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aircraft valuation

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Nine Things to Know When Leasing an Aircraft see more

    NAFA member, George Kleros, Sr. Vice President, Strategic Event Management & Fleet Support at JSSI, shares information on aircraft leasing.

    When leasing an aircraft, what are your maintenance obligations during and at the end of the lease term to ensure that the returned aircraft maintains its value? 

    Focused on that residual value, the lessor will designate a qualified inspector or auditor to perform periodic records reviews and/or asset inspections, throughout the lease period. The intent is to verify the aircraft’s general condition and ensure it remains in compliance with lease requirements.

    After each check, the inspector will send the lessor a report with the graded condition of the aircraft and any specific findings. If anything can or might affect the residual value, you’ll be required to take corrective action to bring the aircraft into compliance.

    At term end, the lessor will conduct an “off-lease” inspection (similar to a pre-purchase inspection) at a factory-owned or authorized service center. All components and systems must be in full working order; or repaired if not. If the major components are near their life limit, you’d be responsible for covering these costs: either a pro-rated percentage based on time consumed, or 100% of the cost to overhaul if it’s close to the event.

    If the aircraft requires repairs for damage or corrosion, you are responsible for the repair cost. Once any repairs required by the lease are completed, any diminution in value due to damage history will be the lessor’s responsibility.

    So what can you do to preserve the value of the aircraft?

    Do …

    • Review the lease document fully to understand the operation, maintenance and return of the aircraft requirements. A good lease-return scenario always starts with a well-defined and documented set of return conditions. Ask questions for clarification prior to signing, to be sure you fully comprehend the broad scope of your obligations.
    • Keep the aircraft clean and polished to protect from corrosion and paint deterioration. Unprotected aircraft deteriorate faster than you might expect. The aircraft interior will be inspected for wear, cleanliness, and damage. The exterior will be checked for oil leaks, paint condition, and structural damage.
    • Store the records in a secure, dry, fireproof storage cabinet or safe. Damaged or missing records devalue an aircraft and will change residual value. The lessor will come out either annually or bi-annually to see the aircraft and review the records for accuracy and airworthiness.
    • Keep up with routine and scheduled maintenance tasks, even if the aircraft is not flying for extended periods of time.
    • Address interior and exterior wear items immediately. Waiting can compound the problem and cost more to correct.

    Don’t …

    • Assume the lease document allows for the aircraft to operate under different regulations or use than originally defined.  If the aircraft flies only for you under FAR Part 91 regulations, don’t move your aircraft into a for-hire Part 135 air-taxi arrangement without consulting the lessor; it may not be allowed.
    • Leave the aircraft outside. Store it in a hangar when not in use. Sun, humidity, and high temperatures deteriorate interiors and paint exterior, diminishing the residual value.
    • Let the aircraft sit inactive for long periods of time. Your aircraft still needs to be flown and systems exercised to keep systems lubricated and reduce risk for damage.
    • Ignore missing paint and erosion strips. This leads to corrosion and will be expensive to correct.

    The lessor always requires hull insurance at a specific dollar amount, and generally seeks high liability insurance limits.  If you acquire an hourly cost maintenance program (HCMP), it can help ensure that the aircraft meets return conditions. The lease should state clearly that the maintenance program was current at lease inception and that the HCMP will be transferred to the lessor. An HCMP is very desirable in a lease transaction. It helps preserve the aircraft’s residual value, and helps you avoid penalties and extra costs. 

    This JSSI article was originally published in Business Aviation Advisor November/December 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Appraising the Truth - Why Business Aviation Needs Accurate Aircraft Valuations and Appraisals see more

    NAFA member, Jason Zilberbrand, President of Vref, writes about why business aviation needs accurate aircraft valuations and appraisals. 

    Q: How did Vref get started down the road of providing prices and supporting data on aircraft?

    A:  The Vref story began roughly 25 years ago. The first Vref guide was published in January 1994. Vref was first published by Fletcher Aldredge, a former analyst at Aircraft Blue Book. He was unhappy with how information and data were being published, collected and updated so he started his own Guide. Fletcher created a platform that was ahead of its time and has the most trusted data in the industry. Vref is used by every bank, financial 
    institution, broker and aviation professional as one of the trusted resources they can depend on for accurate information on aircraft. By providing up to date real time values for helicopters, all fixed wing aircraft, and now engines and commercial narrow bodies; Vref is the predominant force in aircraft value data. 

    Q: So how did you and Ken Dufour, the CEO of Vref, get involved? 

    A: Ken and I were brought in to oversee the day-to-day business operations,  run  the  company  and  implement  new  services.  Ken and I have very different skill sets and backgrounds. I have spent the better part of my life in aviation, having come into the business when I  was  still in  college,  when  my  father  started  Jet  Support Services Inc. (JSSI), which we sold in 2008. For the last 15 years I ran an international aircraft dealership and brokerage. 
    My time at JSSI was invaluable in preparing me for what I now do at Vref, in that we were myopically focused on maintenance events and costs, and I was introduced to an amazingly diverse network of people in the MRO shops, the OEM community and in the aircraft financing and banking sectors.  Buying and selling aircraft further honed my skills, and by applying my maintenance and engine knowledge base to brokerage it created opportunities 
    that I might not have ever been able to identify. However, when the crash hit on 29 September 2008, a day I will remember forever since it was also the day my eldest daughter was born, we were holding some $320 million in aircraft inventory, in the form of 23 aircraft that we suddenly had no buyers for those were harsh times for many in the sector as deals dried up all over the place. We were able to reach fair solutions to those positions and moved on. However, what happened over the next few years as companies started shedding jobs was that large numbers of people decided to reinvent themselves as aircraft brokers. Simply by selling one aircraft a year they found they were doubling whatever they had been paid in their old jobs. What was once a career that you were lucky enough to get into or in most cases born into, was now nothing more then a cell phone, website and access to classifieds.  In that environment, being a broker no longer held out much interest for me. I was much more interested in the challenge of how one could go about gathering the data required to put a realistic and accurate value on particular aircraft. I was spending more and more of my time trying to determine where forecasts of values were going and appraising aircraft. It was apparent when I started doing more aircraft appraisals that Vref would be the perfect company for me to grow my career.  

    Q: I believe Ken came into it from an entirely different route?

    A: Absolutely. Ken is without question the foremost expert appraiser of aircraft in the US. He is a Accredited Senior Appraiser with the ASA and he has appeared as an expert witness in over fifty cases and has helped his side to win them all. I should mention that he has been mentoring me as far as becoming an expert witness is concerned, and I have now appeared as an expert witness in two cases, both of which we won. We now offer expert witness services as part of the Vref portfolio of services, be it via actual court appearances and testimony, or via deposition. 

    Q: Can you give us something of a flavour of the kinds of cases involving business aviation aircraft that call for expert witness testimony?

    A: A very common scenario is where you are acting either for the owner of an aircraft that has sustained damage, or for the insurance company or OEM. What you are trying to determine is what the value of the undamaged aircraft would have been at that point in time, and what its value is now that the damage has been sustained. It is a hugely complicated calculation, with a lot of moving parts. Ken is an absolute master at producing an evidence-based appraisal and his work has never been successfully challenged. That is part of the skill we bring to Vref.

    Click here to read the full article.

    This article was originally published in Business Aviation Magazine, Summer 2018, p. 78. 

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Why an On-Site Jet Appraisal Is So Important - The Certified Appraisal versus a Desktop Valuation see more

    NAFA member, Jeremy Cox, Vice President of JetBrokers, discusses the importance of on-site jet appraisals and certified appraisals versus desktop valuations.

    There are real dangers in cutting corners on an aircraft appraisal.  Jeremy Cox draws on some of his real-life appraisal experiences to highlight the value of getting the job done properly.

    There are multiple reasons why an aircraft owner might need to know what his aircraft is worth on a specific date, including:  Making the decision to sell; wishing to put the aircraft up as collateral against a loan; divorce settlement; an estate sale; tax settlement; insurance claim; or charitable donation.

    Except for the situation of making a ‘sales decision’, all the other events listed require that the selected appraiser provide the owner with a certified appraisal instead of merely a market valuation.

    The Essence of a Certified Appraisal

    When an aircraft is being donated, a certified appraisal submitted to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must meet specific requirements for it to be accepted. IRS Publication No. 561 states:

    “The weight given an appraisal depends on the completeness of the report, the qualifications of the appraiser, and the appraiser’s demonstrated knowledge of the donated property. An appraisal must give all the facts on which to base an intelligent judgement of the value of the property.

    “The appraisal will not be given much weight if:

    • All the factors that apply are not considered;
    • The opinion is not supported with facts, such as purchase price and comparable sales; or
    • The opinion is not consistent with known facts.

    “The appraiser’s opinion is never more valid than the facts on which it is based; without these facts, it is simply a guess.  “The opinion of a person claiming to be an expert is not binding on the Internal Revenue Service.”

    To prove ‘demonstrated knowledge’ of the aircraft that is the subject of the appraisal, the appraiser must physically see and evaluate the aircraft and all its logbooks, on-site and in person. In the unfortunate instance where the subject aircraft will be written-off by an insurance company due to the total-loss of the aircraft, it is still required that all logbooks are reviewed before an appraisal report can be written.

    The National Aircraft Appraisers Association (NAAA) asserts that “The walk around examination, and inventory of the aircraft, followed by the thorough study of the logbooks, and records, contribute approximately 85-90% of the data in our written report. The other 10-15% of our work is outside research.”

    A sales specification that has updated hours, landings and equipment hand scrawled on it, along with a handful of images, does not come close to being a suitable substitute for an on-site inspection. It is impossible to apply a rating to the condition of the paint and interior by only examining an on- screen, or printed image, in-place of seeing the actual aircraft in person.

    Why Have an Inspection?

    Rarely will a sales specification ever mention the existence of any damage history, or accurately assess current maintenance and inspection status. The only sure way to determine the overall condition of an aircraft, and ultimately its value, is by inspection. The logbooks are a critical part of the determination process.

    An excellent example of why an on-site inspection and log book audit is so vital to accurately report on an aircraft happened in an audit of a Dassault Falcon 900B I was involved with recently. The Falcon 900B was in the late stages of a work scope at a major MRO, and I was provided with a sales specification that was produced by an aircraft broker who had sold this aircraft a little over a year before the date of my audit.

    I also downloaded a CAMP Status Report after being granted ‘read-only’ access through my CAMP-Online account. If I had utilized this supplied specification and CAMP Report instead of creating my own, I would have been very wrong on multiple equipment and inspection status issues.

    For example, Collins TDR-94 Transponders had reportedly been installed, when in reality Honeywell MST-67 Transponders were the actual units onboard (installed over 10 years before). Furthermore, the ‘C Check’ date reported was later than the actual sign-off and release for return to service (another potentially very costly error). And while doing the audit, I even found two engine logbooks among the archives that did not belong to the subject aircraft...and never did at any time in its history...

    This was not an isolated incident. Other examples over the years have included:

    • A Learjet ‘wide’ cargo door (reported) versus the narrower executive door (actual);
    • Citation CJ2 ‘3-tube EFIS’ (reported) versus ‘2- tube’ (actual);
    • Falcon 20-5 thrust reversers (reported) versus ‘none’ (actual);
    • Gulfstream GV crew-rest compartment (reported) versus ‘none’ (actual);
    • Global Express with a ‘heads-up guidance system’ (reported) versus ‘provisions-only’, i.e. an empty box above the #1 pilots’ head (actual).

    I could go on, and on with tales of aircraft that were reported as ‘perfect’, only to find otherwise in the aircraft’s logs.

    The bottom-line: if the certified appraisal that you paid for and used to satisfy an official requirement was created without an on-site inspection and audit by an appraiser, even with disclaimers, it is questionable and probably unreliable.

    This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of AvBuyer Magazine, p. 137.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Deepening Your Understanding of an Aircraft's Value see more

    NAFA member Anthony Kioussis, with Asset Insight, LLC, wrote an article for this month’s AvBuyer Magazine on understanding aircraft value.

    Let’s assume you spot an aircraft of interest while perusing AvBuyer. After obtaining more details you determine it’s one you wish to examine closely. What are the metrics you

    need to consider if your plan is to own this asset for as many as five years?

    The aircraft’s flight hours and cycles would be important in determining your offer price, but what else should play a role in your valuation, or even your offer for this aircraft?

    1. Maintenance Requirements

    You should begin by examining the asset’s upcoming maintenance requirements. How many scheduled maintenance events will be due based on your planned utilization and how much will those events cost? Calculating such detail using a standardized measurement process would allow you to compare this aircraft’s maintenance to any other unit you might be considering.

    2. Maintenance Equity

    Next, how much Maintenance Equity does this aircraft have left? Maintenance Equity represents the embedded value of maintenance an aircraft has available to fly on. Every aircraft’s maximum available Maintenance Equity value is achieved the day it comes off the production line.

    As an aircraft is utilized, Maintenance Equity decreases. As scheduled maintenance is completed, Maintenance Equity increases. Accordingly, knowing how many dollars are available to fly on would help you determine an appropriate, and justifiable offer price.

    3. Maintenance Exposure

    Conversely, how much Maintenance Exposure is burdening this asset? Maintenance Exposure represents the aircraft’s financial liability accrued with respect to future scheduled maintenance events. Again, every aircraft’s lowest Maintenance Exposure value is achieved the day it comes off the production line.

    As the aircraft is utilized, Maintenance Expense is incurred. As scheduled maintenance is completed, Maintenance Exposure decreases. Knowing an aircraft’s Maintenance Exposure can also help you determine an appropriate offer price.

    4. ETP Ratio

    But perhaps more importantly, computing the aircraft’s Maintenance Exposure would allow you to determine the asset’s Maintenance Exposure to Ask Price Ratio (ETP Ratio). The ETP Ratio is a useful indicator of an aircraft’s marketability.

    ‘Days on Market’ analysis has proven that when an aircraft’s ETP Ratio is greater than 40%, a listed aircraft’s Days on Market increase (in many cases by more than 30%). By way of example, aircraft whose ETP Ratio exceeded 40% during Q2 2018 were listed ‘For Sale’ 72% longer (on average) than aircraft whose Ratio was below 40% (that’s 169 days versus 291 days on the market).

    Application to a Prospective Aircraft

    Computing an aircraft’s current and future ETP Ratio (the latter is based on its estimated Residual Value) can help you determine if this unit represents ‘good value’. Keeping in mind that an aircraft is a depreciating asset, an ETP Ratio exceeding 40% today is likely to result in an ETP Ratio substantially over 40% when you plan to replace it in five years’ time.

    So, what might appear to be a ‘low price’ today could actually make you this unit’s final owner (absent finding a buyer seeking a disposable aircraft five years hence).

    Of course, deriving these metrics on your own can be time-consuming and challenging to complete, but there are numerous entities that can help, some at a nominal fee. It’s well worth paying a little now to research the right aircraft to acquire, rather than spending a great deal more in the future, having purchased the wrong one. 

    Tony Kioussis has over 40 years of aviation industry experience within Business and General Aviation, major airlines, fixed-wing & rotary OEMs, technical services providers and financial services companies. Prior to spearheading the launch of Asset Insight, he served as VP, Strategic Marketing with GE Capital’s Corporate Aircraft Finance group. He contributes a monthly online blog to and market analysis for the Business Aviation Market Overview section of this publication.

    Contact him via

    To view the entire article, click here.

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer Magazine in August 2018.