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Bluebook Methodology = Accurate Values

We’d like to share some FAQs we receive here at the Aircraft Bluebook. If you have any questions about aircraft valuations, don’t hesitate to call the editorial staff at The Aircraft Bluebook-Price Digest® at 1-800-654-6776.

In the aircraft base average lines in the Bluebook we always see the “No Damage History” as a standard requirement, but if there is damage how does the Bluebook reflect this in terms of value?

The short answer is that depends. Diminution of value is a very subjective concept in the aviation market. Even though most experts confirm its role in negotiating the purchase or sale of an aircraft, there are no specific techniques or principles that can be applied in every case of diminution. This aircraft characteristic (damage) is one of a multitude used during the negotiating process and is very hard to isolate its effects because every aircraft has a different history and a different perception of worth. In transactions, the buyer will always be the final judge for the “value” of the aircraft and include the diminution factor in his or her evaluation.

With that said, it must be understood that when dealing with assessing the market value of an aircraft with a damage incident, a multitude of factors must be reviewed and analyzed in relationship to the market for a specific aircraft model. There is no set formula that can be accurately applied to determine diminution of value, if any, regarding damage. The only appropriate method to determine the market value involving the characteristic of damage on an aircraft is for a technically qualified, experienced appraiser to conduct an investigation of the aircraft and logs, review specific issues regarding the repairs, compile all of the elements of the damage event and subsequent maintenance history, and then apply the conclusions to market activity for the specific aircraft.

I have a fully restored J3 Cub, how is the Bluebook able to account for this when valuing my aircraft?

This can be done by adding percentage of value using the Bluebook’s PCA feature. In today’s rapidly changing market, owners and dealers of PCAs (Prime Condition Aircraft) should be rewarded with proper value for their Aircraft. The Aircraft Bluebook-Price Digest classifies PCA as an aircraft that rates a solid 7 or better, based on low engine hours; aircraft maintenance programs; low total time; paint and interior condition; avionics quality and quantity; low component hours and quality of maintenance history.

The Bluebook also has determined the average hour-usage-per-year for most aircraft (See Page A-2 in the print version for the average hours-per-year chart). With this information, we can assign an hour value for low or high time and better equate for PCAs for each category and vintage. A PCA unit can very well be a better buy at up to 25% or more than its average counterpart’s Bluebook value. It will save on future maintenance costs and down time and provide greater safety and market value. Some of the tangible factors that may influence PCA include: aircraft modification, equipment upgrade, performance and restoration.

Chris Reynolds
Aircraft Bluebook-Price Digest
9800 Metcalf Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66212
Light Aviation Edition October 2008
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