Buyers Guides

April 27, 2022

What Happens During an Aircraft Appraisal?

Owning a Private Jet Requires This Step in the Acquisition Process

Just like a piece of real estate requires an appraisal, so too, do aircraft.

A professional opinion of a plane’s value from industry experts helps you understand a business jet’s condition and fair market value - meaning you can determine whether you’re about to make a sound business investment.

There are several times when you may require an aircraft appraisal for your private jet. These include:

  • Buying a used private jet

  • Selling your jet

  • For insurance coverage purposes

  • To secure financing or for tax purposes

  • Refinancing your business jet

What’s Considered During a Business Jet Appraisal
A professional aircraft appraiser collects and reviews information about the private jet to calculate its fair market value. This process also includes checking the maintenance history and logbooks.

Appraisers consider many elements of the jet and compare it to similar aircraft, including:

  • Year, Make and Model
    Newer aircraft tend to be worth more than older used private jets for sale. Certain models are also worth more or less than others.

  • Interior & Exterior
    Appraisers inspect paint, seating, carpeting, and other finishes, both inside and out, and rate it on a numerical scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best possible condition. Any type of damage makes a jet less valuable than comparables without damage.

  • Avionics
    Navigation, communication, flight control, monitoring, display, and more all fall into the category of avionics. If the avionics in a business jet have been upgraded from the original equipment, the overall value may increase.

  • Engine Time, Airframe Time, and Auxiliary Power Unit
    An aircraft’s performance is measured in cycles, landings, and total flight hours. The higher each of these is, the less value the plane retains, and the more likely the jet will need more frequent maintenance.

  • Aircraft Logbooks & Airworthiness Directives
    A complete and original aircraft logbook positively affects a jet’s value. Up-to-date and compliant airworthiness directives do the same.

  • Location
    A jet’s geographic location can affect its condition due to climate and related factors. For example, ice puts more demand on an aircraft, while humidity and ocean air cause corrosion. Desert sand can damage aircraft engines.

Types of Private Jet Appraisals

Depending on why you require an aircraft appraisal, you may need one of three types to value your business jet. These include a pricing digest valuation, desktop appraisal, or physical appraisal.

Each uses a different method and serves unique purposes. Talk to an industry professional to determine which you’ll need.

Pricing Digest Valuation: The Least Accurate When Buying a Private Jet for Sale

The least costly of all appraisals, the pricing digest valuation determines aircraft value using published data in a value reference book. The information it can provide you is fairly general, but isn’t so accurate if the aircraft you’re considering has been overhauled or upgraded.

This appraisal type also does not consider aircraft supply and demand conditions, which play a big role in jet valuations.

Desktop Appraisal: Middle-of-the-Road Valuation for Pre-Owned Jets for Sale

A desktop appraisal combines a pricing digest valuation with supply and demand and other factors for a more accurate analysis. A desktop appraisal considers recent prices for similar models, the amount of time the aircraft has been on the market, upgrades and overhauls, logbooks and maintenance records, upcoming anticipated maintenance, and aircraft specifications.

A desktop appraisal is so named because the certified appraiser can perform it from their desk; it does not involve inspecting a business jet in person.

Physical Appraisal: The Crown Jewel of Aircraft Valuations

When you’re considering owning a private jet, you likely want the best, most accurate appraisal available. That’s the physical appraisal, a comprehensive, hands-on inspection and value analysis.

This valuation requires precision and in-depth knowledge. Your appraisal will inspect - in person - the engine, logbooks and other records, check behind panels, and look at the aircraft as a whole.

At the end of the physical appraisal, you’ll receive drawings of the cabin layout, photos of the aircraft, maintenance tracking information, and a copy of the registration and airworthiness certificate. This sets the physical appraisal apart from other valuation methodology.

How to Find an Aircraft Appraiser for a Used Private Jet

An aircraft’s valuation is often the lynchpin for its acquisition, which is why hiring the right appraiser is so important. Find a trustworthy and transparent appraiser on, the only marketplace for used private jets and private aviation service providers fully vetted and verified by the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA).

Reference our list of ethical appraisers any time you need to value your business jet, and come back to the website for your next aircraft acquisition or to find another IADA Accredited Dealer.