Aircraft Appraisal

Aircraft Appraisal

What is an NAAA Aircraft Appraisal?


Appraisal - The act or process of developing an opinion of value; an opinion of value.*

Value - An opinion in  monetary terms of the worth of real or personal property (not necessarily the same as price or cost).

Price - The amount asked, offered, or paid for a property.*

An appraisal is an opinion of value.  It is written by a person who has the knowledge, expertise and credibility to determine the value of the subject aircraft.  The process of developing an appraisal is intricate.  It is not, as most people assume, the act of looking up a value in a book or in a computer program.  Improper evaluations of aircraft by persons who are not qualified to make them, or by those who have their own agenda in pricing the subject aircraft, lead to trouble for unsuspecting buyers. High values are far more common than low values. No matter whether you are a buyer, seller, banker, or insurance company executive, you have a major stake in ensuring that the amount paid for the aircraft is reasonable. And how do you know what is reasonable unless an independent, objective, third party examines the aircraft and its records to verify that it is what is expected?

The appraisal is an impartial, professional opinion as to the value of the particular aircraft being examined. But it is much more than that.  A professional appraisal is a thorough description and inventory of the aircraft that verifies the major selling points for the buyer and financing entity. Never should a salesman's written 'appraisal' be considered valid.  A sales person cannot write an opinion of value on an aircraft he or she is selling.  It is a direct conflict of interest.

As part of the purchase process the buyer needs to engage a member of the National Aircraft Appraisers Association to determine the value of the subject aircraft.  That should be done early in the process before any negotiations take place regarding the price of the aircraft.  Too often buyers wait too long to contact the appraiser only to find that the price they have agreed to in a written contract to purchase is too high.  Others wait until after they have purchased their airplane when a banker or insurance agent will not agree to the requested value.  They hire an NAAA member only to have their elation at making the purchase turn to frustration when they find that the value of the aircraft was not what they expected.

An NAAA Certified Aircraft Appraiser will write a report that will assist in expediting the sale of the aircraft because the buyer and seller know the  market value and relative condition of the aircraft through the independent appraisal.  Information is knowledge, and that is what you get in a aircraft appraisal written by a member of the National Aircraft Appraisers Association.

A report written by an NAAA member is a great selling tool because it gives a potential buyer a solid "feel" for the aircraft in the words of the objective appraiser. After reading the appraiser's report the potential buyer will have more confidence in the condition and appearance of the airplane than he would another airplane where all that is available is the owner's description.  This is a plus for the seller who will find a buyer who is confident in the aircraft will be easier to make a deal with.

 When a report written by an NAAA Certified Aircraft Appraiser is presented to a banker for financing the banker will find that it supports the bank's collateral position in the aircraft loan by verifying that the aircraft is what it is said to be.  In the past too many bankers who have done self-evaluations without any manner of verifying the collateral exists, or that the aircraft is equipped as represented, wound up putting their bank at risk for a major loss had their client defaulted. There is absolutely no reason to accept a risk of that magnitude when there are NAAA Certified Aircraft Appraisers throughout the United States and Canada who can detail the value and general condition of the aircraft.

 A report written by an NAAA Certified Aircraft Appraiser is an impartial opinion of the value of an aircraft, prepared by experts who know all the factors which make up the current behavior of the used aircraft market. It is an opinion of value based upon experience and repeated analysis of these factors. It is an opinion of value which can be substantiated and justified. It is an opinion of value made by a certified, recognized, professional aircraft appraiser.

 A professional aircraft appraiser must acquire all the facts about the aircraft in question. The appraiser thoroughly examines the aircraft log books, inspects the exterior and interior surfaces of the aircraft, and pays close attention to the general condition as well as the maintenance history of the aircraft. One of the tools the appraiser uses is  the National Aircraft Appraisers Association's extensive computer based system that assists the appraiser in producing accurate and prompt aircraft appraisals.

An appraisal written by a member of the NAAA provides the client with:

  • A detailed examination of airframe, engines, props, instrumentation, avionics and all relative systems.**
  • A careful review of aircraft documentation, log books, and associated records.
  • A computer analysis of relevant value data.
  • A sealed certificate of appraisal and the detailed computerized report submitted to the client.

Why do you need an aircraft appraisal written by a member of the National Aircraft Appraisers Association?

  • To obtain a professional opinion of the present market value on an aircraft.
  • To obtain a professional opinion of the value on an aircraft to be renovated or modified.
  • To obtain a professional opinion of the value of an aircraft as a prudent safeguard against excessive tax assessments, capital gains and other taxes.
  • To verify damage claims resulting from fire, hail, windstorms, accidents and other disasters.
  • To provide the basis for decision-making in the commitment of funds for aircraft acquisition.
  • To provides persuasive, independent evidence of the general condition of an aircraft.**
  • To assist a prospective purchaser in obtaining financing or insurance.
  • To assist a financial institution in substantiating the nature and value of the aircraft as it relates to collateral.
  • To assist a financial institution by supporting the loan portfolio for examination by the loan committee and/or bank examiner.
  • To distinguish sellers aircraft from others that may be listed for sale. An appraisal written by an NAAA Certified Aircraft Appraiser should reduce the time required to sell an aircraft.

How much will an aircraft appraisal written by an NAAA member Cost?

Fees will vary depending on the type of aircraft, its year, make and model, and the length of time involved in completing analyses of all relevant data.

How Much Time Should An Appraiser Have to Complete the Report?

The client must allow sufficient time for the appraiser to do a thorough job. The appraiser may spend a short time actually inspecting the aircraft, but will spend considerable time researching data.

Standards of Professional Practice and Conduct.

The National Aircraft Appraisers has established rigid standards of professional practice and conduct to which every association member must adhere. It is essential to all parties receiving and relying upon appraisals that these standards be meticulously maintained. You may review the ethics rules that our appraisers work under by clicking here.


The members of the National Aircraft Appraisers Association provide a broad range of services to the aviation industry through its professional approach to aircraft valuations thereby setting the standard for aircraft appraisal. Bankers, insurers, purchasers, sellers, and owners immediately recognize the value of an independent aircraft appraisal.

To locate a member of the National Aircraft Appraisers Association click here.

Next Stop: Sample Appraisal Report

Aircraft Appraisals Index:

*From the 2016-2017 Edition of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

**Note:  An appraisal inspection is not a mechanical inspection.  It is a value inspection.  For a pre-purchase inspection or another mechanical inspection please contact a licensed A&P mechanic who is familiar with the aircraft make and model.

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