Is there any one reason why missing logbooks impact an aircraft’s value?

The short answer is that without logbooks intact, it’s impossible to know how well and how frequently an aircraft is being maintained and cared for. Logbooks record a number of items relevant to the aircraft itself. So when they go missing, it can be a problem for both the seller and insurance companies being asked to provide coverage.

In aviation, it’s seen often enough to be brought up in a conversation about missing logbooks – if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Missing logbooks are a potential problem for buyers as well as those who are not familiar with the industry may be swindled into buying an aircraft with missing logbooks because it looks like an unbelievable offer.

If you do plan on purchasing an aircraft with missing logbooks, then there are a few things to keep in mind as you go through the process.

Need a reliable aircraft appraiser? Contact VREF for your aircraft appraisal.

How Missing Logbooks Can Impact Up To 60% Of An Aircraft’s Value

You read that right! Missing logbooks can cause a significant double-digit loss – between 40% and 60% of the plane’s total value. Here’s why…

Is It Really A Big Deal If An Aircraft Is Missing Its Logbooks?

Missing logbooks have a huge impact on the overall value of an aircraft as it’s a cause for uncertainty. Missing logbooks don’t offer clear answers as to the former care including routine maintenance, (if any) repairs, and damage history. All of these missing components can be a problem when looking at it from a safety and longevity perspective, especially when your financial investment is on the line.

Sure, there may be another type of record, invoice, or even receipt for work done on an aircraft. But, unless it’s a fairly brand new aircraft, potential buyers will want to see its logbooks.

Ideal logbooks contain 3 main things:

  • Comprehensive aircraft maintenance record
  • Completed repairs
  • Any modifications

Avoid purchasing an aircraft without the facts first. Contact VREF for your aircraft appraisal.

Why Insurance Companies Care About Missing Logbooks

So we have pointed out what’s missing when an aircraft’s logbooks go missing, are stolen, or are destroyed – maintenance, repairs, and damage history. Insurance companies concern themselves with all these missing aspects because, without those logbooks, there is uncertainty about the condition of the aircraft. This alone can affect its value as collateral.

It’s a tough lesson to learn. However, buyer’s remorse does exist when it comes to purchasing private planes. In this case, it’s more likely that an individual without much aviation knowledge is considering a purchase like this one.

Whether an individual has the money to buy the plane is less important than finding an insurance company to provide coverage if anything happens. Going without having insurance leaves you exposed to lawsuits if anything were to happen with:

  • Private or public property
  • Innocent bystanders
  • Passengers

According to Sunset Aviation Insurance, the average annual insurance premium for a single-piston aircraft is $4,000 to $20,000. Getting insurance for your aircraft is a no-brainer and should be calculated into your overall expenses. Otherwise, you could be out hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Need a starting point? AOPA Finance sources aircraft loans! They not only work with a fantastic group of lenders from small regional banks to credit unions, but they also make the process simple.

Price Difference For Online Listing

Have you ever seen an online aircraft listing with a price that’s much lower than you expect?

Don’t be so quick to jump at the offer because there’s likely a catch. Occasionally, that catch is its missing logbooks. Here’s where evaluating situations such as these can be tricky – buying a plane with missing logbooks isn’t necessarily 100% a bad idea.

In fact, there are a few things you can do to avoid buying a lemon. One of those steps includes hiring a seasoned and accredited aviation appraiser who can determine the true value of a plane.

Avoid Scams & Hire An Appraiser

Because there are several tactics in aviation that sellers use to trick potential buyers, hiring an appraiser is one of the smartest decisions you will make. This particular step is not one that you want to cut corners on either.

Speaking of cheaper options…Yes, you may see advertising for “certified” appraisers near you. But there are a few things you should know about this phrasing as well as other aircraft appraisal scams.

As a general rule, never send or wire money to someone you don’t know without ever seeing the aircraft in person. Even if they swear that everything is legitimate, you want to be sure to double-check all aspects of the sale with your broker or agency before moving forward. We always recommend using ESCROW to transfer funds.

If you see ads for a “certified” aviation appraiser, run. There is no such thing as a “certified” appraiser. It’s merely a marketing gimmick to pull you in. When you want an appraiser with extensive experience and knowledge of…

  • Avionics
  • Airport Property
  • Business Jets
  • Commercial Aircraft
  • Fixed Wing Aircraft
  • Helicopters (Piston and Turbine)
  • Warbirds
  • Vintage Aircraft

…and beyond, look for one that is ASA Accredited through the American Society of Appraisers (ASA).

RELATED: Leave Your ASA Aircraft Appraisal Up To the Experts

Trust The Experts In The Industry

At the end of the day, a fresh coat of paint and shiny new avionics can mask any number of issues like previous damage or corrosion. It’s best to know before you buy exactly what you’re up against before purchasing a plane that either cannot be fixed or will cost too much money to completely repair.

For any aircraft you have or may have, establishing its history with carefully documented and stored logbooks increases your chance of gaining more of a return on your investment should you decide to sell in the future. You can even store most of your logbook information online using a secure cloud to avoid future issues.

Looking at an aircraft without its logbooks? Talk to our team of ASA Accredited Appraisers.