September 10, 2014 | bevel wise
This article is the second of several in our series dedicated to providing tips and insight on commonly discussed items within aviation. To provide professional insight, we’re bringing in experts from around the industry to provide not only their thoughts but their experiences and stories on how they overcome common obstacles. We encourage you to get involved and if you have a topic idea, don’t hesitate find us on Facebook, Twitter, or even shoot us an email. We’d love to hear from you!
In part one of our series on Selling Your Aircraft, we laid out several tips for how you can prepare your aircraft before even listing it for sale. But what happens when a prospective buyer indicates they’d like to meet and see the aircraft for the first time? Fortunately, Cessna’s Brett Palmiero has once again returned to provide us with some additional advice on how you can be ready for common curveballs many sellers face at this particular stage of the process. Let’s get started!
Prepare ahead of time
Although we spent a bit of time on this in part one, it goes without saying that before your meeting with the prospective buyer for the first time, you should take a moment to gather up all of your aircraft’s manuals, books, and associated materials to prepare them for presentation.
Brett highlights that not only should you have these materials ready, but you should spend time ensuring that “logbooks are clearly bookmarked to show repair and or modification entries as well as their supporting documentation for easy access”.
The reason? Since most prospective buyers will make these entries a priority during their review of your aircraft’s documentation; if they’re neatly laid out, it truly shows that you’re a motivated seller looking to reduce roadblocks on the way to ownership transfer.
Remember the “Golden Rule”
Now that you and your aircraft are ready, we can fast forward to your meeting. But before the meeting begins, be sure to put aside your temptation to act as a used car salesman. Understandably, you’ve been thinking about this moment for some time now and you just want to be sure that everything goes smoothly. But reading from a poorly written script can leave your efforts feeling cold and downright unwelcoming.
Instead, Brett advises that “you should always treat your prospective buyer(s) like a friend until proven otherwise. Doing so ensures that the feel of the meeting is more relaxed, thus allowing both parties to develop an open dialogue and even a relationship that can last throughout the entire buying process and beyond”.
Another point Brett brings up is the need to ensure you clearly and openly define any previous damages that may have occurred to the aircraft early in the process. This means you should also be ready to provide the proper documentation of what happened and exactly who repaired it so these items may be taken into consideration early in the process.
Remember your first time
Of course no matter who’s buying your aircraft, it’s understandable that your prospective buyer may seem rather scatterbrained bouncing between thoughts without much organization. But before you write off your new “friend”, you may want to take a moment to remember the first time you bought an aircraft.
It’s safe to say that no matter if it was a $10,000 single engine piston or even a multi-million dollar jet, your first time probably left you feeling a bit overwhelmed. And while those feelings were quickly replaced by the thrill of ownership, Brett indicates that when you’re faced with a prospective buyer who’s acting vague, “it’s important to remember that even normal people may appear erratic at times when making large purchase decisions”.
The key takeaway: Embrace the experience for what it is and maintain your poise and patience throughout the process. Unless the buyer is acting truly foolish, there’s no reason to turn away someone who may be a perfectly qualified buyer for your aircraft just because they’re nervous or new to the process.
Have alternative transportation
If you’ve carefully presented your aircraft and faithfully answered every question to this point, then it may take you off guard when your prospective buyer all of the sudden calls for an immediate pre-buy inspection and initiates the buying process. Assuming all goes well, your aircraft will be departing without you thus leaving you without a ride home.
Fortunately, you can prepare for this scenario by establishing a back up transportation plan before the meeting. Whether it be another aircraft or even a refundable airline ticket, be sure to take care of yourself after handing over the keys…
There you have it, four more tips that are sure to have your aircraft standing above the rest! We hope you’ve learned how to not only better position your aircraft in the marketplace, but we hope that you’re now better prepared to face some of the common curveballs many sellers face when selling their aircraft. A very special thanks to Cessna’s Brett Palmiero for providing us with his expert advice and working with us through these articles! If you’d like to reach Brett, he can be reached via email at
Disclaimer: This article is designed to serve as an educational offering and in no way should be used as an exclusive source for how to sell your aircraft. In addition, the featuring of an employee from any company other than Immaculate Flight does not necessitate an endorsement between either party. Instead, parties are mutually providing material for the benefit of the audience and are just really nice people.