Written by: Keith Bransky, ASA
Accredited Senior Appraiser; American Society of Appraisers
FAQ's updated December 20, 2023
How much does an Aircraft Appraisal cost?
The fee for an Aircraft Appraisal is based on the class and type of aircraft. Turbine aircraft are typically more complex and require more time to appraise than piston aircraft. Additional factors that affect the appraisal fee include the aircraft's age, the aircraft's total time, the existence of damage history, and any unique or extraordinary factors. Please contact us to discuss your appraisal needs and to obtain a no-obligation quote.
How long does it take to perform an Aircraft Appraisal?
This varies according to a number of factors. In general, larger turbine aircraft require more time to examine and research. Additional factors include the condition of the maintenance records; the aircraft's age; and the total flight hours. As a general rule, the on-site physical examination of a turbine aircraft and its logbooks will require 6 to 10 hours to accomplish.
After the on-site aircraft examination has been completed, the appraiser will research the market and write the appraisal report. The finished Aircraft Appraisal report will be 30 to 50 pages in length and is typically ready for delivery within five business days after completion of the on-site aircraft examination. The finished Appraisal Report is delivered via email in PDF format.
Do you also appraise helicopters and piston aircraft?
Yes. We specialize in turbine fixed-wing aircraft appraisal, but our helicopter and piston aircraft clients receive the same care, expertise, and service. Although we will travel worldwide for an on-site turbine aircraft appraisal, it usually does not make sense to do so for a small piston aircraft as the travel expenses will cost more than the appraisal itself. In such cases, locating a well qualified appraiser who lives nearer to the subject aircraft is recommended. We can assist you in this search at no charge.
How do you set the value of an aircraft?
The appraiser does not set the value of an aircraft. The market sets the value. This is a simple but important concept. The professional appraiser combines a thorough understanding of the subject aircraft with a market study to develop a researched opinion of value.
What are your aircraft valuation data sources?
We locate and use actual sales data of comparable aircraft whenever possible. Actual sales data are not found in a price-guide or database. It requires confidential discussions with the parties to the actual comparable sales. We have the professional relationships with the aircraft dealers, aircraft brokers, and financial institutions that makes these confidential discussions possible. Some appraisers bypass this important, time-consuming step and go straight to the price-guides and databases. What does your appraiser do? Be sure to ask.
Ultimately, data sources are simply valuation tools and as such they are tools that can be used either correctly or incorrectly. Our decades of appraisal experience assures that these data sources will be correctly analyzed and utilized to develop an opinion that will withstand the scrutiny of any courtroom challenge or financial audit.
What about "price-guide" and "desktop" services?
Simply printing off a page from one of the "price-guide" services is neither an appraisal nor does it comply with USPAP. A Price Guide generates an average value based on a fleet-average aircraft with just a few small adjustments to correct from average condition. Furthermore, the data in the price-guides can lag the actual market by many months.
Aircraft are like fingerprints; no two are exactly the same. Even "sister ships" off the assembly line are unlike from the day that they leave the factory. Factors that can result in value differences between two "sister ship" aircraft include: avionics packages, interior & exterior condition, the type of use, quality of maintenance, total flight hours, total cycles, component time-life status, major inspection status, whether the engines are on a maintenance program (e.g. PBH, JSSI, ESP, MSP), corrosion issues, whether operated under FAR 91, 135, or 121, damage history, missing logbooks, and more. We factor in all of these important considerations.
Producing a desktop appraisal without ever having seen the subject aircraft requires an appraiser to assert many assumptions and disclaimers concerning the actual condition of the aircraft. An on-site appraisal eliminates the need for such assumptions and disclaimers as it requires the independent, impartial, and objective expert appraiser to personally examine the subject aircraft and its logbooks. The result is an appraisal that more accurately reflects the true condition and value of the subject aircraft.
How is Damage History dealt with?
It is commonly accepted that if there are two identical aircraft being offered for sale, except that one has a history of damage, the aircraft with damage will command a lower price. The "diminution in value" is the difference between these two prices. Diminution in value relates to market perception, not airworthiness.
Although aircraft damage is a serious matter, it must be approached in a logical and systematic manner when performing an aircraft appraisal. The amount of diminution in value resulting from damage depends on a number of factors that the appraiser must consider. These factors include: the type and extent of the damage; the method and quality of the repair; how long ago the damage occurred; the existence of prior damage; how the repair was recorded in the maintenance logbooks; and the sales market for the aircraft type that suffered the damage. Additionally, the marketplace is less accepting of damage history on certain classes of aircraft. For example, the stigma of damage is far greater to a business jet than it is to a single-engine Cessna trainer aircraft.
Read an article on aircraft damage written by Keith Bransky, ASA by clicking here.
What is USPAP?
USPAP stands for Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice. The United States Congress authorized the formation of USPAP in 1987 following the Savings and Loan Crisis. USPAP establishes accepted standards for all types of appraisals including Aircraft Appraisals. USPAP compliance gives the parties associated with a particular aircraft appraisal the confidence of knowing that the appraisal service performed meets the highest professional standards.
USPAP compliance is required by: most Federal, state, and local governmental agencies; the courts; and almost all financial institutions. Additionally, the IRS requires a USPAP compliant appraisal for donated aircraft.
Whenever you hire a professional, there is an underlying expectation that the work performed will satisfy the strictest of standards of that particular discipline. You expect this from your Certified Public Accountant (CPA), your attorney, and your physician. Now you should also expect it from your aircraft appraiser.
Download a brochure on USPAP by clicking here.
Why have I read the exact same stuff on other aircraft appraisal websites?
Three words: "cut and paste." Yes, I have also seen my appraisal writings out there on the internet. Certain other aircraft appraisal websites have taken my writings, changed a word or two, rearranged the paragraphs, and then passed it off as their own. I personally wrote every word you've read here and it has been that way since the original www.aircraftappraisal.com website was published in 1998. All material on this website is copyrighted.