Q. Why do I need to hire you when there are scores of other people who will tell me what my airplane is worth?
A. If you are just “wondering” what your aircraft is worth, by all means ask one of the multitude of free sources out there. If you need to know the value of your aircraft for legal, financial, tax, or business purposes, then you will need to hire someone who will not only be able to deliver an accurate and fair appraisal, but will be able to back up the value with ample evidence. Most non-accredited appraisers use a proprietary software program to arrive at their appraised value. They enter the aircraft’s information into the computer program, and it spits out a “value”. They have no way to explain how or why that “value” was derived, let alone know if it is accurate.
Q. How long does an appraisal take?
A. It depends. The actual report usually takes between three and five business days, depending on the complexity of the aircraft. If a physical inspection of the aircraft is required, it will usually add two days for travel, and one to two days for inspection of the aircraft.
Q. What is USPAP, and why is it important?
A. USPAP, which stands for Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, is a set of ethic and procedural guidelines that govern all appraisal disciplines. USPAP was created with the purpose of promoting and preserving public trust in the appraisal profession. USPAP serves as a guide for appraisers, and clearly spells out what an appraiser may, and may not do in the appraisal process. This is beneficial to you because you know you are getting an appraisal that meets all ethical standards and guidelines. All members of the American Society of Appraisers are required to operate within USPAP guidelines, and all appraisals must be USPAP compliant.
Q. How do you determine the value of an aircraft?
A. Although there are three approaches to value, the most appropriate approach for an aircraft is usually the Sales Comparison Approach. This approach compares your aircraft to like models that have recently sold and other like models that are being currently marketed. Unlike real estate, an aircraft transaction is not public knowledge. An ideal appraiser will have a vast network of aircraft sales professionals who will share confidential transaction information with them for appraisal purposes. They will have spent many years, or even decades cultivating these relationships.
Q. I need the aircraft appraisal to come out to a certain value. What can you do to make sure the aircraft value is in keeping with my needs?
A. Actually nothing. The value is the value, regardless of what any associated party would like to see.
Q. Why isn’t an aircraft price guide sufficient for an aircraft appraisal?
A. For one thing, a value derived from a price guide isn’t an appraisal. The price guides are just that, a guide. If you want a “ballpark” idea of what your aircraft is worth, that may vary 10% to 15% from the true value, than a price guide valuation would be more than adequate.
Q. What about that aircraft appraisal organization who claims that if doesn’t say their name on the report, it isn’t an appraisal?
A. Actually, the definition of an appraisal is: “The act or process of developing an opinion of value”. Nobody can hold a proprietary right on that. The ASA accredited aircraft appraisers are the most expertly trained, and the most highly regarded in the world.
Q. Is a physical inspection of the aircraft necessary for an accurate appraisal?
A. Usually not. If the party requesting the appraisal is able to provide the appraiser with adequate information regarding aircraft equipment, condition, maintenance and inspection status, operational history etc. it is usually enough to provide an accurate valuation. It is beyond the scope of an appraisal to determine actual airworthiness of the aircraft anyway, so the appraiser will operate under the limiting assumption that the aircraft is either airworthy or un-airworthy.
Q. What are your qualifications as an aircraft appraiser?
A. I am an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers. I have an FAA Aircraft & Power Plant license, and worked for three years performing maintenance on corporate aircraft. I am the head of Aircraft Research at Elliott Aviation, where I have been in the aircraft acquisition business for 17 years. Since my primary role is tracking the small to large cabin jet and turboprop markets, while aiding in the purchase of aircraft for resale, I have used appraisal techniques on thousands of aircraft.
Q. What types of aircraft do you have experience with?
A. I have appraised aircraft from a King Air C-90B to a Gulfstream G-IVSP and just about everything in between.
Q. Can I hire you to inspect an aircraft that I am thinking about purchasing?
A. An aircraft appraisal is not a substitute for a pre-purchase inspection. Although an aircraft appraiser may have a maintenance background, they are not functioning as mechanic, and are not inspecting the aircraft for the level of airworthiness compliance necessary to sign off an inspection.