With the exchange rate once again heading north and what appears to be an abundance of aircraft of the market in the US it would appear from the outside looking in that now could be an opportune time to be a buyer. What are the costs assciated with importing say a C182? And what are the porcesses that one should go through?
Go to the CAA website it will tell you everything you need to know about importing/certifying. The biggest cost I'd say is freight, you could spend as much as US$5K on freight or more, which pretty much neutralises the advantage of the good US dollar. We looked at several options in the US but ended up getting a fantastic deal for what we wanted within NZ. I'd check out Southern Aircraft or DTI Sales they will put you onto something from within the country, much cheaper.
Don't forget the export Certificate of Airworthiness (otherwise the import C of A could be quite a shock!). Make sure your new buy is struck off the FAA register and FAA knows to inform CASA. CASA will not look at it otherwise. Disassembly - US$3,000 Freight - 40' container these days is about US$8000 Assembly and Aust. C of A checks. A$10,000
Even with the above costs, there are quite a few bargains in the USA right now with the A$ north of US$0.80
Not many good, low time aircraft left in Aust. or NZ.....(assuming that's what you are after).
Stick to the reputable dealers in the USA. Many an Aussie buyer has been fleeced in the buy or got quite a shock during the import certification process (outstanding maintenance or out of date components).
Budget A$30K plus GST on the purchase price and shipping. Get someone to help who knows the ropes. Many, many pitfalls and risks. Not only do you have to be extemely wary of some of friends in the US, the big problems really start when it lands here. AQIS now insist it has to come out the box in an AQIS approved facility, with them there expecting to find gllissly bears and aligators no doubt. They won't go in the box for 'OHS reasons' so your average wharfy might be tasked with pulling it all out with his average forklift and crane skills. So after you end up with a pile of aircraft bits on the ground with a forklift hole in one of the wings, AQIS want to look in every nook and cranny. Any sign of dirt and it has to be decontaminated (or sent back!) They are very sensitive about timber packing materials and may take them away to be detroyed too - all at your cost of course. Surprisingly enough, your insurance company might not cover this stage.
So now you end up with your pride and joy left as a heap of parts for you to pick up and take to your friendly LAME for new CoA and reassembly. You cannot budget for that bit. Just keep your cheque book open with a blank one ready signed... US aircraft do not comply with Australian standards because the FAA allow a sensible maintenance system and we dont. Your LAME might quote you for reassembly and recertification but will find numerous reasons why he could not keep to that quote, mostly of course because our US friends did something wrong... Numerous components wil require replacement because your LAME and his CASA delegate interpret CASA regulation to say they are 'overdue' althougth they were of course perfectly serviceable in the US (they even got through an US export CoA) and then you have the quirky CASA AD's to comply with. Watch out for SB's at this stage also. Your LAME may or may not recommend/require you to comply and you might decide its a good idea to do so anyway - but it all costs. Your US$2500 export CoA is not worth the paper its written on because the $3500 CASA delegate will need to do it all again because as we all know any FAA paperwork is not trustworthy. Still at least you will be secure in the knowledge your new machine is clear of acontaminating influences and safe to fly in Australian skys and the sky in Australia is much safer because of all this BS
Just keep in mind it will cost heaps more than you thought, will be damaged, take much longer and involve so much pointless bureaucratic aggro it wll drive you nuts - and you'll be fine.
When I imported mine I didn't get an Export CofA - it is not required for private aircraft especially (but check with the person who will do your CofA). The Export CofA must be done with so many days (90 from memory) from a 100 hrly so consider whether you want that extra work done. It was very convenient that the maintenance organisation was approved by AQIS so the container went directly there. If I had my time over again I would've paid for my LAME to go to the USA and do the pre-purchase inspection.
The GST is based on the exchange rate the bird leaves the mainland or in the case of the US, Hawaii. All the fuel AND accommodation you purchase on your merry way (Christmas Is, W/Samoa/Fiji etc will also incur the wrath of the GST. it would be strongly advisable to register as a business with GST reporting B4 you buy. You could always cancel at a later date.
Yes, i would definitely take my engineer next time as the Yanks are extremely slack with aircraft maintenance, especially AD compliance. The "mechanics' over there always seem to be sitting on their acres while the meter ticks over at $US 70/80 per hour. What is written in the logs is fairytale stuff ie AD's signed off but not done. and unreported damage, often major.
There are a few traps for the uninitiated but its all possible.
US aircraft do not comply with Australian standards because the FAA allow a sensible maintenance system and we dont. Your LAME might quote you for reassembly and recertification but will find numerous reasons why he could not keep to that quote, mostly of course because our US friends did something wrong... Numerous components wil require replacement because your LAME and his CASA delegate interpret CASA regulation to say they are 'overdue' althougth they were of course perfectly serviceable in the US (they even got through an US export CoA)
Yes, i would definitely take my engineer next time as the Yanks are extremely slack with aircraft maintenance, especially AD compliance. The "mechanics' over there always seem to be sitting on their acres while the meter ticks over at $US 70/80 per hour. What is written in the logs is fairytale stuff ie AD's signed off but not done. and unreported damage, often major
Many moons ago I remember a fellow who owned a v e r y n i c e M.20, kept it registered 'N Numbers' for cost and 'operational' reasons of the time, and every 3 months he had to fly 'out of AUS', so he used to fly it to Noumea for a weekend, every three months.... The man was a Hydro engineer specialising in irrigation appliances.
I know its the wrong country, but l brought in an rv6 from florida to england last year before the £ became equivalent to the zim$. It was an anxious time but having seen and flown the plane in florida , it was flown to lakeland and a reputable guy, for Us$ 2200 pulled the wings and back end off and loaded it in a container which l had arranged,then off it went to miami and left on a ship a week later.after ending up in belgium,it was finally delivered to my home airfield in the container on a truck with its own cranes at either end,which lowered the container and it only took 30 mins to unload. Not a thing had moved..but it took 7 months to put together again! but that is an experimental plane and l wouldnt like the hassle of a certified machine! V happy with the rv as well.
Alphawhiskeytango, my LAME has brought a dozen or so aircraft in from the US in the last couple of years and put them on the Australian register - C170, C172, C182, C182RG, C206, C210, Mooney, A36. Most came in containers - some were flown out.
I have test flown most of them for him.
Like most things, it seems reasonably straight forward and painless if you know what you are doing. PM me if you would like more details.