The Emotional Factor In Selling Your Airplane


Last week, I received an email from a former seller about selling his stunning F33A Bonanza. The email started off "I have been hesitant about contacting you, since I caused deep disappointment, and doubtless worse, last year in backing off the sale of my 1988 F33A. Only to say, my deepest apologies. I could not part with it." The backstory is that we had a client up to see the airplane on a Sunday morning where he flew the airplane with the seller. Our client loved the airplane and he should have because it was flawless... another airplane well loved and cared for by its owner and maintained by one of the ABS maintenance advisors. The kind we are always honored to represent to our customers. 

Our client was fine with the price pint, he was excited about the airplane, and happy with the prebuy inspection. And the seller was excited about our buyer owning his "pride and joy" so we all shook hands and went out for a wonderful late Sunday afternoon lunch. The wire transfer was planned to happen the following day, with closing to follow through our escrow agent and me delivering the airplane to our client's home airport on Tuesday. 

The was the plan, right up until I received a text at 3:59 in the morning from the seller saying he was 'too emotionally distraught' to sell his airplane, contract or no contract.

Having purchased more than 500 airplanes for others over the past 47 years, something we deal with on a fairly regular basis with sellers is the very real emotional impact and distress the unwanted sale of an aircraft causes for long-term aircraft owners. It is not uncommon to work with sellers that have owned their airplanes for 30, 40 or even 50 years or more. Two of the sellers we are working with now bought their airplanes new in 1966 and both were clear that selling their beloved airplane was not something they electively would ever pursue. 

We've been contacted by three sellers whose airplanes have not flown in over thirty years because while they can no longer fly them, they can't part with them either. One seller who owns a Twin Comanche said he would rather look at his airplane (that hasn't flown for 30 years) than part with it although it took us almost two hours to dig the airplane out of its hangar. Another couple that had owned their Bonanza for 46 years sobbed the entire time I was preflighting the airplane for departure

 face when they age out of owning an airplane and are left to part with it.  item that is rarely considered by a long-term owner is the emotional impact of selling an asset that you have owned for so long; an object of affection and of price 

There's an adage that says goes, "You never really 'own' an airplane but rather are entrusted with its stewardship for the time it is in your possession."

Keep the blue side up and Happy Holidays to all.