Wondering how to market your vintage aircraft?

There are a few reasons why someone may want to sell their vintage plane.

Sometimes, we hold on to items that connect us to family members who have passed on, places where we have fond memories, and keepsakes full of nostalgia. But when it’s time to pass those items on, you might be surprised to find that people close to you either don’t have room for them in their lives or can’t afford to maintain them.

This is often the case for vintage aircraft owners because owning an aircraft is unlike more commonly passed down heirlooms like cars, china, or photos. It’s an asset with extremely particular needs, which can easily be too high of an expense for someone to take on.

Otherwise, maybe you’re a vintage aircraft enthusiast who loves the idea of either upgrading your plane or purchasing and restoring another vintage find. Either way, knowing just how to market your vintage aircraft for sale can better assure that you get top dollar for it.

Need an aircraft appraisal? Contact VREF.

Learn How To Market Your Vintage Aircraft For Sale With These Helpful Tips

It’s typically easy to list an older car, refrigerator, washer, dryer, or even toaster oven for someone to purchase. The details to make it sell are typically within the asset or appliance itself. Most people only have a few questions about its features, cost, and delivery. But in the aviation industry, vintage planes simply can’t be treated like other items you might list for sale.

It All Starts With An Aircraft’s Former Care

Evaluating a plane’s history and care is just as important as knowing similar information about a house or car. You don’t want to buy blind and regret it later because the previous owner(s) didn’t properly maintain the aircraft.

When it comes to aircraft, there are 4 major overall aspects you should be completely aware of and upfront about when listing your aircraft.

1. Proper Storage

You’re well aware of how much everyday weather and flying conditions can affect the value of an aircraft. The same can be said for when it isn’t flying at all. Leaving an aircraft exposed to the elements will certainly onset corrosion and decay that much quicker. Vintage aircraft are especially prone to these common aircraft-killing scenarios as they are made from materials that are less durable and weather-resistant.

When listing your vintage aircraft for sale, be sure to showcase how it is stored, whether through a privately owned hangar or a third-party maintenance company. This is something that potential buyers should seriously consider when searching for vintage aircraft to purchase.

RELATED: How To Spot And Prevent Aircraft Corrosion

2. Handling

How is your aircraft being cared for while on the ground before and after a flight? From loading and unloading to cabin care and general ground services, it matters to potential buyers.

Following the correct procedures means more than being a rule follower. Every step taken before and after a flight has an impact on your aircraft and its potential value. Especially for vintage aircraft, it’s important to be both thorough and careful.

3. Maintenance

If you’re selling your vintage aircraft in the middle of a refurbishment, be aware of exactly which stage you’re at. The real key to getting the most value for your vintage plane is for it to operate just enough to fly. Doing so will make it easier on the plane itself, leaving maintenance up to its routine needs and occasional repairs or refurbishments.

4. Documentation

Documentation is everything! Be transparent. Leaving things hidden will not serve you or your potential buyers well. Even worse – if word spreads, you may find it impossible to sell your aircraft at all. Keep up with and collect all logbooks. Be sure they’re stored safely and securely. These can hold a majority of your aircraft’s value.

Price Your Aircraft Right

Regarding aircraft appraisals versus evaluations, an evaluation will not give you an adequate idea of the true cost of your aircraft. There are entirely too many specifics involved with an aircraft to provide a solid dollar amount based on an evaluation alone. Values can swing greatly from one end to another, so you’ll need to have an appraisal to get the most accurate value.

In addition to selling your aircraft, getting a professional appraisal is also useful for estate planning, insurance needs, and more. It’s one of the most intelligent decisions you can make when owning an asset such as a vintage plane.

How Much Does A Vintage Airplane Cost?

According to the Vintage Aircraft Association, an airworthy type certified vintage plane can be bought for about $15,000 to $40,000. The most popular vintage aircraft manufacturers include:

  • Aeronca
  • Cessna
  • Culver
  • Ercoupe
  • Interstate
  • Luscombe
  • Piper
  • Porterfield
  • Stinson
  • Taylorcraft

Keep in mind that this price range does not include hangar fees, maintenance, the cost of parts, labor, and other essential requirements.

Are Free Aircraft Value Calculators Reliable?

No. Again, these tools are possibly helpful when determining a price range, but will not know enough about your particular aircraft to give you a reliable estimate.

Don’t list your vintage aircraft without the facts first. Contact VREF to get started.

Find The Right Sales Representation

Secure representation to list your aircraft by reaching out to groups with extensive knowledge and experience with vintage aircraft. You can also add a broker to your team, which might help your listing reach more relevant potential buyers.

Showcase Its Best Features

Getting into the nitty gritty of your listing, be sure to list all documentation available, equipment features, and complete and clear contact information. If there isn’t an easy way to get in touch with you or a member of your sales team, you won’t hear from those who may be genuinely interested.

You will also want to fill out the space for a description to the best of your ability. Use this section to have a little fun and describe what you love about your aircraft. Talk up its history, unique features, and modern adaptations. When all is said and done, it’s better to have too many details than too few, or none at all.

Use Accurate Language To Attract Buyers

Use the right language to attract a potential buyer best matched for your vintage aircraft. This means knowing when to use vintage, renaissance, antique, and reimagined.

For aircraft, vintage is typically a refurbished aircraft that is 40 years or older. Renaissance means that everything has been restored to its original factory production, from fabrics and glass down to the last rivet.

Sell Scrap Aircraft Pieces

If you’re looking to scrap and sell your vintage aircraft, it’s actually not a bad idea to do so. The government will occasionally show interest and buy scrap materials from sellers for their own use.

Another way that people use aircraft scraps is by buying them to turn them into different items like tables, barstools, and accessories. If this route is one you’re considering, it may be worth some extra money because aircraft parts have the “cool factor” that buyers are willing to search and pay for.

Have The Vintage Aircraft Facts On Hand Before You Sell

If you have a vintage aircraft in your possession that you’re ready to part ways with, you have options. Keep these tips in mind before publishing your public listing.

Looking for a reliable aircraft appraisal?

VREF is not only a trusted partner of the AOPA, but our team also consists of Accredited Senior Appraisers with thousands of completed aircraft appraisals under their belts. Get started today.