Home 2024 Forums Opening Section Buying a Twin Cessna LOOKING FOR ADVICE on 1973 421B

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    Beginning of April I am going to visit a 1973 421B in Germany that belongs to a EU-OPS company. I would like to get some advice of what I must look at, check, review, ask…etc.. before summiting an offer… Broker has send me a link with actual maintenance status.. If anybody wants to take a look I will be very happy to post it on the forum…. ( but I do not want to abuse your time..)
    I am interested on this plane since I can not afford a turboprop. I have limited budget and CAN NOT get stacked with catch up maintenance. I hope all my querys make sense.
    I would appreciate a lot your comments!
    Thanks in advance



    I’m sure that everyone will chime in but here is my advice after having recently purchase a 1972 414. The MOST important thing you can do is pay for a pre-buy inspection from an experienced Mechanic that knows the 400 series. The prior owner of my plane and the broker that represented him were and are good people, but they did not know what they did not know….. An experienced 400 series mechanic will explore not only the engines and the mandatory Airwothiness directives, but they will inspect the plane front to back. Be prepared…. 41 year old planes have issues…. But most can be addressed.

    The plane I purchased was in general a good plane but had a number of issues that an experienced A&P may have missed had they not been expertly familiar with the 400 series. All of the issues that were uncovered in my case were repaired by the seller…. Now it’s my job to maintain the plane by the high standards I used in purchasing it. If you are in another country and can’t find a shop that has 15,000 or more hours working on 400 series Cessnas, offer here to pay a US experienced A & P to fly there. Don’t think just because you find a plane with low time engines that you have climbed the biggest hurdle…. Pressurization, AC, heat, structural members, avionics, gear rigging, fuel systems etc all need very detailed IN PERSON inspection. I don’t believe this can be handled remotely…. Although I suppose with Skype and a video camera you might get close.

    If I am saying something you already know, I apologize. Good luck with your search…. You will love the 421 when you find the right one.




    Thank you very much… You are right.. That is what I must do!. Could you adress me an A&P that could be ready for doing this job?.. Does anybody know someone in Germany?
    Sometimes we forget we can not avoid such obvious step on a 40 year old airplane…!
    Thank you indeed to remain me this basic step. Books and visual exterior inspection IS NOT ENOUGH although broker suggest he is selling the perfect plane……



    I also was looking at an aircraft that was represented as “perfect” with new engines, props, paint, and interior. The cost of a nice car later….. We are getting close. And this was with a great prebuy that let me prepare for the work that would need to be done. A good pre-buy is the best money you will ever spend on the aircraft.


    A 1973 421B is a great plane. Everyone’s advice is very good. One more thing to have checked and that is the starter adapters. They are a major concern and they are usually good for about 900 hrs. Are you keeping the plane in Europe?


    Hi Sandy,

    Yes it will be based in Spain… I am from Andorra, little country between Spain and France… Thanks I note to check starters adapters for 900hrs ok..
    Thanks a lot


    Should I ask to remove cowlings and other inspection doors to check at fuel lines, AC, pressu lines Wthat about to check wing AD inspection? Are they repetitive each year?
    I have seen others C421 in Spain and they afraid me about “Eddy currents” on doors..etc…


    Dear Manuel,
    The advice to have a good pre buy inspections is fundamental. You also need to ensure that the maintenance records are very good and there are no gaps. I do not know whether you will be keeping the aircraft on the Spanish register or on the US register, but for Europe (EASA), you need to be able to trace back the provenance of all parts and modifications etc. to the maintenance records. As to Supplementary Inspection Documents, bear in mind that many European countries require you to comply with Cessna’s very comprehensive inspection procedures, including Supplementary Inspection Documents, even if you fly the plane only privately. I do not know what Spain requires in this regard. If the aircraft has been on the German registry, it is highly likely that the SID’s have been complied with and the main wing lower spar cap, for example, has been reinforced. But dealing with this sort of question is where a pre buy inspection by a mechanic experienced in 421’s is essential. You will have to reasonably satisfy yourself that maintenance and inspections are up to date and that there is no significant corrosion that has not been repaired and treated. Given the high cost of repairs and the fact that 421’s are comparatively ‘cheap’ to buy, the repair of any major problems -such as significant corrosion in the airframe/wings – will quickly begin to exceed the hull value of the aircraft!
    I have said elsewhere on this forum that there are three or four maintenance organisation in the South of England experienced with the maintenance of 421’s which I could steer you towards, if you do not find anyone in Germany etc. to help you with the pre buy inspection. Good luck.
    Ps. If you do buy a 421, do make sure that you have comprehensive pilot training – including, I would suggest, time on a simulator. The 421, while a fine flying aircraft, is complex and can bite those who are not thoroughly familiar with its ways.


    I am just landed from Germany. I was in Berlin looking at the C421B. I have had an interview with all the staff at the maintenance facility and also with the seller-owner pilot. This airplane has only two owners since new. Same last owner since 2000. The airplane have had all maintenance works including FAA SID inspection on wings. The point being is that now needs to be on a CPCP program and it has not still began. The owner wants to sell me but has stopped CPCP inspections on wing leading edges waiting from my decision… I am worried about this. What would happen if corrosion is found?
    I have also done a short flight. It was surprising the low sound inside the airplane, amazing comfortable. We have got 145KIAS at 2000ft at 45% power burning 15,5 gal per side… Any suggestions how to proceed?
    Anyone knows the cost of removing and reinstalling boots?
    CPCP must be done annually?
    Thank you


    In all seriousness, the real question might be what would it cost to remove the boots, replace sections of the leading edge, then replace the boots. If the seller refuses to continue with the inspection to your satisfaction, I’d walk, or he’d have to seriously make it worth my while, like reduce the price by enough for new leading edges on wings and tail, new boots, and labor.

    After all, that’s what you might end up having to do if you buy the airplane and the worst becomes reality.

    quote marauz:

    Anyone knows the cost of removing and reinstalling boots?

    R&R for the wing boots (with new boots) should be $12 – $15K. It is unlikely that well maintained bladder-tanked twin Cessnas have corrosion between the boot and leading edge. I don’t think I would worry about corrosion under the boots unless you can see/feel areas of boot-substrate delamination.

    It sounds like a nice plane.



      As someone mentioned earlier, it might pay you to fly over Tony Saxton from TAS Aviation and have him give an unbiased opinion of the good and bad of the plane. It might cost a few thousand, but that would be cheap compared to just a few problems that surface later.

      I can see an enormous nightmare if you are caught unaware of the problems. The SIDS are not just on the wing spar, but include the whole plane including taking off the tail pieces, wings and all the interior which means removing the engines to check for canted bulkhead corrosion from leaking exhaust. Look beyond the paint and radios as they are cheap compared to other problems that may be lurking.


      Thanks to all for your explanations. I have asked for a quote to remove and reinstall boots.

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