Lenders need to know that an asset—their asset—is in good shape. Logbooks tell the story of the airplane—where it was owned, how it was maintained, if it needed repairs. If it did need repairs, how often and who did the work? Did each owner take equally good (or bad) care of the airplane? Logbooks are a forensically valuable part of what the lender sees as a property they’re going to own.
Look at it another way. Think of logbooks as you might think of your own medical history. From the first page to the last, logbooks paint a picture of the airplane’s overall health. The lender may not scan every page, but certainly enough pages to discern any trends. Logbooks can significantly raise or lower the value of an aircraft. If pages—or complete logbooks—are missing, that lessens the airplane’s overall value.
It’s not illegal to fly without logs. That’s why some owners don’t sweat missing logbooks. However, when it comes time to sell the airplane and there isn’t a way to confirm that certain actions have been taken (compliance with ADs, wing spar inspections, etc.), lack of logbook proof may force the owner to repeat those inspections or have compliance maintenance redone. While that seems kind of silly, that's the hard reality of it.
Some owners present an incomplete set of logbooks along with CD-ROMS they requested and received from the FAA, thinking the CD-ROMS help complete the set. While those CD-ROMS contain owner history and perhaps the 337s, that's not enough information to make up for missing logs.
The bottom line: An airplane without complete logs is worth less than one that has complete logs. Perhaps the best advice AOPA can offer is to get the logs into Adlog or a similar system. Or at least have a PDF or another kind of electronic backup.
Great advice. Great rates. From helpful and responsive reps you can trust. Three good reasons to turn to AOPA Aviation Finance when you are buying or refinancing an airplane. If you need a dependable source of financing with people who are on your side, just call 800.62.PLANE (800.627.5263), or click here to request a quote.