Robert A. Searles

Robert A. Searles
Articles
Used Airplanes 

For several years, optimists have been predicting that a recovery in the used business aircraft market was imminent. Conversely, skeptics believe that the huge inventory of previously owned airplanes will continue to depress prices. Could both be right? As spring began, the experts seemed divided.

Market Viewpoint: Dennis Murphy, Aircraft Acquisition Manager, Elliott Aviation 

Dennis Murphy, Elliott Aviation's aircraft acquisition manager, said his company has been successfully marketing late-model small and midsize jets, predominantly to domestic operators, and he sees some positive signs in today's market for previously owned business aircraft.

Average Asking Prices Slip, Time on Market Grows 

The average prices for used business aircraft are still dropping, and the average time for-sale aircraft are on the market continues to lengthen, said market research firm Jetnet. However, the used market is still better today, compared to where it has been during the past couple of years. The market for previously owned business aircraft is considered a key indicator of the general health of the business aviation industry overall. Jetnet noted that asking prices for used aircraft have fluctuated over the last several months. “By the end of the second quarter . . .

Amstat: Recovery Stalled in Third Quarter 

The prolonged recovery of the used business jet market has faltered in recent months, taking a “frustrating” step backward, according to market research firm Amstat.

Historically high inventories of previously owned aircraft have been considered a major stumbling block to the industry's overall recovery. However, Amstat stresses that those inventories have been coming down, albeit slowly. “Over the long haul, conditions are getting better more often than they're getting worse,” said Amstat Executive Vice President Tom Benson.

Freestream Aircraft Opens Two Offices in China 

Freestream Aircraft Ltd., an international used aircraft broker, has opened offices in Hong Kong and Beijing to better serve the growing market for business jets in Asia.

“Business jet use is accelerating as the Asian economies continue to grow and realize their vast potential,” says Alireza Ittihadieh, CEO of Freestream. “Doing business in person is preferred in this region. Our offices here will enable business jet buyers and sellers to work directly, face to face.”

Garmin Wins European Approval for King Air 200 Package 

Garmin International has received European Aviation Safety Agency approval for the installation of its Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) and Iridium data link in G1000-equipped King Air 200 and B200 aircraft.

NASCAR Driver Orders Premier Upgrade 

Clint Bowyer, a Kansas native and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, has signed an order for upgrades to his Beechcraft Premier IA.

Bowyer is the launch customer for a synthetic vision system (SVS) upgrade to his Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 displays, addition of new aftermarket winglets by Winglet Technology and installation of an Aircell ATG 5000 system, which provides high-speed wireless Internet service in flight.

Universal Avionics Modernizes DC-9 Cockpit 

Universal Avionics has helped upgrade a low-time, privately owned DC-9 to make the VIP airliner's cockpit NextGen-compliant.

The Universal flight deck package includes four EFI-890R flat-panel integrated, high-definition flight displays; two UNS-1Fw flight management systems with 5-in., flat-panel control display units; two radio control units; and two application server units.

Universal Avionics officials say the STCed upgrade gives DC-9 operators “a new option for advanced flight deck upgrades for the aircraft.”

Garmin G600 STCed in Piper Twin Turboprops 

Jettech, the aviation systems design firm that specializes in developing Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) aftermarket solutions, has been awarded an STC for installation of a glass cockpit in Piper Cheyenne III, IIIA and 400LS aircraft. The package includes dual Garmin G600 RVSM primary instrumentation with RVSM-capable air data computers. Garmin GTN 650 and 750 instruments are available as an additional installation.

Blackhawk Wins Brazilian Certification of Caravan Retrofit 

Blackhawk, the Waco, Texas, provider of turboprop engine upgrades, has received a Brazilian STC for its Cessna 208B Caravan XP42A performance package, which enables Blackhawk to install the XP42A upgrade into Cessna Caravans licensed to operate in the South American country.

Blackhawk officials say Brazil has one of the largest fleets of Caravans flying in commercial, civil, military and law enforcement roles. The Brazilian approval follows certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency in September and approval from the FAA in June.

Sabreliner Owned by Paul Newman for Sale 

Paul Newman's estate has put the late movie star's 1981 Sabreliner 65 up for sale. The white and blue aircraft, serial number 465-56, has a total time of less than 5,000 hr., its Honeywell TFE731 engines are on the MSP Gold maintenance plan, and the aircraft was reportedly pampered by Newman, its second owner, since he acquired it in 1995.

Lighting System STCed on Winglet-Equipped King Airs 

BLR Aerospace of Everett, Wash., has earned certification of a new LED lighting system for King Air 200s equipped with the company's winglets. The FAA-certified advanced LED lighting system also is available for all King Air 200GT, 250 and 300 series aircraft.

Approval of the light system from both the European Aviation Safety Agency and Brazil's Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil is expected soon, says BLR. In addition, the company expects to win an FAA STC in early 2012 for installation of the lights on King Air 90s.

Market Viewpoint: Oliver Stone, Managing Director, Colibri Aircraft 

Oliver Stone, managing director of the new London-based aircraft brokerage, Colibri Aircraft Ltd., believes the market for previously owned business airplanes is gradually recovering.

In today's market “typically, the newest and largest planes are doing the best,” says Stone. “The ultra-long-range, large-cabin jets are actually doing quite well. Prices have stabilized and inventory is thinning out.”

Rising Prices for Used In-Production Business Jets a Good Sign 

The September edition of J.P. Morgan's Business Jet Monthly report noted that prices rose slightly in August for used business jets that are out of production but still have derivatives being manufactured.

Recent Sales, Inventory Numbers Generally Favorable, Says Jetnet 

August 2011 statistics on the used aircraft markets contain good news, says Jetnet, the Utica, N.Y.-based provider of corporate aviation information.

In the first eight months of this year, the year-to-date average asking price for business jets rose 3.5%, while the industry maintained double-digit growth (11.4%) in used business jet retail sale transactions.

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