How Do You Find the Value of Aircraft?


Quick Answer

To determine the approximate value of an aircraft, use the appraisal software offered by Aircraft Bluebook or vRef Aircraft Value Reference. If you are a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, you can get a free basic vRef appraisal. With the approximate value in mind, adjust the price of the aircraft depending on your local market, the aircraft's condition, upcoming maintenance, total and engine time, and avionics.

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Full Answer

While low-time aircraft are highly desirable and command higher prices, high total time affects newer aircraft more than older planes. Low engine time is also important. Every engine has an estimated time it can run before needing an overhaul. Someone who owns a plane with an engine that needs overhauling every 2,000 hours may have difficulty selling it if the engine already has 1,800 hours on it. The necessary time before overhaul is an average value that depends on the overall care and maintenance the engine receives, so there is no guarantee that the plane could run for another 200 hours before needing work.

Any additional modifications or options added to the aircraft can also increase value, as long as they have log book endorsements and Federal Aviation Administration paperwork to prove their legality. Some modifications may not increase value but increase the overall desirability of the plane.

Quality avionics could easily add five figures to the asking price of the aircraft. The Aircraft Blue Book uses a formula to calculate the value, while the Vref estimate uses a system to determine the actual worth of any upgrades. However, unusual avionic upgrades are worth an appraisal from a professional that can determine how the instrumentation affects the overall asking price.

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