Blog - Page 24 of 26 - Mesinger Jet Sales

Responsiveness

I am writing you today from a hotel room in New Jersey as I prepare to go to the NBAA Regional Forum at the Teterboro Airport.  My father will be speaking today about the future of aircraft values.  It should be an exciting day.  NBAA has approximately 1,600 pre-show registrations sold setting a new record for the NBAA Regional Forum program!

A fast or a slow response to an inquiry, offer or a contract review can make or break a sale.  I am trying to buy an airplane for a client. The broker told us that his client was focused on selling.  He gave us an idea of the price it would take to buy the plane and our last offer was close.  And now, the seller has taken an extremely long time to reply to our offer. The seller’s delay is causing us concern that maybe he isn’t really interested in selling. As a result we have moved on to pursue other aircraft. Because of the seller’s delay I am concerned about what the rest of the sale would be like.  There are other times in a sales process that also require a seller’s attention and responsiveness including the contract negotiation, discrepancy approvals and closing preparation.  If the seller can’t respond in a timely manner to our offer, what can we expect going forward?   

I have also represented sellers over the years that have also been slow to respond. More often than not, it was not because they weren’t interested in selling, but rather other more pressing business took their focus at that very moment that I needed their attention.  The longer the delay the harder it was to keep a prospective buyer on the hook. Some of those transactions fell apart.

And, when I am trying to get information about an aircraft for sale and a broker takes days to respond to an inquiry, I question if it is a seller (and seller’s representative) that I want to engage my client with. 

Responsiveness to an inquiry, an offer or any other part of a sales process that requires attention is critical to a process.  If you’re a buyer or a seller, your goals are to negotiate and manage a transaction to protect your best interest.  If you are slow to respond to the other side when the process requires your attention you start to distract the players in the process.  Once distracted it is hard to regain confidence and keep a focus on the important business issues and the aircraft.  It is in everyone’s best interest to pay attention when attention is required and be responsive when needed.  Of course things happen.  We get tied up in meetings or with travel.  Family and personal issues come up.  Life happens.  And, everyone can understand a days delay here or there.  It is when several days go by with radio silence that it causes concern.  

Sellers need to know that if they are slow to respond to inquiries, offers and contract drafts your buyer will potentially get nervous. The same is true in the reverse.  Sellers become concerned when buyers don’t appear focused on the process too.  The lesson . . . the most successful transactions for buyers or sellers occur when everyone pays attention and is responsive with relatively quick action when necessary.  At the very least, if you get tied up or delayed and know you have people waiting to hear from you, keep them informed.  Managing expectations can help easily avoid any angst.

“MSP doesn’t allow us to boroscope the engines.”

I cannot tell you how many times in the course of a year I hear that statement from a maintenance facility; many times from the same facility and same person within a period of a couple of months about different aircraft.  That statement is not exactly true and should be completely understood by the seller and the buyer during a pre purchase inspection.  I have also heard that MSP will only allow a visual inspection of the aft part of the engine to identify any irregularities and 5 point runs to determine the overall health of the engine and that if there is a problem, even from FOD, then this should be sufficient to identify the problem. 

I can say from past experience that we have successfully accomplished those steps then complied with full boroscopes only to find internal issues with the engines that required disassembly.  To address this issue MSP has published many letters to facilities (read that as Authorized Service Centers) and operators to completely state their position.  What we do know and should all adhere to based on that information is as follows:

  • MSP should be notified by the maintenance facility and the operator prior to any work taking place
  • The facility should be an authorized service center or at the very least supported in writing by Honeywell
  • MSP does state that a performance evaluation is not required for transfer of the contract to the buyer
  • Per MSP should the buyer elect to go beyond that they recommend a visual inspection of the inlet and tail pipe areas (at buyers expense) only
  • Should an operator (or buyer) elect to expand that further they will be responsible for all related “test” cost.  These “tests” could include vibration surveys, 5-point performance runs, boroscope inspections, bearing cavity and accessory gearbox pressure checks, special SOAP samples and analysis and flight tests
  • MSP is not obligated to pay for any repairs as a result of an owner or buyer electing to perform the above inspections
  • Per MSP if a maintenance action is deemed necessary by the expanded inspections Honeywell will pay for said repairs under normal guidelines (excluding FOD) at a warranty level with a 5% handling fee on Honeywell parts only
  • Per MSP in order for the above statement to be valid they must be formally notified of the location and date of any such expanded inspection (as we have already touched on).  And, very important, they must be “given the opportunity to have a technical representative present during said inspection.” In the event the expanded inspections identify the need for engine repairs normally covered by MSP, Honeywell is “given the opportunity” to re-inspect the engine and direct the maintenance workscope to be followed

I can say from past experience that Honeywell and MSP want the customer to be happy with their experience and have a safe and operable engine.  They will do all they can to support that.  MSP understands that addressing a minor problem now means that we could be preventing what could lead to a more catastrophic event later on.  If FOD damage is found it can be identified by the maintenance facility and addressed by the seller’s insurance as it should rightly be.

Hopefully these thoughts will help take away some of the scariness of the dreaded per purchase engine or APU boroscope and prevent starting into things on the wrong foot.  I cannot reinforce enough  that you  need to “communicate!” with the facility and Honeywell MSP, follow the steps above and point them out to the facility if they tell you “MSP doesn’t allow us to boroscope the engines”.

Good history, good pedigree and good records!

I received an interesting phone call yesterday from a reporter with one of our big industry publications.  He called to ask about my thoughts on the most important aspects and value points to look for when buying a specific slightly older large body aircraft.  Of course, there are a lot of modifications that have been created and implemented over the years for this aircraft type.  Most of the aircraft in the fleet have had considerable refurbishment projects.  And many of them have been outfitted with newer fancy options like high speed data and direct tv.

The reporter and I spoke at length about the different mods and options.  But when he asked me what I thought had the greatest affect on current and future value my answers were the history, pedigree and records.  I think I surprised him.  Clearly having a certain modification or having an engine program or a specific option all affect value.  Good cosmetics vs. worn down cosmetics matter.  But, none matter as much to the current and future value and future operating costs as history, pedigree and the condition of the logbooks, especially for older aircraft.  There is an old lame expression that I think of often about putting lipstick on a pig.  Anyone can dress up an old aircraft with new cosmetics or modifications and make it look great and feel new.  But you can never turn back the clock or rebuilt the foundation if the aircraft has not been well taken care of throughout its life.

We are currently representing a few older aircraft including a Challenger 601-3A, a Falcon 900B and a Gulfstream IV.  All three have great histories and pedigree.  All three have impeccable log books.  They all have high service bulletin compliance and average to better than average cosmetics.  Some buyers have passed us up because they like the shiny looks of the new interiors or new paint on competitive offerings.  But none of the three aircraft in their respective markets can be beat when history and pedigree and logbooks are evaluated.  And, when put into service for a buyer, I assure you that the good history and pedigree of each of these three aircraft respectively will mean that the buyers will have lower go-forward operating and maintenance costs.  Don’t miss the right airplane for the wrong reasons.  When buying an aircraft, especially an older aircraft, buy the right foundation at the right price and then dress it up with new cosmetics or additional options if you need to.

Challenger 601-3A S/N 5037: http://www.jetsales.com/inventory/CL601-3A-sn5037.html

Falcon 900B S/N 42: http://www.jetsales.com/inventory/Falcon900B-SN-42.html

Gulfstream IV S/N 1165: http://www.jetsales.com/inventory/GulfstreamGIV-1165.html

Pre-Purchase Planning, Part 3

Cockpit

At some point in advance of the aircraft traveling to pre purchase there should be a complete and thorough cockpit sweep and avionics functional check (it is a good idea to have a pilot and maintenance person work together here).   Preferably this should be done far enough in advance to address any major issues that are found by exchanging or troubleshooting expensive avionics boxes or equipment.  I see many discrepancies written by facilities during pre purchases for minimally functioning systems that in a day to day operation would be allowed by either MEL or the understanding that it is an intermittent problem and not yet identified.  These can be the most time consuming and expensive issues in a pre purchase to repair. 

Any item not used on a daily basis such as HF radios, phone systems and heads up displays are prone to small issues that can become a concern by someone not familiar with the aircraft and must work correctly at the time of the sale.  It is important that each item or installed system should have available a dedicated manufacturer’s manual and most likely a current flight manual supplement.  From that, find the documented self test or operational test for that equipment and complete it step by step as that is what will happen at the facility.  These tests are seldom done nor are they truly required on a daily basis and can uncover problems that go unnoticed in normal operations.  Also check the cockpit for burned out light bulbs, loose switches or knobs, crew seat operation and all required emergency equipment.  Here again, many of these items can be fixed simply in house but would require additional labor and undue exposure at the pre purchase.

It’s late and I’m tired, but I’m proud.

It’s late and I’m tired, but I’m proud.  I am on a late flight home on Friday night.  I have been in four cities since last Sunday and I wouldn’t trade any of it.  I have been in Tucson, Arizona to show a Global Express that we are selling.  From there, I went home to Boulder, Colorado long enough to repack and sleep for about 3 hours before heading to go to Houston, Texas to show a Falcon 2000 and from there on to New York to show both a Gulfstream IV and a Falcon 900EX for two different clients to two different buyers.

We still have problems in our industry.  Not every market is recovering.  Overall, however, people are flying.  People are buying airplanes.  People are modifying and refurbishing airplanes.  I think that mostly, people (and companies) are excited to get out again.  They are excited and ready to go see their clients, customers, partners and operations and travel for personal reasons.  We still have obstacles and hurdles to cross.  Parts of our global economy are still struggling and some are just starting to experience their worst pain.   Our aircraft finance markets are still weak and the lenders inability to see the value in older aircraft not only saddens me, but angers me.  I could understand it a year and two years ago when prices were inflated in some cases 100 percent and values were in free fall.  Today, however, at current market values our financial institutions need to recalculate their understanding of true value and not write off the majority of corporate aircraft worldwide because of age alone.

I am proud of the work that I have done this week.  During over two years of slow sales we (J. Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales, Inc.) never put up the “gone fishing” sign.  We never retreated.  Instead, we diligently kept up our communications.  We maintained our marketing.  We supported our clients’ needs.  We provided good guidance and good information to help them make smart informed decisions in difficult times.  As a result, today, we are busy.  And tomorrow, we will still be busy and we will continue to thrive in our industry. We also don’t do it alone.  We have a lot of good peers in our industry and this week I met with many of them as they represented buyers for aircraft that we are representing for sale and we talked to several representing sellers for aircraft we are working to buy for clients.  Thank you to all of you in our industry that kept working hard in our hard times.  Thank you to all of our clients for your support.  People don’t often stop long enough to say thank you.  We could not do this if we were not all doing it together.  Tonight, on this late flight home, it’s late and I’m tired, but I am proud.

Everyone wins as buyers come back, but we aren’t out of the woods yet.

I am writing you from an airplane as I fly home after showing a Falcon 900EX that we are representing for sale.  This is an exciting time in our business as buyers come back in and I am proud to say that we are working on many pending transactions both buying and selling.  Everyone wins as buyers start buying again.  A seller finds a buyer.  A buyer finds a good aircraft at a great value.  A service center gets business for a prebuy inspection.  Brokers help facilitate the sale.  Attorneys help contract it.  Insurance agents sell new policies.  Flight departments are built, sustained or expanded.  Fuel is sold and so on. 

At the same time, I was reminded today of the harsh reality that we are not out of the woods yet.  We have been representing an incredible Challenger 601-3A for a long time.  In 2007 we sold eleven Challengers.  Today, the Challenger markets are still sitting virtually quiet as other markets around them start to move.  This particular aircraft has approximately 6,000 hours total time.  The engines have 200 hours each since overhaul.  It is highly equipped and it has had many avionic upgrades over the years.  It has a 12 passenger interior in good condition.  And, the records and pedigree couldn’t be stronger.  Yet, we have struggled to find a buyer even though it stands out as one of the best aircraft and best values in the 601-3A market (call today to learn more if you might be interested in the aircraft). 

About a month ago we started working with a buyer.  He seemed well qualified and he built the right team of partners around him to help facilitate the sale.  We agreed on a sale price and sale terms and had a signed LOI and deposit in escrow.  Unfortunately, today he terminated our sale because the bank that initially approved him has decided they are unwilling to loan on the aircraft.  Actually, he said that he contacted many banks and none of them will finance the sale through a traditional aircraft loan; even with his willingness to put down 20% or more.  The objection was not about the merits of the aircraft or even its competitive value in the market, but instead the age of the asset.  The aircraft is a 1989 model and none of the lenders he talked to want to loan on an aircraft that is twenty years old. 

As I sit here thinking about losing this potential sale I am reminded that as great as it is to see buyers come back into the market, we are not out of the woods yet. Many make and model markets are experiencing great activity, however, that activity is predominantly in the newer aircraft.  We still have challenges ahead of us.  Hopefully the buyers, lenders and our industry won’t lose sight of the fact that for aircraft that are well maintained, age alone won’t make them obsolete.  Even aircraft that are twenty years old or older can provide safe reliable lift for owners, operators and buyers for years to come.  There is a lot of value in some of these aircraft.  This particular Challenger 601-3A would have sold quickly in 2007 for $11,000,000 or more.  Today, we are only asking $4,850,000.  I have spoken before about looking at all of the layers of the onion to understand the full story about an offering.  Age is only an outside layer.  I hope that buyers (and their lenders) don’t miss the sweet inside due to the age alone.

International Aircraft Transactions: Its the people that make them successful.

This week I was privileged to both co-moderate as well as speak at the International Aircraft Transactions conference at the EBACE Convention in Geneva. The event was a success and very well attended. The attendees list was made up of brokers, attorneys, lenders, manufacturers  and other industry professionals and it was a truly an International group. This made for a very engaging program. The question and answer period that followed each presenter was really great with terrific perspective. What became clear very early into the day were the complexities of international transactions. There is no such thing as a cookie cutter technique. Every country has very different tax considerations, regulatory considerations, recordation body complexities. So even though the day was filled with wonderfully skilled professionals, each speaking eloquently to their assigned topics, weaving the day together was challenging at times.

What was not challenging was identifying the real solution to building a successful International aviation transaction; good people. After all, isn’t that usually the real solution to complex problem solving? I have always said I am not in the aircraft sales business, I am in the people business. People selling people aircraft. This piece of our business is no different.

So here would be my strategy for building an International transaction. Get a clear understanding of the client’s operational needs. This first needs assessment should be based on their travel patterns. Once you have identified the desired home base and the most common trips, and then reach out to that group of local players that will make up the transaction team. This team should be made up of local tax authorities, local legal advisors, and local specialists in the regulatory and airspace territory and local operators who are familiar with the intricacies of the country or countries that will be regularly flown in and out of. It is also important to find lending partners with familiarity and willingness to work in the buyer’s country and where the aircraft will be operated. In short build a group of highly skilled, carefully chosen people who can lend their individual talents to the strategy.

As I invest in traveling to shows like EBACE in Geneva, I am reminded of one of the most valuable reasons to come. Networking. Not just with the usual group that a broker would want to meet. Networking to build the team players that can assist you and your clients as that clientele grows globally. The only way to stay relevant as well as a team captain in these processes is to be able to build the team. So next time you plan on a trip to an event that aggregates industry professionals, remember to add to your target list of people to meet, those people that can help you complete, talk and act professionally in this arena.

By the way, this show was very upbeat and very well attended with many great people feeling good again about the future of our wonderful and exciting industry.

A Turn-Key Opportunity

I am writing this post from a customer office at the Bombardier service center in Hartford, CT on Saturday morning.  I was supposed to fly to Geneva today for this year’s EBACE Convention (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition).  Unfortunately, I have cancelled my trip.  Fortunately, I am proud to say that I cancelled it for all the right reasons.  I am at Bombardier to prepare for the closing of the sale of a Lear 45 on Monday and this coming week I have several showings on different aircraft that we are representing for sale including a Gulfstream V, a Global Express and a Falcon 900EX.  So we are dividing and conquering to get everything done and my father will go to EBACE this time without me and I will attend the showings and other work here.  Things are busy and it feels good!

I did not, however, sit down to specifically just write about what I am doing or where I am.  I do want to write and share some thoughts about a unique and interesting turn-key opportunity that we are currently representing for sale.  We are selling a Falcon 900B, Serial Number 42.  It is a great aircraft with 8,630 hours, MSP Gold on the engines, it is well equipped and the cosmetics are in very good condition.  The records are complete and original and thorough.  The aircraft has very high service bulletin compliance and it has no known major damage history.

The aircraft is also on a “10 or more” Part 135 Certificate (number YVBA768J).  The certificate was built by the flight department and the aircraft and certificate can be sold individually or together. This is the only aircraft on the certificate.  Even more, the whole flight department including a Director of Operations/Chief Pilot, a Captain and a Director of Maintenance who have been operating and maintaining the aircraft for several years would love to be hired by a buyer and continue to run this turn-key operation.  The aircraft and the flight department are based in White Plains, NY and the certificate is operated under the jurisdiction of the Farmingdale, NY FSDO.  There is even an existing charter client base.   You can learn more about the aircraft on my website at http://www.jetsales.com/inventory/Falcon900B-SN-42.html and you can learn more about the flight department, crew and charter operation on their website at www.bresnanaviation.com.

It is not often that we get to sell such an exciting unique turn-key operation like this one.  For someone in the New York/Northeast area this is a great opportunity.  For other prospective buyers anywhere else in the world, this is a great aircraft.  The owners are equally motivated to sell the aircraft alone or the complete turn-key package.  They understand the current market conditions.  We know the competitive aircraft available for sale, we are familiar with other recent transactions and the owners are ready to sell this aircraft at the right fair market value.

It was this complete opportunity that I wanted to write about today.  The more I think about it, the more exciting it can be for the right buyer.  But, as I said, it is also a great aircraft and the owners are equally motivated to sell the whole package or just the aircraft.

For all of you who will be in Geneva this week for EBACE, I hope you have a successful week and a great show this year.  I’ll miss being there.

Exceeding Expectations

People often have a litany of questions when I tell them what I do.  The simple answer is that I work in a family business as an aircraft broker and we help people buy and sell corporate jets on an exclusive basis worldwide.  In today’s economic environment most people immediately question if anyone is buying or selling.  I am proud to say that it is nice to be able to tell people that buyers are starting to come back into the market.  For some, the conversation ends there and we move on, but many people I meet often ask more questions and they are curious what I like about my work.

Buying and selling corporate jets is how we earn a living.  It is how our success is measured.  It is not, in and of itself, why I jump out of bed in the morning.  I jump out of bed excited about buying and selling corporate jets because each day is a new opportunity to exceed expectations.  To deliver on a promise that I/we make each time we talk to a new prospective client or present a proposal.  The first sale that we make is not the sale or acquisition of an aircraft, but the sale of our service.  I do not know that I would enjoy selling widgets, but selling our service is an entirely different matter.  When I make the sale of our service, we are the product.  We can affect our deliverable every day.

The biggest testament to our work is that year after year over 80% of our business is from repeat and referral clients.  The rest is new business that we find through our marketing, speaking engagements, reputation and cold calls.  Every day that I go to work I have an opportunity to meet, exceed or fall short of expectations.  Every day I work to exceed them.  There is nothing more gratifying than when a client tells us that we have exceeded their expectations and they are happy that they made the decision to hire us.  It is that opportunity and that ability to directly affect our deliverable and fulfill a promise made that I jump out of bed for.  Meeting this challenge is rarely easy.  It is a constant pursuit and one in which we can never let our guard down.  We are available to our clients twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and that occasionally impacts my personal world.  But, I grew up around this business watching my father and today, I would not trade any of it.  Call me hokey, but I love what I do.

Pre-Purchase Planning, Part 2

Cabin

Apply the same principles to the interior of the aircraft as you do the exterior.  Take time while the aircraft is powered up to functionally check every system in the aircraft (in today’s world that means manual seat adjustment, cabinetry latches and all door operations), check all lighting, switches, entertainment systems, monitors, galley equipment and water systems.  All systems must function within maintenance manual allowable tolerances as dictated by the manufacturer or as they are operationally equipped.  No items can be deferred in a pre purchase situation. 

If there are systems installed, but placed in an inoperable condition due to operator requirements then you should give consideration to technically removing them and seeing that they are not advertised at the point of listing the aircraft.  We see this with systems such as DVD and fax machines.  In some cases they were originally installed never used much and when they broke due to lack of use they are never repaired.  Operators feel, justifiably so, that they do not affect airworthiness and are costly to repair so nothing is done.  In a pre purchase they can be written up as a discrepancy (not airworthy), but an installed system on the equipment list and will have to be operable.  The same holds true of galley equipment.  Any collared circuit breakers or inoperable lights or switches will have to work.  

Be sure to check water drains and lav area for any signs of leaks or staining.  Pay particular attention to lavatory areas above and below the floor.  One of the biggest stop signs in a pre purchase is to find evidence of blue fluid in any area no matter how minimal.  If possible, take time prior to inspections to remove all stains and address any leaks no matter how minor.  

Cosmetic issues such as frayed carpets and worn leather or fabric will not need to be addressed, however, it is a good idea to have things cleaned and detailed prior to input.  Facilities will write up some cosmetic issues and although they will not be required repairs they detract from the overall impression of the aircraft.  

Prior to input it is also a good idea to determine what will be sent to the pre purchase with the aircraft and what is personal loose equipment that will be removed.  A good rule of thumb to consider – anything listed in the weight and balance equipment list such as life rafts, life vests, head sets and portable breathing equipment should be left on board (with paper work) unless special arrangements have been made in the contract.  Items such as Medaire kits, umbrellas, blankets, china and crystal can be removed.  If an operator has a Medaire subscription and the kit it is removed there will most likely be a discrepancy written for lack of a first aid kit.  A minimal one should be added prior to input.  It is a good idea to check tags and certification along with placards for all hand held fire extinguishers.  Along with that all original placards for evacuation, seat placement and door and cabinet operations should be checked and must agree with the original STC or certification of the interior regardless of 91 or 135 certifications.  Any cabin equipment operational manuals should be made available to facility personnel so things can be accurately checked for operation.  I see many discrepancies written for equipment operation that are in error due to the lack understanding on the part of the maintenance person.  The prevailing thought here is to keep the discrepancy list to a minimum, anything written up right or wrong must be dealt with by the facility to be cleared in the eyes of the buyer.

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