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AIRCRAFT BLUEBOOK Used Aircraft Market Off To Good Start In 2011

Have you ever been involved in an incident when you actually made the news?

I have. No, nothing in my life as the editor of Aircraft Bluebook – Price Digest has been particularly newsworthy. But in my previous life as a 25-year veteran in law enforcement with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, I sure can relate.

In some cases, my experiences during a particular incident and what I later read in the news about the same incident did not match. Not to knock any journalists for their reporting skills, I am making the point that it is hard to report thirdhand information.

Instead of reviewing market statistics to summarize business aircraft activity, I’m going to shoot from the hip, so to speak, and generalize my personal experiences with those I have been in direct contact with who were directly involved with an aircraft transaction.

Business has improved. The only downside to making the deal happen is that the values of yesterday in some aircraft markets are not making a comeback. Breaking it down, late-model, long-range large-cabins are competitive. I can say this because reported values are not skidding downhill. They are holding steady if not improving. Time and condition do impact value.

Looking at the mid-cabin class, sales are also rebounding, but pricing, not so much. Yesterday’s sale price is stronger than today’s. It is what it is.

Light jets and VLJs tell the same story as the mid-cabin class. Turboprops, the muscle of short hops, heavy loads and limited runway environments, are showing a good steady trend of transactions. On the topic of values, what these turboprops are worth today will be a little less tomorrow. If I had to give it a name, I would call it standard depreciation.

That alibi will just about work anywhere. Purchasing piston-powered aircraft is like buying a car. Who in their right mind would buy a new car as an investment? Reported transactions seem to follow my rationalization. I could not find one person who bought a piston-powered aircraft for an investment but plenty who bought for business use and even a few — very few — who bought for personal recreation. No discoveries were noted with values improving, but again, there were plenty of sales.

I have been with the Bluebook for a dozen years now. Reporting on values would be difficult if not for the good support I get from all of you in the trenches making transactions happen. My sincere thanks and gratitude.

Carl Janssens, ASA
Aircraft Bluebook-Price Digest®
9800 Metcalf Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66212
Light Aviation Edition March 2011
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