Frequently Asked Questions About
DAMAGE HISTORY SEARCHES
Q – What are the three most important things to do when buying an aircraft?
Experienced aircraft owners always arrange for the following services:
- Title Search
- Damage History Search
- Pre-buy Mechanical Inspection
Q – Why is an aircraft damage history search needed?
Since a damage history may substantially decrease the value of an aircraft, some unscrupulous operators repair damaged aircraft without documenting
the repairs in the aircraft maintenance records. While damaged aircraft – which have been properly repaired – may suffer little or no decrease in utility, the marketplace places a premium on aircraft that have never
been damaged. So it is not uncommon that repairs are either not recorded in the aircraft maintenance records, or, the repairs may be camouflaged with a creatively worded entry such as “details on file under work
order number ....”
Obtaining the “337” forms also provides copies of any of these forms missing from the aircraft maintenance records.
This avoids expensive reconstruction of missing documents at the next annual inspection.
Q - What is a damage history search?
This is a check for accident and incident records relating to a particular aircraft and also provides copies of all FAA forms 337 (major repair or
Damage history checks are usually done in conjunction with a title search because a complete records check requires researching all prior
Q – Are Damage History Searches conclusive?
No more so that a pre-buy inspection by a mechanic. They’re just one clue that must be evaluated along with the aircraft condition, maintenance
logbook entries - or the lack of log entries.
Since accident reporting requirements are relatively narrow and are based upon personal injuries and safety of flight rather than damage to the
aircraft. The lack of a data record pertaining to a particular aircraft should not be relied upon as conclusive evidence that a certain aircraft has no damage history.
Major damage to an aircraft, such as a gear-up landing, may not be required to be reported. Nor would aircraft damage occurring on the ground,
without the intention of flight, be reported. Additionally, some otherwise reportable occurrences may have been concealed from investigators, or the aircraft may have been operated as a public aircraft by a
government subdivision not subject to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958.
Q – Why use the Air Data Research database? Aren’t there other services that can provide the same information?
Other sources may provide some information from accident/incident records, but no other source comes close to the volume of data provided by Air
Data Research. ADR’s database of nearly 500,000 records is the largest and most comprehensive database of the type, anywhere in the world.
ADR pioneered this service and has done tens of thousands of these searches. Nearly forty percent of the registration numbers we check show some
Q – Isn’t the same information available online?
Absolutely not!! The best known online database contains less than 50,000 records covering less than twenty years of data.
Q – Are there any secrets to doing a Damage History Search?
There are a couple of things that are often missed. Most accident reports either omit or misstate the aircraft serial number. So searches must be
conducted using the aircraft registration number rather than the serial number. And, because registration numbers are frequently changed and reassigned, it is imperative that all prior registration numbers also be
The ONLY way to positively determine all prior registration numbers assigned to an aircraft is by examination of the FAA aircraft file. Don’t be
deceived by services that claim to have a database of all prior registration numbers – they only cover a few years.
Q - Doesn’t this retrieve records on other aircraft that may have previously had one of these registration numbers?
Sure, all the time, but these false hits are easy to spot. Usually some basic information such as aircraft model will differ and make the false hits
Q - With all these errors, omissions and changed registration numbers, why bother with these searches?
The Aircraft BlueBook suggests deducting five to twenty-five percent from the value of an aircraft with a damage history even though the aircraft is
properly repaired. A number of our customers have reported that these database searches saved them from making a very expensive mistake. Is it worth taking a chance on such a large investment?
Q – Where can a Damage History Search be obtained?
These independent title companies have made a commitment to provide their customers with the best information available by making available damage
history searches from the ADR database.
Don’t be fooled by other sources claiming to provide Damage History Information – the Air Data Research DHS database is the world’s most complete
source and is available exclusively through these companies.
Air Data Research provides damage history information only to independent aircraft title companies who are responsible for providing the actual
damage history search and accompanying information. Air Data Research does not provide these services to the general public.