a plane is damaged, is the first step in protecting against expensive pitfalls that can, unfortunately, diminish its value even further.