We are AS newbies as well (SEP2015) and while we've owned a few other RVs, AS units are special. I study this forum site almost daily, joining our local WBCCI Airstream organization soon, buying printed Airstream books, studied the new-to-us AS owner's manual. Sometimes there is the learn by doing tactic as in setting up your unit in the driveway/yard and practice hooking up/camping/tearing down. Bottom line is that RVing is a learning experience almost every time you go out whether you've been doing it for 6 months or 30 years. I can tell you this, with our 1989 unit we are planning on replacing all of the appliances(at our pace vs. when they break at the worst time), have replaced the tires, greased the bearings, sealed the seams (Parbond sealant) and have a rot hole to fix, even though we checked the unit out before we bought it. Take a flashlight and icepick, then poke around the outside edges of the floor, inside the floor cabinets, under the windows, behind the bed(s), behind the front sofa/bed because your looking for soft floor spots and the icepick will stick into a soft floor or penetrate if its too rotted (how we found ours). You can check parts of your frame by looking under the rear bumper storage lid and checking the rear cross-member for serious rust issues and you can see parts of the inner side rails through 2-3 inch holes on either side of the storage area looking for rust and under the front A-frame section. If you see serious rust holes, missing framework, etc. then you might consider removing the aluminum belly-pan panels for further investigation. Finally, take it to a trusted
mechanic/RV tech who will check out the axles/brakes. Ours looked decent/safe and my tech told me that he would put new axles on my unit (which I planned on because they are 25+ years old), but that we should use it for a year and see if this trailer was going to work for us before I put a lot of money into it. We think that is the best advice for the near term... Good Luck!!!
James and Rebecca