Aircraft Appraisal

Elliott Aviation’s aircraft appraiser, James Becker, is Accredited by the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) as Accredited Senior Appraisers to ensure the fairest price and evaluation of your aircraft. To contact him for an aircraft appraisal, call 515-360-8889, or email

Appraiser accreditation is based on appraisal education, experience, intensive written and verbal examinations, and submission of acceptable appraisal reports. ASA Accredited Senior Appraisers must have a four-year college degree, a minimum of five years of full-time appraisal experience must adhere to the ASA’s Principles of Appraisal Practice and Code of Ethics and to the nationally recognized standards of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). A 15-hour USPAP course and exam are also required. Each accredited appraiser must furnish professional and personal references and are subject to local background and credit investigations. Local ASA chapters also evaluate the practices and conduct personal interviews with all applicants. In addition to the initial accreditation, ASA accredited appraisers are required to participate in twenty hours per year of continuing education.

ASA-accredited appraisers are experts. The meticulous ASA accreditation process ensures that ASA-accredited appraisers are accurate, impartial, and credible. They are educated and experienced in their fields and are respected members of their communities. Most importantly, they deliver independent valuations that assure the property is appraised at its appropriate value.

One of ASA’s primary objectives is to ensure ethical practices and procedures on the part of its members. The society is diligent in its efforts to strengthen and uphold the Principles of Appraisal Practice and Code of Ethics (the code of conduct to which all members must subscribe) in order to protect the client.

Why Hire An Asa Accredited Appraiser?

  • ASA-accredited appraisers provide the best valuation expertise available on the market, and their appraisals provide unmatched credibility in all legal proceedings.
  • ASA members earn their accreditations only after completing a rigorous evaluation process that requires years of study, dedication, and commitment.
  • ASA is the oldest and only major appraisal organization representing all of the disciplines of appraisal specialists. The society originated in 1936 and was incorporated in 1952.
  • ASA, along with other leading appraisal societies, founded the Appraisal Foundation to set the generally accepted and recognized standards of professional appraisal practice in the United States. The Appraisal Foundation was recognized by Congress as the source of Appraisal Standards and Appraiser Qualifications.
  • ASA Accredited appraisers follow both the professional standards set forth by the Appraisal Foundation and ASA’s own stringent Code of Ethics and Principles of Appraisal Practice.

Questions to ask your appraiser

  • What is your general appraisal and educational background?
  • What specific experience do you have with the type of item I want to have appraised?
  • Are you a member of a professional appraisal society? Does that society teach, test, and accredit?
  • Do you hold a special designation issued by an appraisal society?
  • Is that designation based on successfully completing written examinations?
  • How long ago did you take the examinations?
  • What continuing education have you undertaken to keep up-to-date in the field?
  • Has the appraisal society you belong to adopted a mandatory reaccreditation program to ensure that your education and knowledge are current?
  • What do you charge for your services, and on what do you base your fee?
  • Are you required by your appraisal society to adhere to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)?

ASA Advantage

Why Choose An Asa Appraiser?

Selecting an ASA designated member ensures your appraisal needs will be met by the most qualified professionals in the appraisal profession.

ASA designated members are recognized authorities in their specializations. They have successfully completed the most comprehensive examinations in their field of practice, as recognized by their peers, attorneys, the IRS and other government bodies, insurance companies, and museums. ASA designated appraisers often publish and lecture in their area of specialization. The ASA sponsors educational courses in appraisal issues, both at official ASA programs and through ASA-University linked degree programs.

ASA requires all applicants to pass an ethics exam prior to acceptance as a Candidate Member, and ethical matters are a large part of the USPAP course. Professional ethics are strictly enforced by the American Society of Appraisers, and unethical or unprofessional practices will not be tolerated in a member.

All ASA members are required to re-certify every five years. Part of the process is to show that the member has participated and acquired approximately 45 Continuing Education Units in their area of expertise plus 45 CEUs in other areas of appraisal education, including USPAP. ASA International sponsors seminars, conferences, internet-based courses, and degree programs in conjunction with major universities. ASA members are committed to continued learning and leadership in their chosen field of expertise.

What is USPAP?

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are the generally accepted standards for professional appraisal practice in the United States. USPAP contains standards for all types of appraisal services including real property, personal property, business valuation, and mass appraisal. The purpose of USPAP is to promote and maintain a high level of public trust in appraisal practice by establishing requirements for appraisers. USPAP was originally written in 1986-1987 by an appraisal profession Ad Hoc Committee and was donated to the Foundation in 1987.

The Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) of 1989 cites USPAP as the standard to be enforced by state real estate appraiser regulatory agencies. USPAP compliance is also required by professional appraiser associations, client groups, and by dozens of federal, state and local agencies. USPAP is growing in acceptance throughout the world.

Many professional associations in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia have accepted USPAP as the standard of practice for their membership.

About the American Society of Appraisers

Founded in 1936, the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) is the oldest and only major organization exclusively dedicated to serving appraisal professionals. ASA’s membership includes appraisal specialists in all types of property – valuing businesses, machinery and equipment, real property, personal property, and gems and jewelry. To earn the ASA designation, members go through a rigorous testing, training, and evaluation process.

ASA is run by a Board of Governors made up of representatives from the disciplines and regions. In addition, ASA has two other affiliated organizations – our Educational Foundation and our Political Action Committee. ASA also has the ASA College of Fellows, which is comprised of Accredited Senior Appraisers who have been recognized by their peers and the College of Fellows for their contributions to ASA and the appraisal profession. For more information, visit

James Becker Curriculum Vitae


James Becker has been in the aviation industry for twenty years. Seventeen of those years have been in the capacity of valuing aircraft. He holds an F.A.A. Airframe & Power Plant Mechanic license and is a graduate of the Aviation Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers. James has an extensive knowledge of the aircraft market and has tracked and analyzed thousands of aircraft transactions. Under his Aircraft Specific designation with the American Society of Appraisers, James specializes in developing current and projected market values for used reciprocating engine aircraft and turbine-powered aircraft, including corporate, commuter, and private applications of airplanes and helicopters as well as all types of airline equipment. James is based in Elliott Aviation’s Des Moines Iowa facility.


Elliott Aviation – 1993 to Present

Accredited Senior Appraiser – Des Moines, IA (2011 to Present)
Provides accurate appraisals on corporate aircraft using the appropriate approach to value.

Aircraft Research Manager – Des Moines, IA (2004 to Present)
Analyzes target markets, evaluating individual aircraft, and finding suitable aircraft for resale. Identify and capitalize on market trends. Successfully negotiate optimal purchase prices with aircraft sellers and owners/brokers.

Key Achievements:

  • Appraised and valued over 1,000 corporate aircraft.
  • Personal involvement with over 200 corporate aircraft purchases.
  • Developed and maintained database of aircraft sales prices.
  • Maintained acute awareness of target market aircraft using market indicators.

Aircraft Researcher – Des Moines, IA (1996 to 2004)
Tracked the availability and history of hundreds of target market aircraft. Compiled specific and in-depth information on aircraft hours, equipment, and prices. Cultivated relationships with target market owners and pilots. Identified opportunities for the purchase, brokerage, and sale of aircraft. Coordinated and managed the pre-purchase inspection process. Valued aircraft for purchase.

Key Achievements:

  • Identified target market aircraft, including Beechcraft King Air, Beechjet, and Cessna Citations for purchase by leveraging extensive knowledge of the current markets to capitalize on viable opportunities.
  • Built an extensive network of aircraft professionals, including owners, pilots, and brokers that resulted in early first-hand knowledge of trade-in aircraft.
  • Closely tracked aircraft sales prices to ascertain the value of aircraft.
  • Accurately determine aircraft value by applying an understanding of current market pricing, availability, and trends.

Airframe & Power Plant Technician – Omaha, NE (1993 to 1996)
Inspected and repaired corporate aircraft in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance program Conducted logbook, Service Bulletin, and Airworthiness Directive research.

Key Achievements:

  • Maintained and inspected a wide array of corporate jets and turboprops, including Citation, Hawker, Learjet, Beechjet, and King Air product lines.
  • Performed maintenance with accuracy and a strong emphasis on safety.

Education/ Ratings/ Certifications

Accredited Senior Appraiser

– Machinery and Technical Specialties (Aircraft), 2011
Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), 2010
American Society of Appraisers, Reston, VA

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
– Major: Business Management, 1995
University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE

Bachelor of General Studies
– Major: Aviation Administration, 1994
University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE

FAA Airframe & Power Plant License
Westwood College of Aviation Technology (Colorado Aero Tech), Broomfield, CO


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.