aircraft

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Keeping the Title Clear on Your Aircraft see more

    NAFA member, Amanda Applegate, Partner with Aerlex Law Group, discusses keeping your aircraft title clear.

    As an aircraft owner, it is important to make sure the title to your aircraft remains clear. Unlike some other countries, in the United States we have an owner based registry where liens can be filed on the aircraft by anyone.  Since a notice of a lien can be sent to the FAA Civil Aviation Registry (the “Registry”) without the knowledge of the aircraft owner, sometimes these filings create valid liens on the aircraft and other times a cloud on the title is created by these filings.  It is a good idea to have a title search of the Registry and, if applicable, the International Registry, done annually to make sure there are not any issues with the title of your aircraft. If this annual review is not done, then at the very least title searches for your Aircraft should be done when the decision is made to market the aircraft for sale.  By conducting the searches prior to finding a buyer for the aircraft, if it is discovered that there are encumbrances/liens which have attached to the aircraft or clouded the title, that have not been properly released, then such encumbrances/liens can be addressed early in the sales process.

    I recently worked on a transaction where at the time of the purchase the aircraft the owner had financed the aircraft. Subsequently the loan was paid off but the lien release was never filed with the Registry. Ten years later during the process to sell the aircraft, the lien was discovered. To further complicate matters, the lender was no longer in business. A simple title search run annually or even every other year could have caught this issue much sooner and made the time to research and resolve the lien easier and less costly. In another recent transaction the aircraft owner discovered that there were five liens on the aircraft because the management company for the aircraft failed to pay for maintenance that was performed on the aircraft prior to the management company going out of business. The owner of that aircraft did not know of the liens until the aircraft was under contract to be sold and the escrow company, as part of the sale process, performed the title searches on the Registry. Having to track down five lienholders in a short timeframe in order to avoid the sale from being delayed added unnecessary stress to the closing. 

    There are many great escrow companies, in Oklahoma City, where the Registry is located. The escrow companies will perform the searches on the Registry for a few hundred dollars. In order to perform the searches, the escrow agent simply needs to know the make, model and serial numbers of the airframe, engine(s) and propellers (if applicable).

    In addition to liens filed on the Registry, an international interest can also be registered on the airframe or engines of an aircraft of a certain size on the International Registry that exists as a result of the Cape Town Treaty, which the United States is a signatory. However, the International Registry is a two- party system and requires consent from the aircraft owner before the international interest is registered against the aircraft. As a result, it is less likely that an international interest will attach to the aircraft without the knowledge of the aircraft owner. However, when an aircraft loan is paid off, the aircraft owner should request post-closing International Registry searches evidencing the discharge of the international interest.

    In short, for a bit of annual work at a nominal cost, an aircraft owner should conduct annual searches at the Registry to ensure that the aircraft title remains clear of any unknown or unwarranted liens or encumbrances that have attached to the title or are clouding title of the aircraft. For various reasons, this will save the aircraft owner headaches in the future when the aircraft is sold.

    This article was originally published by Aerlex Law Group in Articles, BusinessAir Magazine, The Latest, on August 4, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Sounding Board: Five Minutes With Shawn Vick, Global Jet Capital Chairman, CEO see more

    NAFA member, Shawn Vick, Chairman and CEO of Global Jet Capital, discusses business aviation.

    Shawn Vick is the chairman and CEO of Global Jet Capital, which helps corporations and individuals with the leasing and financing of new and pre- owned business jets. Vick has held leadership positions at British Aerospace, Gulfstream Aerospace, Bombardier, Landmark Aviation and Hawker Beechcraft. He is also a partner and member of the investment committee for AE Industrial Partners, a private equity firm. And he is a private pilot.

    Q. At the National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition in October, Global Jet Capital had been having a banner year with an increase in the leasing and financing of business aircraft. Things changed suddenly with the COVID-19 pandemic. What is happening in the pre-owned market today?

    A. Leading up to March the pre-owned market–frankly the entire transaction market, new or pre-owned–was performing well when compared to the same period last year. Activity began to slow late in the first quarter as the virus took hold and demanded everyone’s attention. I think the beginning of this story is now well understood. Global reaction to the virus resulted in a fundamental shutdown of the world’s economies and business aviation was no different. As we sit here today, in the middle of May, flight activity is beginning to pick up–which is a very good sign. Transaction activity remains slow but has not ceased, and we feel there are a lot of owners and operators sitting tight right now waiting to see how this situation evolves. Despite the uncertainty, one thing is very clear–business aviation in the context of a global pandemic will be the most desired form of transportation as the world begins to get back to work.

    Q. What is your focus now?

    A. Since the beginning of this crisis, we’ve been primarily focused on the health and well-being of our employees. This began in February with the shutdown of our Hong Kong office and a full review of our disaster recovery plan, which includes a chapter on managing the business remotely. Since that time our Zurich, Danbury, [Connecticut]; Boca Raton, [Florida]; and Mexico City offices closed, and we have all been working remotely. While it’s been far from ideal, with the support of our video conferencing platform it’s been surprisingly efficient. We’ve also been using this “pause” in industry activity to focus attention on internal operating efficiency projects, including the transition to a new operating platform and commercial excellence initiatives. With respect to our current portfolio, we’ve naturally been paying very close attention and I’m happy to report the portfolio is performing very well. From a new business perspective, we entered 2020 with a very healthy backlog fueled by a new predelivery payment financing product we launched last year. As the crisis took hold, we managed to close several deals that were in late stages, and we are currently working with a number of clients on lease renewals and extensions. Moving forward, we are now beginning to explore reopening offices and getting our employees back to work in the safest way possible and in line with local government guidelines.

    Q. What do you see for business aviation in the near term?

    A. I think the answer to that question lies in the duration and severity of the financial disruption, and I’m not sure anyone has a crystal ball right now. But if the disruption is limited and we are heading in the right direction in the July/August time frame, with the economy beginning to rebound and the unemployment rate falling, I think that bodes well for our industry. These aircraft are as precious as they’ve ever been, particularly when one’s safety and security are a priority and you factor in social distancing. I think the bottom line is quite simple: If you can afford these assets, you’re going to keep these assets–and if you don’t have one and you can afford one, you’re likely going to acquire one.

    Q. What about aircraft values?

    A. I really think it’s too soon to say, but there is data we can look at for guidance, likely the most important of which comes from the OEM production environment. Most industry analysts are predicting a drop in new deliveries in the 30% range, meaning roughly 450 deliveries this year versus the original projections that were well above 700. And, it’s important to note, these are supply side forecasts at this stage–not demand side. As difficult as this is for the entire ecosystem, it may well act as a guardrail against significant devaluation. Also, we are not seeing a rash of distressed sales or a spike in new aircraft being listed for sale. In fact, these numbers have been coming down in recent weeks. Our sense is that owners and operators understand the value of these assets in this new context and are sitting tight as the situation unfolds.

    Q. How does this downturn compare to the recession of 2008 and 2009?

    A. It’s interesting that so much of the speculation is based on comparisons with 2008, when there is not much correlation. In 2008 the cause of the economic disruption was widespread failures in the banking systems that put the capital markets in a state of seizure. Right now, we’re dealing with the impact of a global pandemic. In comparison to 2008, government reaction and intervention has been swift and expansive. From an industry perspective, OEM production has been curtailed in a disciplined fashion to protect people–but the by-product is protection of backlogs and ultimately aircraft values. This is clearly a different environment.

    Q. What about the health of the business aircraft manufacturers?

    A. If you look at the impact of the Great Recession, several of the manufacturers got caught between a rock and a hard place with an almost instantaneous shutdown of market demand coupled with long supply chain agreements that were difficult to contractually modify. They really had no choice but to drive new product into a down market. Today, as a result of those lessons learned, the OEMs and the entire supply chain is far more agile. At this stage, this is a supply side problem resulting from shutdowns and furloughs across the entire ecosystem designed to stall the spread of the pandemic. From my perspective, everybody went into this situation together and everybody’s going to come out of it together.

    Q. What do you foresee as the split in demand from the North American and international markets?

    A. During the buildup leading to the Great Recession, the market shifted from being heavily dominated by the U.S. to a 60-40% international versus domestic split. Everyone thought that was going to be the new normal as the BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India and China] flourished. But as we now know, due to a variety of internal and external factors, with exception to China, the BRICs have not dominated the global economy as once predicted. The result, in term of business aircraft, is that over the past decade we’ve seen a dramatic shift back to U.S. dominance of this market. This dominance will likely ebb and flow to some extent over time, but there’s not a lot of data to support a major shift back to international dominance.

    Q. Are there any concerns on the international front?

    A. The sooner we can get through our current trade dispute with our largest trading partner and sit down at the table and have productive, meaningful and material discussions rather than throwing sticks and stones at each other and turning this pandemic into a political discussion, I think the better off we’ll all be. I also believe that will ease tensions, creating a more positive environment for the global cooperation that will be required to get the world’s economy working gain. I’m off my soapbox.

    Q. How has aircraft financing changed or not changed so far?

    A. Unlike the Great Recession, where the global banking system suffered from a near-complete lack of liquidity and the capital markets seized up, the banking system right now is in good shape. Liquidity is sound and capital is available. Despite this, lenders are being very cautious for the time being. This is completely in line with the overall industry “pause” that we are all experiencing. The aircraft financing industry will continue to monitor the overall economic environment and the health of the business jet market in order to better understand the impact this disruption is having on demand and, more importantly, aircraft values. Let’s face it: Finance and uncertainty do not coexist very well, and you could argue that we are currently at a point of maximum uncertainty. As the impact of the pandemic becomes clearer and key market indicators related to supply and demand settle into a new normal, the aircraft financing industry will follow suit.

    This article was originally published by Molly McMillin of Aviation Week on May 18, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Ain’t Nobody’s Business see more

    NAFA member, Edward Kammerer, with Greenberg Traurig, discusses aircraft ownership privacy and security.

    When asked why you use business aircraft, you likely would list “security” and privacy” among your top reasons. These legitimate and valid concerns include industrial security, personal security, a desire to keep trips and destinations confidential, and a good old fashioned sense of MYOB. 

    Many owners go to great lengths to keep the identity of their aircraft and their flying patterns hidden from view. However, despite owners’ best efforts, prying eyes easily can detect and track aircraft and identify their owners. Information available at the FAA Registry and other publicly available government filings, as well as aircraft information websites and services, make aircraft ownership information and destinations easy to obtain.  

    How Private and Secure is Your Aircraft?

    Many aircraft are owned in LLCs formed just for this purpose. While the names of such LLCs may intentionally obfuscate the identify of the aircraft’s “true owner,” public information regarding the ownership and management of such LLCs often point to a company or individual owner. Additionally, services such as JetNet and Amstat are very effective at revealing an aircraft’s “true ownership.” 

    Contrary to what many think, taking title to an aircraft in an “Owner Trust” does not protect the owner’s identity. The name of the beneficiary of an Owner Trust must be disclosed in the aircraft’s publicly available registration documents. The use of a so-called “Double Trust Structure” can be effective to shield an owner’s identity. A Double Trust uses an Owner Trust with a second trust as the beneficial owner of the Owner Trust. The name of the second trust is a matter of public record, but the name of true owner of the second trust is hidden. Even with a Double Trust, the identity of the true owner can be discovered if the owners are not vigilant. 

    Flight Tracking

    Anyone with an internet connection can track an aircraft simply by typing a tail number into aircraft tracking websites such as Flightaware.com or various other “plane spotter” websites. 

    The January 1 requirement that aircraft update their navigation tracking systems to ADS-B standards makes following aircraft movements an option for anyone with readily available and inexpensive equipment. Fortunately, the FAA and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) recently announced a program which will allow an owner to block public tracking of real-time positioning and identification information for ADS-B compliant aircraft.

    What Can You Do?

    While there are no fail-safe methods of keeping your aircraft’s ownership and movements secure, there are several precautionary measures which you can take to help preserve privacy and security.

    • Avoid the use of vanity tail numbers and identifying marks on your aircraft which may provide telltale clues to ownership.
    • Carefully monitor the identity of signatories to public documents. The identity of the “true owner” of an aircraft can be disclosed by cross-referencing the names of LLC documents to the “true owner” through websites such as LinkedIn. Documents filed at the FAA, such as tail number reservations and re-assignment, can help a determined investigator connect the dots between the true owner and the actual registrant.
    • Double Trust structures, if properly formed and vigilantly monitored, can help protect your identity. 
    • By making an Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (f/k/a as NBAA’s “BARR Program”) blocking request, owners and operators can opt out of having their aircraft information broadcast over the internet. 
    • Sign up for the NBAA/FAA Program which allows your ADS-B tracking data to be broadcast in a format which is not readily accessible to the public. 

    Modern technology makes keeping your aircraft’s identity and location private and secure more difficult than ever. However, by taking a few simple precautions, you can shield your identity and aircraft movements from your competition, the media, those with political motivations, and the curious general public. 

    This article was originally published by Business Aviation Advisor on January 1, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    The Closing: The Final Step to Completing the Aircraft Acquisition! see more

    NAFA member, Amanda Applegate, Partner, Aerlex Law Group, discusses steps to completing your aircraft purchase.

    At long last, you have found the aircraft that fits your needs, the pre-purchase inspection is complete and the discrepancies have been remedied. It is now time for the closing. What does this mean and what needs to be done? For many first-time aircraft buyers, they think the closing will be a long drawn out event. However, I tell all of my clients that the closing should be a non-event and if all of the work has been done in advance, the actual closing should take less than 10 minutes. Once the purchase agreement is executed, a closing checklist should be developed to track all of the deliverables needed through closing. Here is a list of the important items that need to be accomplished shortly before closing:
    1. Aircraft Positioning –
    The purchase agreement should identify the delivery location and who is required to pay the movement costs, if any. The closing cannot occur until the aircraft arrives at the delivery location and in the required delivery condition.
    2. Closing Documents –
    There is an actual filing window at the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) registry in Oklahoma City, OK. All of the closing documents should be pre-positioned with the escrow agent in Oklahoma City, as the escrow agent will be responsible for filing the applicable documents with the FAA. As the buyer, the required FAA closing documents are a registration application FAA Form 8050-1, a statement in support of registration if the purchasing entity is a limited liability company, lender documents if applicable, and a declaration of international operations if there is an upcoming international trip. As the seller, the required FAA closing documents are a bill of sale FAA Form 8050-2, as well as any lien releases if necessary. Additionally, the buyer and seller will each need an active transacting user entity account with the international registry in order to register the contract of sale at closing. Further, the purchase agreement more than likely requires other non-FAA closing documents, such as a delivery receipt and warranty bill of sale.
    3. Insurance –
    During the purchase process an insurance carrier should have been selected and a determination on the amount of coverage required. Shortly before closing, insurance should be bound and the buyer should receive and review the certificate of insurance. If the aircraft is financed or managed by a third party, these parties will have specific insurance requirements which need to be evidenced on separate insurance certificates.
    4. Maintenance Programs and subscriptions – 
    If the aircraft is enrolled in any maintenance programs or subscription services, the third party providers must be contacted to confirm the account is in good standing, paid in full and transferrable upon closing.
    5. Closing Statement –
    The escrow agent will prepare a final accounting statement based on the terms of the purchase agreement and information provided by the parties. The statement will usually include the purchase price and any other fees due under the purchase agreement or to third parties, such as brokers. Any movement costs or similar expenses should be calculated a few days prior to closing and agreed upon by the parties prior to the day of closing.
    6. Inspection Facility Invoice –
    Oddly this is an item that can often cause a delay in closing. The aircraft cannot depart the inspection facility for the delivery location until all invoices are paid. However, invoices can’t be paid until they are final. The invoices from the inspection facility are very detailed and often take a long time to get into final form. Once received they must be reviewed in detail since certain costs are buyer costs and other costs are seller costs as dictated by the purchase agreement.
    7. Tax plan – 
    The tax planning at the federal and state level for the acquisition should have been completed while the pre-purchase inspection was occurring. At closing, the tax plan should be implemented. 

    All of the items above can be accomplished in the days leading up to closing. If done properly the actual closing is a series of emails or a conference call with all parties lasting less than 10 minutes!

    This article was originally published by BusinessAir Magazine, The Latest, on November 19, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Why Use An Accredited Aircraft Appraiser? see more

    NAFA member, Louis Seno, ASA, Chairman Emeritus and Special Advisor to the Jet Support Services, Inc. Board of Directors, discusses why using an accredited aircraft appraiser is best.

    Keeping a finger on the pulse of your aircraft’s current valuation is crucial, both for tax and depreciation purposes, and when you seek to refinance or sell your aircraft. (Listen to “Regular Check-Ups,” Above & Beyond Podcast, June 2019.)

    The demand for reputable appraisers is increasing throughout the business aviation industry. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), banks and leasing companies, insurance underwriters, and on-demand charter operators all need knowledgeable appraisers they can trust. But what makes an individual qualified to become an appraiser?

    Due to the complex nature of the appraisal profession, education and experience are crucial. However, there are no legal requirements, nor license needed, so anyone can call him- or herself an aircraft appraiser, regardless of their knowledge, skills, experience, or abilities. In response, the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) established an aircraft-specific discipline and designation program, to help assure owners and financial institutions that the aircraft are accurately valued.

    An increased demand for aircraft valuation experts in the early 2000s mandated something more be done. And so a 2016 partnership was formed between ASA and the David B. O’Maley College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to establish a universally accepted industry standard. Together, they developed a series of four courses designed specifically for professional aircraft appraisers, enabling those so committed to achieve a new official accreditation.

    Successful completion of the courses provides participants with the necessary fundamental appraisal coursework to apply for professional accreditation through ASA, with a specialty in aircraft appraisal. The curriculum covers commercial, business, and general aviation aircraft, including fixed-wing and rotorcraft, and other aerospace assets, such as tugs and ground power units.

    ASA’s coursework and testing builds a solid foundation of aviation knowledge. A thorough peer evaluation of appraisal reports is then conducted before an individual can receive the Accredited Member (AM) credentials for two years of experience, or the Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) credentials for five years of experience. 

    Additionally, there is a 100-hour continuing education requirement to be completed during the five years after receiving ASA accreditation. Courses and advanced conferences are offered around the globe for ASA appraisers to learn more about current issues and prepare for future valuation challenges.

    “The accreditation process is detailed and meticulous,” said Johnnie White, ASA’s CEO. “We recognize that your turbine aircraft is a multimillion-dollar asset. To ensure its proper valuation, we set high standards on educating our designated members.”

    You can secure a qualified appraisal for your aircraft in one of two ways:

    • In a desktop valuation, the appraiser will go well beyond a simple pricing comparison by researching the current aircraft on the market, establishing the average days the aircraft model has been on the market, and evaluating any trending data. The appraiser also will assess the maintenance status, look for any major inspection expenses that could be coming due, and perform a cursory check of the logbooks and specifications for the aircraft without looking at the asset. This is the less costly option.
    • A physical, onsite appraisal will consist of all of the above, plus a hands-on inspection that includes a thorough examination of the aircraft, including engine and airframe maintenance logbooks. With this option, you will pay for the appraiser to travel to and from your aircraft, for the time spent on the physical inspection of the aircraft and records, and for research of recent sales of comparable make/model aircraft to establish the asset’s current market value.

    When your aircraft needs an appraisal or reappraisal for insurance or refinancing purposes, or to prepare for its disposition, choose an ASA-accredited appraiser who has invested in their profession to become the most accomplished and skilled person to appraise your aircraft and to keep a pulse on its value for years to come. 

    This article was originally published by Business Aviation Advisor on November 1, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Is It Beneficial To Get a Loan Against My Home? see more

    NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, answers your questions about aircraft financing.

    Q: I own my home outright, so would it be more beneficial to get a loan against my home at a much lower rate, than to go through an aircraft finance company at a considerably higher rate?

    A: While HELOCs can potentially offer rates slightly lower than traditional aircraft financing, going this route ties up equity in your home. Equity that may be needed for inevitable home repairs. Financing through a traditional aircraft loan only uses the aircraft as collateral. This helps keep equity in your home and other assets. Most importantly, however, is that aircraft lenders understand the aircraft purchasing process. They have access to detailed valuation tools and will ensure that the appropriate documents are filed with the FAA. These steps would be entirely on the borrowers’ shoulders when using non-traditional financing. AOPA Aviation Finance’s staff help alleviate the stress of buying an aircraft. In the current rate market these benefits typically outweigh the minor differences one may see with a mortgage rate versus aircraft rates.

    This article was originally published by AOPA Finance on October 7, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Does The “As-Is” Language In An Aircraft Purchase Agreement Make A Difference? see more

    NAFA member, Greg Reigel, Partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP., discusses the "As-Is" Language in Aircraft Purchase Agreements.

    It isn’t uncommon in aircraft purchase agreements to see language stating the parties are agreeing that the aircraft is being purchased “as-is” or “as-is, where-is.” Oftentimes the agreement will go on to also say that the seller is not making, nor is the buyer relying upon, any representations or warranties regarding the condition of the aircraft. And it may also specifically state that the buyer is only relying upon its own investigation and evaluation of the aircraft. But what does this really mean?

    Well, from the seller’s perspective, the seller wants to sell the aircraft without having to worry that the buyer will claim at a later time that the aircraft has a problem for which the seller is responsible. So, the seller does not want to represent that the aircraft is in any particular condition (e.g. airworthy). When the deal closes, the aircraft is sold to the seller in its existing condition without any promises by the seller about that condition.

    Here is an example of how this works: If the first annual inspection of the aircraft after the sale reveals that the aircraft is not in compliance with an airworthiness directive (“AD”) that was applicable to the aircraft at the time of the sale, the buyer could claim that the aircraft was not airworthy at the time of the sale and demand that the seller pay the cost of complying with the AD. But if the purchase agreement has “as is” language, then the chances of the buyer being able to actually force the seller to pay are low.

    Not only does this “as-is” language protect the seller, but it also protects other parties involved in the sale transaction such as seller’s aircraft broker. A recent case provides a nice explanation of the legal basis for this result.

    Red River Aircraft Leasing, LLC v. Jetbrokers, Inc. involved the sale of a Socata TBM 700 where the aircraft owner/seller was represented by an aircraft broker. The buyer and seller entered into an aircraft purchase agreement that included not only “as-is, where-is” language, but it also provided that the buyer was accepting the aircraft solely based upon buyer’s own investigation of the aircraft.

    During the buyer’s pre-purchase inspection of the aircraft, the buyer discovered certain damage to the aircraft. However, the buyer accepted delivery of the aircraft in spite of the damage based upon alleged representations by the broker that the damage was repairable. After closing the buyer learned that certain parts were not repairable. Rather than sue the aircraft seller, presumably because the buyer recognized the legal impact of the “as-is” language in the purchase agreement with the seller, the buyer instead sued the aircraft broker alleging that the broker negligently misrepresented the aircraft.

    In order to succeed on a claim of negligent misrepresentation under Texas law (the law applicable to the transaction), the buyer was required to show (1) a representation made by the broker; (2) the representation conveyed false information to buyer; (3) the broker did not exercise reasonable care or competence in obtaining or communicating the information; and (4) the buyer suffers pecuniary loss by justifiably relying on the representation.

    In response to the buyer’s claim, the broker argued that the “as-is” language in the purchase agreement waived the buyer’s right to be able to prove that it justifiably relied upon any alleged representations by the broker. The buyer primarily argued that the purchase agreement language did not apply because the broker was not a party to the agreement. But the Court disagreed with the buyer.

    The Court found that

    the purchase agreement contains clear language evincing Red River’s intent to be bound by a pledge to rely solely on its own investigation. And, because it appears that the parties transacted at arm’s length and were of relatively equal bargaining power and sophistication, the court concludes that the language in the purchase agreement conclusively negates the reliance element of Red River’s negligent misrepresentation claim.

    So, even though the broker was not a party to the purchase agreement, the Court still held that the buyer was bound by the statements/obligations to which the buyer agreed in the purchase agreement, even with respect to third-parties. As a result, the Court granted the broker’s summary judgment motion and dismissed the buyer’s claims against it.

    Conclusion

    “As-is” language will continue to be common in aircraft purchase agreements. Aircraft sellers and those working with them will certainly want to include and enjoy the benefit from this language. Conversely, aircraft buyers need to be aware of the scope and impact of “as-is” disclaimer language in an aircraft purchase agreement. If a buyer is unhappy with the condition of the purchased aircraft, the presence of this language in the purchase agreement will significantly limit the buyer’s remedies and recourse.

    The information contained in this web-site is intended for the education and benefit of those visiting the Aero Legal Services site. The information should not be relied upon as advice to help you with your specific issue. Each case is unique and must be analyzed by an attorney licensed to practice in your area with respect to the particular facts and applicable current law before any advice can be given. Sending an e-mail to Aero Legal Services or Gregory J. Reigel does not create an attorney-client relationship. Advice will not be given by e-mail until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

    This article was originally published by Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, on July 1, 2018. 

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Used Aircraft Maintenance Analysis – December 2019 see more

    NAFA member, Tony Kioussis, President of Asset Insight, shares the December 2019 Used Aircraft Maintenance Analysis.  

    Average Ask Price for aircraft in Asset Insight’s tracked fleet decreased 0.7% in December, but value changes varied substantively based on model size. Which models were impacted the most? 

    During December, the number of inventory aircraft comprising Asset Insight’s tracked fleet of 96 fixed-wing models decreased 1.6% to 1,748 units.

    Asset quality improved 0.2% during the month, but worsened overall during Q4 by the same amount, and by 1.8% during the calendar year. Still, at 5.206, the ‘for sale’ fleet’s Quality Rating remained within the ‘Very Good’ range on Asset Insight’s scale of -2.5 to 10

    Maintenance Exposure (an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded maintenance expense) posted the best (lowest) figure for 2019 during December at $1.345m, equating to an improvement of 1% for the month, 0.9% for Q4, and 4.9% year-over-year.

    December’s Aircraft Value Trends

    Asset Insight’s tracked fleet closed out 2019 by losing an additional 0.7% of asset value in December and, even though pricing increased 0.8% during Q4, the average aircraft in our tracked fleet lost 3.1% of its value year-over-year. Group performance varied as follows:

      December 2019 Q4 2019 Since December 2018
    Large Jets -1.2% -1.6% -9.1%
    Medium Jets -3.0% 0.4% 11.0%
    Small Jets -2.9% -1.8% -5.7%
    Turboprops 2.0% 4.7% -2.2%

     

    December’s Fleet for Sale Trends

    The total number of used aircraft listed for sale within Asset Insight’s tracked fleet decreased 1.6% following six consecutive monthly increases, reducing inventory by 28 units during the December transaction frenzy while resulting in an increase in ‘for sale’ fleet of 9.9% during 2019 (157 units).

    All four groups ended the year with higher availability:

    • Large Jet inventory: Unchanged for the month, and up 8.7% year-over-year (30 units);
    • Medium Jet inventory: Decreased 1.7% (nine units) in December, but gained 9.8% (48 units) during 2019;
    • Small Jet Inventory: Receded an additional 2.8% (16 units) in December, but gained 15.4% (73 units) throughout the year; and
    • Turboprop inventory: Decreased 1% (three units) for the month while increasing 2.1% (six units) since December 2018.

    December’s Maintenance Exposure Trends

    Graphically, Maintenance Exposure (an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded maintenance expense) traveled a sawtooth journey in 2019. It improved 1% in December (to post the year’s best figure); 0.9% during Q4; and 4.9% for the calendar year. Individual results were as follows…

    • Large Jets: Posted their lowest (best) maintenance exposure of 2019 during the month of December through a 2% decrease (improvement) for the month, along with a decrease of 3.6% during Q4, and a 15% year-over-year improvement;
    • Medium Jet: Exposure improved (decreased) 1.1% in December, but worsened 2.7% during Q4 and 6.9% since the start of 2019;
    • Small Jets: Suffered a couple of costly spikes during the year, but fell (improved) by 1.4% in December, 1.9% during Q4, and 3.5% for the year;
    • Turboprops: Maintenance exposure improved a bit during Q4, decreasing 4.2% (with 0.8% coming in December), but lost ground for the year by increasing (worsening) over 4.8% since last December.

    December’s ETP Ratio Trend

    The latest fleet mix increased (worsened) the average ETP Ratio slightly to 64.8%, from November’s 64.3%. While the year ranged from a low of 63.6% up to 70.9%, the tracked fleet posted the same figure in January 2019 as it did in December 2019.

    The ETP Ratio calculates an aircraft's Maintenance Exposure as it relates to the Ask Price. This is achieved by dividing an aircraft's Maintenance Exposure (the financial liability accrued with respect to future scheduled maintenance events) by the aircraft's Ask Price.

    As the ETP Ratio decreases, the asset's value increases (in relation to the aircraft's price). ‘Days on Market’ analysis has shown that when the ETP Ratio is greater than 40%, a listed aircraft’s Days on the Market (DoM) increase, in many cases by more than 30%.

    During Q4 2019, aircraft whose ETP Ratio was 40% or greater were listed for sale nearly 84% longer than assets with an ETP Ratio below 40% (215 versus 395 DoM). How did each group fare during December?

    • Turboprops recaptured the top (best) spot with the lowest ETP Ratio, 52.1% (compared to November’s 54.1% and December 2018’s 51.1%);
    • Large Jets moved down into second place with a Ratio of 55.1% (versus November’s 53.9% and December 2018’s 58.8%;
    • Small Jets captured third position by remaining unchanged for the month at 67.3%. But the group’s figure increased a bit from December 2018’s 66.4%;
    • Medium Jets took last place at 75.5% (compared to November’s 73.6% and December 2018’s 77.8%.

    Excluding models whose ETP Ratio was over 200% during one of the previous two months (considered outliers), following is a breakdown of the business jet and turboprop models that fared the best and worst during December 2019.

     

    Asset Insight - Most Improved Business Jets and Turboprops (December 2019)

     

    Most Improved Models

    Five of the ‘Most Improved’ models revealed a Maintenance Exposure decrease (improvement), while the King Air 300’s Exposure increased. Two aircraft – the Bombardier Global Express and Gulfstream GV – posted no price change, while the Cessna Citation II posted a price decrease of $4,596. The remaining three models experienced price increases as follows:

    • Hawker 1000A  $88,000
    • Beech King Air 300  $219,090
    • Bombardier Learjet 45XR $292,500

     

    Bombardier Global Express

    The Bombardier Global Express captured top spot on the ‘Most Improved’ list as a single sale, an aircraft’s withdrawal from inventory and two additions to the ‘for sale’ fleet lowered the group’s Maintenance Exposure by nearly $1.6m.

    The 14 listed aircraft represent 10.3% of the active fleet and, while that percentage may be a little high, many of those aircraft are enrolled on an engine Hourly Cost Maintenance Program (HCMP) that should bring the 55.1% ETP Ratio to below 40% once adjusted for HCMP coverage.

    Note: The Bombardier Global Express still has plenty of financial and operating life remaining, along with a strong following. For this reason, many current and potential owners are considering upgrading their asset utilizing the JANUS Modernization Program, a decision that could add substantial value to the aircraft while making it virtually indistinguishable from a new production unit, particularly with respect to passenger amenities. Some owners are also contemplating upgrading their avionics suite.

     

    Cessna Citation II

    The Cessna Citation II placed second on November’s ‘Most Improved’ list and earned the same position in December thanks to a Maintenance Exposure decrease approaching $97k (even though its Ask Price actually dropped in December).

    Two aircraft transacted in December, two were withdrawn from inventory, while two more entered the ‘for sale’ pool. The 93 units currently available represent 18.5% of an aging fleet, and the model’s near 94% ETP Ratio make this a potential ‘buy it to keep it’ asset for prospective owners.

     

    Hawker 1000A

    The Hawker 1000A moved from occupying the ‘Most Deteriorated’ position in November, to third best on the ‘Most Improved’ list in December thanks to a Maintenance Exposure decrease exceeding $30k and a respectable Ask Price increase by virtue of a single repriced inventory aircraft.

    The seller’s repriced unit perhaps notwithstanding, this model’s ETP Ratio suggests that the average buyer should count on incurring Maintenance Exposure equivalent to the price of the aircraft they’re purchasing, and that’s not the type of asset sought by most buyers, especially a model sporting a limited production run.

    Seller Advice: Consider any offer that comes your way. Another proposal may not come any time soon.

     

    Beechcraft King Air 300

    Two aircraft transacted in December, but three more entered inventory raising availability to 18 units, approximately 8% of the active fleet. The King Air 300 made this list primarily due to an Ask Price increase exceeding $219k that overrode a Maintenance Exposure increase exceeding $11k.

    With few such models enrolled on engine HCMP, the King Air 300’s 54.8% ETP Ratio might require some sellers to accept a lower price than they’d like. However, even an ETP Ratio slightly above 40% should not be a serious impediment to mutually beneficial transactions, in view of the model’s fan base.

     

    Bombardier Learjet 45XR

    Three sales and one lease were completed in December, but with four additions to inventory the number of units for sale remained at 18, representing 8.8% of the active fleet.

    The model’s ETP Ratio of 33.7% makes this aircraft readily marketable, especially if the asset’s engines are covered by HCMP. Whether the Ask Price increase can be supported remains to be seen.

     

    Gulfstream GV

    The final model on this month’s ‘Most Improved’ list experienced no average Ask Price change in December, but a single transaction and two additions to inventory lowered the average Maintenance Exposure by more than $658k.

    The 14 inventory units equate to 7.3% of the active fleet for sale. With an ETP Ratio of 31.5%, and with more than half of this fleet enrolled on engine HCMPs, sellers of HCMP-covered assets should experience less trouble securing an acceptable offer than the current 260 Days on Market would suggest.

    Asset Insight - Most Deteriorated Business Jets and Turboprops (December 2019)

     

    Most Deteriorated Models

    Five of the six models on December’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ list registered a Maintenance Exposure increase, while the Dassault Falcon 50 posted a decrease. The Bombardier Learjet 55C posted no Ask Price change; the Challenger 601-3R Ask Price rose by $50,000; and the remaining models registered the following decreases:

    • Dassault Falcon 50  -$185,909
    • Cessna Citation ISP  -$38,461
    • Dassault Falcon 900EX -$316,667
    • Bombardier Learjet 35A -$1,455

     

    Bombardier Learjet 55C

    December’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ model posted no transactions in December, and only two inventory aircraft remained after one of the ‘for sale’ units was withdrawn. The Learjet 55C’s Maintenance Exposure increase exceeded $189k that, along with no Ask Price change, earned the jet its position on this list.

    This Learjet’s problem is two-fold: First, it’s an aging asset with limited market following. Second, with an ETP Ratio approaching 109%, buyer offers are unlikely to be appealing for sellers.

     

    Dassault Falcon 50

    The second ‘Most Deteriorated’ asset to make this list registered two transactions in December, two aircraft were withdrawn from inventory, three were added to the ‘for sale’ fleet, and the 30-unit availability equated to 15.7% of the active fleet.

    The model earned its spot on this list through a Maintenance Exposure increase approaching $16k, along with an Ask Price decrease approaching $186k that combined to create an ETP Ratio approaching 126%.

    Considering the aircraft’s age, the only surprise is the model’s relatively short remarketing period of approximately six months, which speaks to the aircraft’s operating capabilities that continue to create followers.

     

    Bombardier Challenger 601-3R

    Those of you following these monthly reviews may recall that this aircraft led all models on November’s ‘Most Improved’ list. How quickly an asset’s fortune changes as it approaches financial obsolescence.

    One asset sold in December, but two more entered inventory and the six available units represented 9.8% of the active fleet. That statistic is not the problem. The 601-3R’s ETP Ratio of 125% (created by a Maintenance Exposure increase nearing $394k, and the fleet’s age) are this asset’s greatest challenges.

     

    Cessna Citation ISP

    As we closed out December, there were 53 Citation ISP units listed for sale (19.3% of the active fleet). With this level of competition, singling out their aircraft’s value is a serious challenge for sellers. Nevertheless, some were able to do so and four sold in December.

    Unfortunately, two other units entered the fleet, and the change in availability resulted in a Maintenance Exposure increase exceeding $17k, along with an Ask Price drop of more than $38k. The model’s ETP Ratio (which now exceeds 107%) makes this a buyer’s paradise, assuming they’re willing to risk becoming the aircraft’s final owner.

     

    Dassault Falcon 900EX

    This model earned its place on the ‘Most Deteriorated’ list for technical reasons. Its ETP Ratio of 34.9% should cause few challenges for sellers who understand their aircraft’s value relative to comparable assets listed for sale.

    Three aircraft transacted in December and one new asset joined the inventory. The seven available units equate to only 5.9% of the active fleet.

    The technical figures creating the model’s ETP Ratio deterioration were a Maintenance Exposure increase approaching $479k, along with an Ask Price decrease of nearly $317k (thanks to the latest entry to inventory). These aircraft continue to be financially and operationally viable assets.

     

    Bombardier Learjet 35A

    This is yet another example of a model nearing financial, and probably operational, obsolescence. And yet one aircraft sold during December (and another was withdrawn from inventory), leaving 43 units, or 10.1% of the active fleet, listed for sale.

    When a model offers this much selection to buyers, along with an ETP Ratio exceeding 181%, complements of a Maintenance Exposure increase nearing $46k and a nominal Ask Price decrease, sellers are at a severe disadvantage. The one thing buyers should ensure they consider is if they truly wish to own an asset of this age.

     

    ADS-B Equipage and Values

    The new year could result in some dramatic price decreases for older aircraft that have not met the January 2020 ADS-B equipage mandate. While we do not believe non-equipped turbine assets will be ‘worthless’, their values will be negatively impacted.

    For aging assets, especially those with little time left before their recommended engine overhaul point, Salvage Value is a very real possibility, although actual transaction figures will be the true determinant.

     

    The Seller’s Challenge

    It is important to understand that the ETP Ratio has more to do with buyer and seller dynamics than it does with either the asset’s accrued maintenance or its price. For any aircraft, maintenance can accrue only so far before work must be completed.

    But as an aircraft’s value decreases, there will come a point when the accrued maintenance figure equates to more than 40% of the aircraft’s ask price. When a prospective buyer adjusts their offer to address this accrued maintenance, the figure is all-too-often considered unacceptable to the seller and a deal is not reached.

    It is not until an aircraft undergoes some major maintenance that a seller is sufficiently motivated to accept a lower figure, or a buyer is willing to pay a higher price and the aircraft transacts, ultimately.

    A wise seller needs to consider the potential marketability impact early maintenance might have on their aircraft, as well as its enrollment on an Hourly Cost Maintenance Program where more than half of their model’s in-service fleet is enrolled on one.

    Sellers also need to carefully weigh any offer from a prospective buyer against the loss in value of their aircraft for sale as the asset spends more days on the market awaiting a better offer while simultaneously accruing a higher maintenance figure

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer on January 10, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    What Is The Typical Down Payment Percentage on a Jet? see more

    NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, answers your questions about jet down payments.

    Q: What is the typical down payment percentage on a jet? Possibly a CJ3+?

    A: How the aircraft is being used will be a primary factor in determining the required down payment. For Part 91 personal/business use lenders typically will finance up to 85% of the purchase price or aircraft value, whichever is less. Part 135 charter or other commercial usage generally requires larger down payments. 30% down is typical for this type of usage. How the loan is structured can also play a factor in the down payment. AOPA Aviation Finance can offer solutions such as interest only, asset based, or longer fixed term structures. Larger down payments are typically required for these types of loan structures. Please give us a call, we’d be happy to discuss your situation in further detail.

    This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on September 18, 2019.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    The Closing: The Final Step to Completing the Aircraft Acquisition! see more

    NAFA member, Amanda Applegate, Partner with Aerlex Law Group, shares what you need to know when it's time to close on your aircraft.

    At long last, you have found the aircraft that fits your needs, the pre-purchase inspection is complete and the discrepancies have been remedied. It is now time for the closing. What does this mean and what needs to be done? For many first-time aircraft buyers, they think the closing will be a long drawn out event. However, I tell all of my clients that the closing should be a non-event and if all of the work has been done in advance, the actual closing should take less than 10 minutes. Once the purchase agreement is executed, a closing checklist should be developed to track all of the deliverables needed through closing. Here is a list of the important items that need to be accomplished shortly before closing:

    1. Aircraft Positioning –
    The purchase agreement should identify the delivery location and who is required to pay the movement costs, if any. The closing cannot occur until the aircraft arrives at the delivery location and in the required delivery condition.

    2. Closing Documents –
    There is an actual filing window at the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) registry in Oklahoma City, OK. All of the closing documents should be pre-positioned with the escrow agent in Oklahoma City, as the escrow agent will be responsible for filing the applicable documents with the FAA. As the buyer, the required FAA closing documents are a registration application FAA Form 8050-1, a statement in support of registration if the purchasing entity is a limited liability company, lender documents if applicable, and a declaration of international operations if there is an upcoming international trip. As the seller, the required FAA closing documents are a bill of sale FAA Form 8050-2, as well as any lien releases if necessary. Additionally, the buyer and seller will each need an active transacting user entity account with the international registry in order to register the contract of sale at closing. Further, the purchase agreement more than likely requires other non-FAA closing documents, such as a delivery receipt and warranty bill of sale.

    3. Insurance –
    During the purchase process an insurance carrier should have been selected and a determination on the amount of coverage required. Shortly before closing, insurance should be bound and the buyer should receive and review the certificate of insurance. If the aircraft is financed or managed by a third party, these parties will have specific insurance requirements which need to be evidenced on separate insurance certificates.

    4. Maintenance Programs and subscriptions – 
    If the aircraft is enrolled in any maintenance programs or subscription services, the third party providers must be contacted to confirm the account is in good standing, paid in full and transferrable upon closing.

    5. Closing Statement –
    The escrow agent will prepare a final accounting statement based on the terms of the purchase agreement and information provided by the parties. The statement will usually include the purchase price and any other fees due under the purchase agreement or to third parties, such as brokers. Any movement costs or similar expenses should be calculated a few days prior to closing and agreed upon by the parties prior to the day of closing.

    6. Inspection Facility Invoice –
    Oddly this is an item that can often cause a delay in closing. The aircraft cannot depart the inspection facility for the delivery location until all invoices are paid. However, invoices can’t be paid until they are final. The invoices from the inspection facility are very detailed and often take a long time to get into final form. Once received they must be reviewed in detail since certain costs are buyer costs and other costs are seller costs as dictated by the purchase agreement.

    7. Tax plan – 
    The tax planning at the federal and state level for the acquisition should have been completed while the pre-purchase inspection was occurring. At closing, the tax plan should be implemented. 

    All of the items above can be accomplished in the days leading up to closing. If done properly the actual closing is a series of emails or a conference call with all parties lasting less than 10 minutes!

    This article was originally published by Aerlex.com on Nov. 19, 2019 in Articles, BusinessAir Magazine, The Latest.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Refurbish Your Jet With Maximum Appeal - Part 2 see more

    NAFA member, Gary Crichlow, Director of Aviation Finance with Arc & Co., discusses aircraft refurbishment investments.

    Any investment into private aircraft needs to be looked at from the point of view of slowing the aircraft’s inherent depreciation as much as possible and extracting maximum utility, rather than expecting a positive financial return. 

    The most effective way to slow value loss is to make sure the aircraft is desirable to the market so that it sells quickly when you decide that it’s time to upgrade or generate some cash. Previously we discussed the impact that a well-executed interior, in top condition, can have on a sale.

    Here, we consider the value of cabin refits from the perspectives of utility, history and transferability. Note: With our use of the term ‘value’, we encompass not only the actual return by way of an increased selling price (which tends to be the exception rather than the rule), but also we mean the impact on the time it takes to sell the aircraft, thereby minimizing the detrimental effects of depreciation and time on the market. 

    Refurbishing With Utility in Mind 

    The first consideration is, of course, to have an aircraft that does what you want it to do in terms of the cabin layout, amenities, entertainment, connectivity, privacy, etc. However, it’s also important to think about the end-buyer. How likely is it that your aircraft will be able to meet their needs as well? 

    The most value-enhancing upgrade options tend to be the ones that result in a demonstrable enhancement to utility. They will, for example: 

    • Enable the aircraft to fly longer distances;

    • Certify the aircraft to land at certain airports, in certain countries or on more efficient routings; 

    • Allow full in-flight connectivity for all users including streaming live; or 

    • Have different zones for privacy/rest/work for principals, entourage and crew. 

    According to Celia Sawyer, who runs her own interior architecture and design firm and provides private and commercial clients with bespoke, luxury interiors for private jets and helicopters, the things that clients typically look for can differ significantly. 

    “It is different with every client,” she notes. “I had a Middle Eastern client who wanted a lot of gold inside and also wanted the interior to be very opulent, with only the best Italian leathers, a good boudoir to sleep in and a large shower room.

    “Another client wanted no frills — just a contemporary, functional interior with good technology on board, more like a flying boardroom with a living area next to it that he could work from. So, it really is dependent on the client’s needs and their priorities.”

    And yet there is more than just catering for the principal’s needs at play when considering the upgrade and refurbishment options for a private jet. Just how much of a selling point are amenities appealing to the buyer’s family or entourage?

    These items might include private family suites on the much larger jets, catering facilities, showers, broadband allowing for the streaming of videos/gaming and additional baggage/stowage space.

    According to Sawyer, “They all want the highest level of technology. That’s something that is always requested, whatever the size of the aircraft.” Having other amenities on board are very important to some clients. “If they have a family they travel with, they need to have everything available,” Sawyer adds.

    “Of course, it will depend on the size of the aircraft as to whether they can have a shower, or what sort of catering facilities and how much additional baggage space is possible. 

    These design requirements will in turn be driven by what sort of trips they intend to make.” So, what are the top design trends that aircraft owners are choosing to help to maximize the appeal of their aircraft’s interior? “I am pleased that my clients are thinking of the environment,” Sawyer observes. “Many are requesting more fuel-efficient aircraft with lower emissions. New and upgraded engine and aerodynamic technology is key in this respect.

    In keeping with this ‘green’ trend, on the aesthetic side Sawyer’s clients are insisting on lighter-weight interior furnishings and fittings than they may have done previously, “but they’re still choosing materials and designs that deliver on comfort, quality and style.” 

    The Role of History in an Attractive Aircraft Refurb

    Ultimately, buyers prefer to purchase aircraft where the history of ownership, operation and maintenance is simple, well-documented and clear. 

    All the records – including the installation and certification of the interior, right down to the last detail – should be organized in such a way that a buyer can immediately see and take comfort that everything is in order. 

    According to Iain Houseman of Elit’Avia, “In an ideal world, all aircraft purchases would come with the correct documents, such as a comprehensive history of ownership and maintenance.” Interior installs from the factory are usually well documented, but problems can occur in service when an aircraft’s owner decides to change something and does it at their local facility for no other reason than that facility is the more convenient option.

    “I’ve seen a number of aircraft that had work done where the paperwork wasn’t in order,” Houseman reflects. “This has meant the aircraft couldn’t be moved on to a different registry because you cannot show the history of modifications.

    “That’s why it’s so important for the owner to have an approved operator with quality maintenance and care processes in place to ensure paperwork is properly kept.”

    Elaborating further on the owner who was unable to move their airplane to a different registry, Houseman adds, “When the owner wanted to put it on an EASA registration, he couldn’t because the EASA approval for the modifications was not complete. He had to put the aircraft on the Isle of Man registry (which accepts both FAA and EASA certifications) and wait a further six months for the EASA approvals to come through.

    “In another situation, a client decided to replace the carpet. It sounds easy, but the carpet was also attached to the seat bases. Burn certification paperwork is required, not only for the carpet, but also for the glue to attach it to the seat base and approval is needed from the seat manufacturer. 

    In total, it took eight weeks for a one-week install!” So, what are the lessons learned for interiors being installed on new aircraft? “You can usually pay the manufacturer to provide EASA certification alongside the FAA’s, because pretty much all the aircraft being built will come with FAA approval on the interior in the form of an STC,” Houseman explains.

    “There is usually an upcharge for EASA, but from a seller’s perspective, it could make sense to get this for resale purposes,” he suggests. “It also depends on the model: larger aircraft with an international market would more obviously benefit from more certification to help with resale.

    However, for smaller aircraft that are predominantly sold in the US, foreign certification may be a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must-have’. “Multiple certification can be important in older aircraft, too. If an aircraft has spent its entire life in the US and has had modifications done under FAA STCs that are not EASA-approved, then all of the STCs would need EASA approval to import the aircraft onto an EASA registry.

    It’s also important to make the distinction between private or commercial use, Houseman notes. 

    The requirements for commercial use vary between countries, so an aircraft that has EASA-only approved modifications could still go on the US registry for Part 91 private operations, but if it’s missing certain equipment mandated specifically by the FAA, it cannot do Part 135 commercial operations. 

    In Summary... 

    Upgrading and refurbishing an aircraft is a significant investment that can strongly enhance your experience whilst on board. But it’s vital, when planning for the investment, to have a realistic view of the value it creates and the other challenges that could arise.

    A well-executed cabin refit should meet your needs in terms of space, aesthetics, utility and connectivity, and have the added benefit of appealing to the broadest possible range of potential buyers when the time comes to move the aircraft on.

    As established at the start of this article, a well- executed cabin refit will not generally result in a positive financial return outside of a very narrow and oft-unpredictable set of market circumstances. 

    Doing your homework and enlisting competent expertise is key: an interior refit is a complex project that requires detailed planning and oversight, and strict adherence to a plethora of regulations. Delays and mistakes can be costly and time- consuming. You should keep potential future buyers for your aircraft in mind; not just in terms of aesthetics and technology, but also in terms of certification, with the aim being to ensure maximum transferability with minimum headache.

    Finally, a reminder that investing in a quality operator is crucial to make sure that paperwork is properly organized and maintained. 

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer on September 27, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    GAMA Publishes 2019 Third Quarter Aircraft Shipment and Billings Report see more

    NAFA member, GAMA, releases Third Quarter Aircraft Shipment and Billings Report.

    Washington, DC — The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today published a nine-month industry update with the release of its third quarter general aviation aircraft shipments and billings report. Aggregate business jet and piston airplane deliveries continued experiencing increases through the first nine months of 2019 compared to last year, whereas the number of turboprops and rotorcraft deliveries declined.

    "The first nine months of 2019 show positive results for business jets and piston airplanes,“ said GAMA President & CEO Pete Bunce. “Turboprops and rotorcraft, however, continued to encounter headwinds. Despite these mixed results, our manufacturers continue their investments in advanced factory machinery, design software, and associated processes that keep product development cycles robust and in-turn bring advances in fuel efficiency, capability, and safety to the global fleet."

    Business jet deliveries rose by 15.4% in the first nine months of 2019 from 447 in 2018 to 516 in 2019. Piston airplane deliveries also experienced double-digit growth of 12.3% from 781 units in 2018 to 877 in 2019. The number of turboprop deliveries declined from 395 to 349 airplanes.

    The number of rotorcraft delivered during the first nine months of 2019 was down compared to 2018. In the first nine months of the year, 434 turbine powered rotorcraft were delivered and 136 piston engine powered rotorcraft. The value of rotorcraft shipments was $2.2 billion compared to $2.7 billion, a 17.3% reduction.

    Click here to view the complete report, schedule of upcoming quarterly shipment press releases, and historical data.

     

    This press release was originally released by GAMA on November 15, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    The Aircraft Buyer’s Guide to Private Jet Financing see more

    NAFA member, H. Lee Rohde, III, founder, President and CEO of Essex Aviation Group, Inc., shares tips on private jet financing.

    Even for high-net-worth individuals, whether to purchase a private aircraft might rank as one of the most expensive — and, potentially, lifestyle-changing — decisions they’ll ever make. From upfront costs to the ongoing costs of maintenance, hangarage and direct operating costs, private aircraft ownership requires a significant capital investment but, for those who frequently fly for business or personal reasons, it provides unparalleled travel experiences.

    The fact of the matter is that the comfort, convenience, luxury and freedom that private aviation offers would be compelling to just about anyone and considered well worth the cost by those who can afford it — so let’s talk about the options to best structure it through private jet financing.

    Let’s Talk Costs

    Before a buyer kickstarts their search for a private aviation lender, they’ll first want to thoroughly consider the costs of purchasing a private jet. Conservative estimates place the cost of a brand-new private jet between $7 million and $75 million, while the most expensive private aircraft in the world — those of commercial size but modified for private use — cost well above that range.

    For those buyers hoping to minimize their capital investment in an aircraft, acquiring a pre-owned aircraft can offer many of the same benefits as a new model with a reduced capital cost. However, for the following new aircraft, current industry data included in the VREF Aircraft Value Reference Guide offers some perspective on pricing and just how expansive the private jet financing industry is.

     

    Aircraft Manufacturer Model & Retail Price in Millions
    Bombardier • Lear 75: $13.8m
    • Challenger 650: $32.4m
    • Global 5000: $50.4m
    • Global 6000: $62.3m
    • Global 7500: $72.8m
    Cessna • Citation M2: $5m
    • Citation CJ3+: $8.6m
    • Citation CJ4: $9.6m
    • Citation XLS+: $13.6m
    • Citation Latitude: $17.3m
    • Citation Sovereign 680+: $18.8m
    Embraer • Phenom 100 EV: $4.5m
    • Phenom 300: $9m
    • Legacy 450: $16.6m
    • Praetor 500: $17m
    • Praetor 600: $21m
    • Legacy 650E: $26m
    • Lineage: $50m
    Dassault • Falcon 2000S: $30m
    • Falcon 2000LXS: $35.1m
    • Falcon 900LX: $44.8m
    • Falcon 7X: $53.8m
    • Falcon 8X: $59.3m
    Gulfstream • G500: $46.5m
    • G600: $57.9m
    • G650: $69.5m
    Pilatus • PC-24: $9.5m

    Choosing the Right Lender

    The road to private aircraft ownership should begin with the decision to retain the services of an aviation consultant or a jet financing broker. It is the responsibility of an aviation consultant to understand the buyer’s needs and situation to direct them to an appropriate tax attorney and, ultimately viable lenders and financing structures. Once the consultant has completed these steps, the process of researching lenders, requesting and reviewing lender proposals and working with the client or the client’s team is fairly straightforward. A consultant’s primary contribution is to apply their knowledge and considerable network of industry connections to facilitate the financing solution that best serves the client’s unique needs and requirements.

    High-net-worth individuals often partner with aviation consultants and finance brokers through their private wealth advisors or in-house finance team in order to identify the best options available. Clients in different segments of the market who might not have the same level of in-house financing staff to support their needs can also benefit from assembling a team of third-party experts within the private aviation industry. Whether they’re working with an in-house finance team, a third-party private aviation consultant or an aircraft finance broker to evaluate lenders, buyers have three private jet financing options from which to choose:

    1. Traditional Banks: For most buyers, utilizing their current bank can be the most efficient choice for jet financing due to their existing relationship. The bank already has a complete portfolio of the buyer’s finances, which can make the loan process that much more efficient.
    2. Banks With Aircraft Finance Groups: In the event that a buyer’s current bank cannot provide jet financing, it may still be able to use its industry connections to put the buyer in touch with a different bank that has a dedicated aircraft finance group. These institutions specifically have a vested interest in private jet financing and already manage a large aircraft portfolio and would therefore be more inclined to offer private jet financing to a buyer without an existing relationship.
    3. Private Lending Groups: This type of lender is able to provide private jet financing by raising capital within equity markets to support their portfolio growth. Though private aircraft lenders are less common than their traditional banking counterparts, they are a viable option for buyers who, for whatever reason, wish to avoid securing a loan with their primary bank or a traditional bank. Buyers who choose to pursue this private jet financing option are still advised to work with a private aviation consultant and tax attorney to confirm the lender’s position in the market and whether it’s a suitable option for the buyer in question.

    Criteria for Private Jet Financing Evaluation

    It is, understandably, in a lender’s best interest to be highly discerning about who it grants private jet financing to and how much it lends. Therefore, similar to home mortgage lenders, private aircraft lenders have strict criteria for evaluating potential borrowers, as well as additional portfolio parameters based on the age and models of aircraft they’re able to finance.

    For buyers who want a better understanding of this criteria, look no further than the “5 Cs” of credit: character, capital, capacity, collateral and conditions.

    • Character refers to the borrower’s reputation and the stability of their credit.
    • Capital refers to the borrower’s net worth and the types of capital assets they currently own.
    • Capacity refers to the borrower’s ability to pay on the loan, as well as their current debt-to-income ratio.
    • Collateral refers to the assets that the borrower is able to pledge to secure the loan.
    • And, finally, conditions refer to how the borrower intends to use the aircraft, as well as external factors such as pending legislation that could affect the loan and the current state of the economy.

    Buyers should be aware that most lenders have specific loan covenants, and that their lender of choice might require periodic reviews of the aircraft’s market value and also organize third-party inspections to determine whether the aircraft is being kept in the proper condition.

    Alternatives to Private Jet Ownership

    For individuals who want to replicate the experience of owning their own aircraft without having to worry about securing private jet financing, there are multiple alternatives to outright ownership:

    • Private Jet Lease: The individual leases an aircraft from the owner for a specified period of time and assumes full operational control — similar to direct ownership — without transferring the aircraft title. Private jet leasing offers similar operational benefits, which can make it a viable option for buyers who are not able to take advantage of the tax benefits that direct ownership can provide. In some cases, however, private jet leasing agreements preclude the lessee from using the aircraft for third-party charter (FAR Part 135).
    • Fractional Aircraft Ownership: The individual invests in partial ownership by purchasing a share of a specific aircraft type and agrees to an annual amount of flight hours depending on their specific travel needs. Fractional ownership often comes with significant upfront acquisition and monthly operational costs, but fractional owners save on deadhead costs.
    • Private Jet Membership: The individual agrees to a fixed cost per hour at the start of the contract and is billed after each flight. Members are also expected to pay monthly management or annual membership fees.
    • Jet Card Program: The individual either agrees to a predetermined number of hours on a specific aircraft type or size category (dedicated service) or funds an established travel account and chooses the aircraft category on a trip-by-trip basis, after which the cost of trip is calculated and deducted from the account’s balance (debit card service).
    • Private Jet Charter: The individual charters — that is, rents — an aircraft for each specific trip they wish to take. Private jet chartering can be well-suited for individuals with relatively low annual travel requirements, but who fly to areas that cannot be easily reached by scheduled airline service.

    A Final Note

    Buyers interested in purchasing a private jet should assemble a team of professionals to assist them at every step of the process. From sorting out aircraft-specific tax considerationsto hiring an aircraft management company to handle day-to-day operations and support once the purchase is complete, buyers will want to have qualified and capable industry experts on their side — starting with a private aviation consultant.

    At Essex Aviation, we have a combined 70 years of aviation experience; in that time, we’ve had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the private aviation industry, as well as develop strong relationships with service providers and other vendors. We’re able to leverage this knowledge and our vast network of industry connections in order to ensure that our clients’ unique private aviation requirements are met with unbiased guidance and that they have a quality client experience, from start to finish.

    This article was originally published by Essex Aviation Group, Inc.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    How to Build a Business Aircraft Acquisition Plan see more

    NAFA member, David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, discusses the importance of developing a thorough aircraft acquisition plan.

    With a sense of urgency and a large sum of cash, an aircraft acquisition can be completed rather quickly. However, without a plan or the right team in place, these types of scrambles typically result in the wrong aircraft for the job, or just simply picking the wrong aircraft. To avoid the headache from an impulse purchase, you need to build a business aircraft acquisition plan.

    To begin, there are two fundamental reasons for acquiring new or different aircraft:

    1. The current aircraft can no longer perform the mission, or
    2. The current aircraft is no longer the most cost-effective solution.

    Changes in mission need to be quantified. As an example, one client in the Eastern US started flying shorter trips with fewer people. Their eight-passenger jet, with a 1,800nm range, was more than they needed.

    Instead, they found that a five-passenger airplane that’s more efficient on short trips might be the next aircraft for them.

    But how can you quantify what it is that you need and want? Economics are critical. The cost of an aircraft is more than the acquisition price alone. It encompasses the total costs needed to operate the aircraft and allow for a future residual value.

    As an example, a single aircraft that meets 98% of usage requirements may cost far more than an aircraft that meets 85% of your needs with a supplemental jet card, charter or fractional solution in place for the remaining 15%.

    What Should Your Acquisition Plan Include?

    It is important for you to understand what it costs to own and operate the aircraft – and this will all come into your acquisition plan. So, what should your acquisition plan include?

    An aircraft acquisition plan must (at a minimum):

    • Identify, quantify and differentiate your needs and wants;
    • Identify and rank the possible aircraft types by mission capability; and
    • Analyze all the costs involved with the aircraft.

    Your plan should be void of emotional issues and stay as far from subjective criteria as possible. To help in this respect, you will need someone who can ask the tough questions and assist with an unbiased analysis of the candidate aircraft.

    Consultants may offer the unbiased review that you initially need, and their feedback will need to cover both technical and financial aspects of the aircraft acquisition.

    Who Should be on Your Acquisition Team?

    As you proceed with the acquisition you need to add expertise across several fields to your team. Tax planning should begin well before the purchase, not after the closing, meaning that you will need to hire someone familiar with taxes as they apply to aviation.

    You will also need to consult a qualified aviation attorney to ensure that the contracts are appropriate and that the various regulatory issues are addressed. A document that looks good from a basic business perspective may not be legal in the eyes of the FAA or other aviation authority.

    Don't overlook the insurance broker, who will need to be kept informed as to when and how the aircraft is to be used. (For example, if the aircraft is to be placed on a management agreement, who and how are each of the parties to that agreement going to be covered?)

    You will also need an aircraft sales professional, who will ideally have an excellent understanding of the aircraft sales market — what the availability is; lead times for various models; who to contact about pre-buy inspections and appraisals; and how long it could take to dispose of your current aircraft.

    Moreover, the aircraft sales professional you hire will need all the qualities required to be an excellent facilitator, since their job will also be to make sure the deal closes and that all parties are happy.

    Additional Planning When Buying New…

    Moreover, if you are buying a new aircraft, specifying all the options, picking out paint, and choosing an interior may take a minimum of six months and may well require the services of additional advisors.

    In Summary…

    Think of your business aircraft acquisition as a “time-is-money” deal. That is, if you don’t have much time, you’ll probably spend even more money! If you are looking to close a deal by the end of this year, you need to be looking seriously right now, and investing in all of the right areas to ensure your acquisition plan results in the right aircraft, at the right cost, at the right time.

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer on October 25, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    A-OK When AOG see more

    NAFA member, Anthony Kioussis, President of Asset Insight, LLC, shares tips on how to get the best aircraft help when you're on the ground.

    When traveling to a special event, whether it’s the Super Bowl in Miami this February, the World Economic Forum in Davos or the Kentucky Derby next May, the 2021 U.S. Presidential Inauguration, or other sporting, political, or worldwide business conference, you’ll have company. At these events, an extraordinary number of business aircraft will be landing and then taking off within approximately the very same time as you, vying for hangar space and landing slots at the same airports proximate to the event venue.

    But you’re also not alone in that your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), as well as independent maintenance service providers, will be onsite to provide you with parts and technical support should your aircraft experience a maintenance event. What should you know before you travel, what services do the various maintenance providers offer at a high-traffic special event, and how can you best take advantage of their services?

    Many support organizations suggest that your head of maintenance and chief pilot contact them as part of trip planning. If your OEM or maintenance support provider offers a pay-per-hour program, consider taking advantage of it, for the highest level of customer service and support.

    Support is offered in several ways. For example:

    Bombardier

    Bombardier Business Aircraft’s dedicated Customer Response Team (CRT) Learjet 45 Parts Express aircraft and CRT mobile units are on location at events, manned by a team of technicians. They carry state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment supporting Learjet, Challenger, and Global aircraft, to supplement their Field Service Representatives to provide you with full service support. They can quickly bring in parts and additional technical personnel if required for unscheduled maintenance events.

    www.bombardier.com

    Constant Aviation

    Constant Aviation provides full service onsite AOG support at special events. Dedicated technicians provide maintenance, avionics, and structure services, and can be dispatched round-the-clock. With more than 2,838 years of combined experience, Constant Aviation’s AOG service technicians have supported turboprops and business jets at more than 5,700 events at more than 464 airports. Currently, Constant’s AOG mobile units span 21 cities nationwide, offering immediate response 24/7/365.

    www.constantaviation.com

    Dassault

    Dassault offers on-ground services to support Falcon Jet owners with its GO Teams staffed with AOG technicians, and often additional technicians onsite. More help is available at any of the 87 Falcon Authorized Service Centers, backed up by a dedicated Falcon 900 Airborne Support aircraft that can offer alternative lift to customers.

    www.dassaultfalcon.com

    Duncan Aviation

    Duncan Aviation has 184 avionics and engine technicians positioned throughout the U.S., ready to travel worldwide to support operators requiring assistance and service. Its avionics satellite shops provide service to operators at 27 shops, and work away locations and Engine Rapid Response Teams offer traveling engine technicians at 14 sites, ready to launch anywhere. Owners traveling in the U.S. are within 150 nautical miles of a Duncan Aviation AOG team.

    www.duncanaviation.aero/services/aog

    Embraer

    With almost 1,000 business jets in more than 60 countries, Embraer Executive Jets is prepared to assist its customers anywhere in the world, any time of the day, from any of its 58 authorized service centers. It offers an integrated comprehensive customer support plan for major global events, including broad logistic support and special procedures, and often field service representatives positioned at major events, backed by its 24/7 Contact Center.

    executive.embraer.com

    GE Aviation

    GE Aviation offers technical support and dedicated field service representatives for customers flying GE-powered Falcon, Challenger, and Global Jet aircraft. GE Aviation’s nineteen Authorized Service Centers offer comprehensive line maintenance, removals, and re-installations of engines and Line-Replaceable Units (LRUs) and engine spares for CF34-3 engines. GE Aviation offers service agreements through OnPoint, a long-term hourly cost maintenance program.

    www.geaviation.com/support

    Gulfstream

    Gulfstream Field and Airborne Support Teams (FAST) support the full range of Gulfstream business jets, and help ensure a swift, well-coordinated response to all AOG situations. More than 20 U.S.-based pilots and technicians work in around-the-clock shifts, and are equipped with two Gulfstream G150s as their primary aircraft. The FAST1 mobile service center tractor trailer is positioned at many major events, staffed by technicians covering avionics, mechanical, and interiors.

    www.gulfstream.com/customer-support

    Honeywell

    Honeywell has both Avionics and Mechanical Technical Support Engineers (TSE) standing by to support any AOG engine or avionics service requirements. Honeywell also maintains an additional stock of the most commonly used parts in anticipation of any possible orders for such events. Honeywell’s Aerospace Technical Support (ATS) group is available via its AOG call center 24 hours/7 days a week for remote troubleshooting, and its TSE can be dispatched for onsite support.

    aerospace.honeywell.com

    Pratt & Whitney

    Pratt & Whitney actively supports its more than 13,000 customers. At major events, they are onsite to meet customers, positioning Field Support Representatives (FSR) at strategic locations throughout the duration of the event, enabling them to provide onsite troubleshooting support services. With critical engine components on hand, Mobile Repair Teams, as well as rental engine support in-country, are on standby throughout the event.

    www.pw.utc.com/support

    Rolls-Royce

    Rolls-Royce actively supports owners of Gulfstream G350/450, G300/400, and G650, as well as Bombardier Global 5000/6000 and 5500/6500 aircraft. Its On-Wing Care (OWC) is a global in-field specialist maintenance support organization which has handled more than 6,000 field maintenance events and avoided more than 300 unplanned engine removals/shop visits since its inception in 2005. Rolls-Royce stations OWC technicians and a Regional Customer Manager onsite, supported by its 24/7 Operational Service Desk.

    www.rolls-royce.com

    Textron Aviation

    Textron Aviation’s 1CALL maintenance support group has a number of Textron Aviation’s 60 Mobile Service Units (MSUs) onsite at events to support Cessna Citation, Beechcraft King Air, and Hawker turbine business jet and turboprop aircraft owners. They are equipped to perform limited inspections, engine, tire and brake service, and more. Additionally, Textron’s Air Response Service has U.S.-based support aircraft available 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, to keep its owners and operators in the air.

    www.txtav.com/aog-support

    Your OEM and maintenance support providers want to be sure that your flights to and from special events are smooth and trouble-free, even if you should experience a maintenance issue. Communicate in advance about your flight plans, so they can help ensure that they have the right number of people and parts in the region and onsite, to support any potential issues and to keep you flying and on schedule.

    This article was originally published Business Aviation Advisor on November 1, 2019.