If you want to be an antique aircraft collector, you’re going to have to spend a fair bit of time at auctions or reviewing the sales from them.

Whether you’re in the market for an antique aircraft to add to your collection or even build the supply of some parts, the auction is a positive place for aviation enthusiasts. For beginners, the auction can be equal parts confusing and intimidating.

In this post, we’re going to give you a short beginner’s guide to aircraft auctions. You don’t want to go into this process blind, or you could end up spending far too much money on something you don’t need.

How Aircraft Auctions Work

There are two types of aircraft auction that you’re likely to find available in the market. There are silent auctions, where you quietly bid on the object, and people don’t know what you are offering. Or, there are live auctions, where an auctioneer is shouting out prices of planes for people to bid in an open outcry. By the way, I don’t care what anyone says; open outcry auctions are not only a ton of fun but a great way to have your family involved in an exciting part of the potential acquisition.

You may also come across an online timed auction, which works in a similar way to a live auction, but everything is done online.

Airplane auctions are particularly desirable for collectors because there’s always a good chance that you’ll be able to get a great deal on an aircraft. You have to do some work ahead of time to ensure that happens, though.

Philosophies to Live By

Going into the auction with a few critical theories in mind will help you get the best possible deal. Be prepared, and you’ll come away with your bank account intact.

Visit the Auction First

Try going out to the auction a few times before you’re going to buy. Familiarity is the best cure for intimidating auctioneers, and it will allow you to get a feel for the proceedings before the pressure is on. Just knowing how things work will prevent you from making any rash decisions under duress.

When your dream plane goes up for auction, your preparation will allow you to remain calm and confident, and you’ll get what you want for a reasonable price.

Set a Limit

Even if your dream plane is up for auction, you’ve got to put some limits on yourself. Spending more than what you have is a recipe for disaster. If you’re getting financing, consider capping yourself with your lender so that it doesn’t come down to the auction. Ever watch someone walk away from a deal? Knowing when to fold em is just as crucial as when to get aggressive.

Start Early, Move Slow

One of the best philosophies to live by at the auction is to get in the action early on and bid often. Getting used to being in action will allow you to feel out the flow of the auction, and you’ll feel involved. A lot of bidders start to panic if they feel like their item is passing them by, which creates knee jerk reactions, and no one wants to go home empty-handed.

Bid consistently, and you’ll be able to stay with it the entire time. This is how you’re most likely to get your plane at the right price.

Do Your Research

To get the right price at aircraft auctions, go in with a firm idea of how much things are worth. At VREF, our online value guide will tell you everything you need to know about that plane you’ve been eyeing.

If you found this post helpful, you can come back and visit our blog for more informational posts about aircraft valuation and appraisals.