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Aircraft brokers

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Does anyone have experience purchasing an aircraft with the assistance of (as opposed to from) an aircraft broker?


I have seen several advertisements touting the benefits of hiring a broker ("why spend your time searching the whole country looking at third rate airplanes when I can find a cherry one quickly and easily", etc.). However, I wonder whether they actually add much value to earn their commission (or however they are paid).


Any thoughts?

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Swingline, I have used "brokers" before and to be honest it was a waste of time for me personally. With that said the one good thing about using a "broker" as apposed to selling it privately is that you don't have to waste a lot of your time with "test pilots" and if the "broker" really wants to make a sale they will advertise, reaching a far greater audience than what a private selling might.


With regards to selling privately, I currently have my PA28 up for sale and there are a lot of people out there who are just into kicking tires, what a pain these people are. You also get the type that want to buy block time, a share etc. So what I do now is if someone is interested in the plane and offers up front to pay for a demo flight (fuel) I will take them, if not I tell them that a demo flight is not in the cards and don’t waste time on them because you know that a serious buyer wouldn’t hesitate to pay for fuel.


With respect to buying , just because you go through a "broker" doesn't mean you'll end up with a good plane. I met a couple last year who ended up buying a plane I was looking at but passed on. Good thing I did because their first inspection ended up costing them almost 6K. Get a good pre-purchase done on any plane regardless if you buy it yourself or through a "broker. Remember they are there to try and make money!


Good luck which ever way you go, personally I would rather buy private. Aircraft sales people are like car sales people …they will tell you what they think you want to hear to get the sale.


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Hi N2,


Many thanks for the feedback.


I agree that unless a broker is an AME (which doesn't seem to be the norm), he probably isn't any more capable of evaluating an aircraft's condition than the average pilot is. Perhaps a broker might have a better idea of what a particular airplane is worth (since he's dealing in aircraft all

the time), but it's not all that hard to get at least a rough idea from perusing a few issues of Canadian Plane Trade, Trade-a-Plane, etc.



On 5/14/2003 10:51:43 AM N2 wrote:

With regards to selling privately, I currently have my PA28 up for sale and there are a lot of people out there who are just into kicking tires, what a pain these people are. You also get the type that want to buy block time, a share etc.


I confess that I have some sympathy for the poor old tire-kickers; making the decision to buy a plane - i.e., ANY plane, not a particular plane - is not particularly easy (What if there is hidden corrosion? What if the maintenance costs more than I anticipate? What do I do for hangerage? Can I get insurance? etc. etc.). It's not surprising that there are plenty of people out there who are interested but not entirely committed to the project.


I agree 100% that a potential purchaser should be willing to pay for gas and oil. As you say, a serious buyer wouldn't hesitate; it's only fair, and anyway the cost is minimal.


No doubt you are already on the ball, but my suggestion for any seller is to prepare a canned e-mail message, complete with lots of (attached) photos, that can be sent out to anyone enquiring about the 'plane. That way the seller and potential purchasers can all avoid wasting a lot of time (after all, most purchasers have the same basic questions).


Another thought for sellers: if you buy a classified ad, include an asking price (otherwise, you'll scare off at least some potential buyers, who think, "oh, he probably wants a lot, I can't afford it"). Prices in US$ are also a bit of an unnecessary turn-off, IMHO.

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Guest graunch1

I''ve been involved a number of times with brokes but usually on bigger $$ aircraft (C560, C750, 737,727 etc). There are some good guys out there but there is also a lot of sleeze. Often a broker will tell you that he has the exclusive on an aircraft but in fact he only knows about it. A number of industry publications deal exclusively with selling aircraft.

I subscribed to a yellow page publication that came out daily but cost $1000+ per year. The brokers all use this plus internet connections so as a seller or buyer they do all the research for you. Regarding pre-purchase inspections, in the larger a/c they are usually done at an AMO or MRO as an independent body plus your own AME looks at the a/c prior to purchase.


On fart-carts, I would say it is buyer beware and you had best know how to read both Canadian and US tech logs.

My son-in-law purchased a 1963 Cherokee 160 a year or so ago for time-building and asked me to check the log book for him - from the first page on the book was full of AMEs I know and AMOs I trust so it was a no-brainer. However I remember once looking at a cherry-looking C177 for some people and when I looked under the dash there was a distinct water line near the top of the panel. Further checks back at where it had been in the US revealed that it had been dumped off a short strip into a river. Non of the work had been entered into the tech log and this included a spar repair on the elevator.




Too often a pilot goes to look at an aircraft and it could be a PPL or even an ATPL and all they seem to think about is how good they would look sitting in the left seat. I''ve seen very experienced pilots pick up and accept absolute crap.


Of course there is also the famous story of CPA and the DC 10s


Bottom line on brokers - check them out with other buyers and sellers first.


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Thanks cap for your PM recommending your (AME-qualified) broker friend. He sounds good. Perhaps rather than sending me his number via PM, you might post your original message here on the forum ... I''m sure he wouldn''t mind the free advertising, and other users might also be interested in getting in touch with him.


Thanks again,




P.S. Here ia an AvWeb article that may be of general interest to N2 et al: http://www.avweb.com/news/columns/182237-1.html

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi! I just started looking for an airplane, and I must say that the two(2) that I looked at were not as stated. It is not fair that I waist my tine looking at garbage that is said to be a "9", State it as it is and you will not have trouble selling it!


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Agreed! I wasted a lot of my time too being dragged out to see "pristine" condition aircraft only to arrive and find junk! One owner (which I still chuckle about) told me on the phone that the plane had just been painted, what he forgot to tell me is that he used a brush to do it! As soon as I took one look at the paint job I walked away because I figured if he cheeped on that then who knows what else he''s done. The only thing I have found is that when you are truthful everyone thinks your handing them a line. I personally don''t cut corners on the maintenance; if my AME says it has to be done it gets done, plain and simple! I know a lot of people balk when their AME says something needs to be done (especially if it''s a big ticket item) but a good AME won''t be spending your money frivolously. I have always contended that if you can''t afford to look after them properly then perhaps a person should reconsider owning

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