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The Jet & Turboprop Aircraft Appraisal Specialists

Frequently Asked Questions About Aircraft Appraisals

Written by: Keith M. Bransky, ASA
Accredited Senior Appraiser; American Society of Appraisers

FAQ's updated September 15, 2019



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 80 pages in length and is ordinarily ready for delivery within 72 hours 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 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?

Please realize that an 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. As such, they are tools that can be used either correctly or incorrectly. Our decades of experience assures that these data sources will be correctly analyzed and utilized to produce an appraisal 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 make many assumptions and disclaimers concerning the actual condition of the aircraft. An on-site appraisal eliminates the need for such assumptions and disclaimers. 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 value of a particular 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 of value" is the difference between these two prices. Although damage history is always a serious matter, it must be approached in a logical manner when performing an aircraft appraisal.


The amount of damage diminution depends on many factors including: the type of aircraft; the extent of the damage; the method of repair; the quality of repair; how the repair was signed-off in the logbooks; and how long ago the damage occurred. 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.


A common method for dealing with damage history is to simply deduct a fixed percentage from the total aircraft value. However, when we perform an appraisal examination and discover damage history the loss of value is deducted only from the areas that are affected. Consider the following hypothetical situation. Imagine two aircraft are identical in every way except that one has brand-new engines, and other has engines that need to be overhauled. Now suppose that a fuel truck damages the left wing on each aircraft. Using the common fixed-percentage methodology, the aircraft with brand-new engines will suffer a much larger decrease in value. This does not make sense. Our method deducts value from the airframe only and not from the brand-new (and unaffected) engines. The fundamental difference between the two methods is important. Our conservative approach more accurately reflects the true loss of value. Read an article on aircraft damage history written by Keith M. 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 the accepted standards for all types of appraisals including Aircraft Appraisals.


A USPAP compliant appraisal report is defensible both in the courts and to the auditor. USPAP compliance also gives the parties to a subject aircraft the confidence of knowing that the appraisal service performed meets the highest professional standards.


Who requires USPAP compliance? It 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. USPAP standards are also accepted worldwide in South America, Europe, and Asia.


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


Hey! Why have I read this stuff on other aircraft appraisal websites?

Three words: "cut and paste." Yes, I've seen my writing out there also. Certain other aircraft appraisal websites change a word or two, rearrange the paragraphs, and then pass off my writings as their own. One online plagiarist even had the moxie to post an anecdote I had written years ago concerning an interesting Sabreliner 65 appraisal that I had performed. He told my story like it had happened to him! When I called him on it, the story immediately disappeared from his website (and about a year after that so did his appraisal business). 


I wrote every word you see here. It has been that way since the original www.aircraftappraisal.com website was published in 1998. All material on this website is copyrighted.