When it comes to corporate aviation, we all have a role to ensure that every aspect of this business remains as safe as possible. That said, from time to time there are unfortunate occurrences when an aircraft suffers some sort of physical damage. These misfortunate incidents can be rather minor and seem like nonevents, but beware, “damage history” can be a four-letter word when you decide to sell your aircraft. What might have seemed like a minor annoyance has just become part of the aircraft’s permanent record and may linger for years to come if not properly mitigated. The devil is in the details when it comes to aircraft damage and the true magnitude of these events may not become fully realized until you prepare to sell your aircraft or, worse yet, when you are in the process of a pre-purchase inspection.
What type of damage, who did the repair, and how was the aircraft repaired will all be of key importance.
Rest assured, having an aircraft with minor damage history is not the end of the world. However, your aircraft now has a story to tell. How you and your broker explain this story will help to reassure potential buyers that your aircraft is not some sort of scarlet lettered outlaw and minimize any value degradation. Having an aircraft with hangar rash or minor dings and dents is easily explained if the repairs were done properly, in accordance with the manufacture’s recommendation, and documented accordingly. Needless to say, if your mechanic or pilot breaks out any type of duct tape or ball-peen hammer you’re likely headed down the wrong path. Minor damage that is properly addressed should have limited impact on the aircraft’s value.
Unfortunately, there are times when aircraft damage takes on a more severe tone. Anytime an aircraft or aircraft engines structural integrity has been compromised the aircraft owner can expect some sort of monetary penalty. Not only does the aircraft owner bear the burden to repair the damage, but they also now own an aircraft that more than likely has less value than its non-damaged counterparts. The same rules above apply. In order to mitigate the loss, the repairs need to be accomplished by a reputable shop and in accordance with the manufacture’s recommendation. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to additional monetary penalty as well as an aircraft that will be more difficult to sell when that time comes.
Ultimately, selling an aircraft with damage history boils down to full disclosure. Being fully transparent that an aircraft has a mark on its history and allowing potential buyers to examine the details for themselves will help to avoid any unpleasant occurrences in the future. Furthermore, hiring a professional broker who can speak on the aircraft’s behalf will be of immeasurable value. If an aircraft owner finds themselves in the disadvantageous place of needing to sell an aircraft with damage history, they should employ the assistance of an expert to defend this unfortunate circumstance. Pardon the pun, but the damage has been done. Not hiring a professional to represent your aircraft with this delicate situation will likely be a step in the wrong direction, leading to even further monetary damage.
Those who know Ryan know his longtime passion for planes. As a matter of fact, Ryan soloed his first aircraft before receiving his driver’s license at age 16. Today, he holds multiple jet type ratings (LRJET, CL604 and B737) and is responsible for aircraft sales, brokerage, acquisitions, market analysis, data research and special projects. Ryan puts client needs first, always respecting time and understanding the importance of investments. Outside the world of aviation, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. He also enjoys heading out to the golf course as often as possible.
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