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What percentage of planes "for sale" are not really for sale, and vice versa?

What % of aircraft are for sale?

The Q is not what it may at first seem.

Let’s say within a country there are 10k planes, and 100 of them appear on all the various for-sale websites and in the dealer adverts in the printed magazines. That’s 1%.

But if you could advertise that you are looking for Type X, Specification Y, and are willing to pay €Z, how many more would come out of the woodwork?

I think 10x as many!

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I think so, too. Perhaps 10 times is even a moderate estimate. The difficult point is, what are your tolerances to X, Y, Z? Some people will want that exact type (Luscombe 8), perhaps even that exact sub-type (Luscombe 8F). Others would have much more general requirements (for example “2 seater, at least 30 kgs luggage with full fuel and xxx kgs crew, at least 120 kts cruise”) but might have additional requirements on fuel burn, and fuel types. All will have an upper price limit, but some might be ready to go over that for a really nice deal. But then, by how much?

It’s a free market, and that’s a good thing. But it isn’t always easy.

Last Edited by at 13 Jun 16:43
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

There are very few aircraft suitable for flying school use. Eg hours and years at half life or less. I know of two schools that are looking with no joy

What are they looking for and how much are they willing to pay?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Having just flown someone else’s aircraft, I expressed my thoughts to the owner on how nicely it flew. The owner then promptly asked if I would like to buy it.

“Oh. Is it for sale?”, I asked.
“Every aircraft is for sale”, he replied.

EGTT, The London FIR

Every aircraft is for sale if you want to offer a silly price, sure. Quite a few are advertised for sale at a silly price – presumably they are priced to not sell but to create the appearance that you are making an effort (divorce pending, etc).

I was wondering about how many people would sell but for whatever personal reason do not want to advertise it openly.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Every aircraft is for sale if you want to offer a silly price, sure

Every aircraft where the owner suspects/knows there is a big repair coming up is for sale at a reasonable price if approached by an innocent mug.

EGPE, United Kingdom

The truth as stated above is that 99.9% of aircraft are for sale at the right price but market expectation is for a price that reflects a buyers market.

The interesting part of the business is that the good very well maintained aircraft will change hands without ever being advertised, a commercial operation will know that the best game in town for economic pilot training is the C152 and that they can pick up an average C 152 for £18-19k, the problem is that an average C152 is likely to have a high time engine, bad paint, tatty interior. Obsolete wheels & brakes and a radio fit that is mostly inop and won’t be 8.33.

They will know that the aircraft will cost them as much as they paid for it just to get the engine overhauled and a few of the worst snags fixed and another £20k to get new paint, interior and radios, this is all before the SIDS issue is addressed.

However if you were to offer to the market a C152 that had no issues, a new engine, good radios, good paint and all the SIDS done at a realistic price of say £60k I doubt you would get any takers because of market expectation that has been driven by bankrupt stock following the economic recession. But this has to come to an end as the economic upturn will create business for these aircraft to do and it will become the choice between buying a well sorted C152 or 172 for the economic value or going deep into debt to buy a new DA40 so what is happening is that the good aircraft are changing hands for a price that reflects their economic value and ability to generate income, what these people won’t tell you is the price they paid simply because of the flak they will get because any flying club bar fly knows that a C152 is worth £18-19K because he has seen aircraft for that in the classified advertisements that appear month after month with the same aircraft.

Remember also there are some aircraft being sold within school/club/airfield environments that don’t make it onto any for sale page. Also there are a lot of just shares on offer. I was trying to find a reasonable price for my PA28 (1979, N reg, operated in the UK, 200 hours on engine since overhaul, brand new paint scheme, GNS430 and working AP – interior 7/10 – if anyone wants to give their opinion on the price), and while looking around mostly what I found was 1/* shares.

Another reason maybe some people don’t want to sell openly is because if they have a £800,000 machine or something, they don’t want people to know the value. In Britain, ££ is a slightly taboo subject, say compared to the US where the bigger your house, salary, plane, car(s) is a positive trait.

PiperArcher - I think the answer to pricing your aircraft depends not only on the hours, condition and fit of your aircraft, though obviously these are very important, but also on how motivated you are to sell. As with everything else, the price dictates how quickly it will sell – priced correctly, you could sell tomorrow. Get it wrong and you could end up with no interest at all.

  • Do you want to sell quickly?
  • Do you want to sell very quickly because you have already bought/found another aircraft?
  • Do you want to sell after a long time on the market and at a price way below your original asking price?
  • Are you hoping to sell at an over-the-odds price to someone who doesn’t know any better?
  • Do you actually want to sell it at all?
  • Do you not want to sell but want Mrs PiperArcher to see that you are trying to?
  • Are you getting divorced (hope not!), not actually selling but want a value that reduces the settlement you have to make?

I’m not suggesting for a moment that any of the above apply to you, but I have seen evidence of all of the above recently and the influence on the pricing is considerable.

EGTT, The London FIR
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