VALUATION OF USED PARTS REQUIRES EXPERTISE IN THE ARCANE ARENA OF AIRWORTHINESS

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ARTICLE: Younger Aircraft Becoming Part-Out Candidates

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The used aircraft market is a complex “commodity” market. Aircraft taken out of service or “retired” may have very little book value, so a knowledgeable parts distributor and reseller might be able to make some enticing deals. The attractiveness of the offers, as noted in the article, may benefit from newer aircraft being sent to the desert due to changes in capacity plans due to rising costs such as fuel.

This is not an easy market to value. The calculation of the depreciated cost of a part is simple math. The airworthiness assessment requires considerable expertise. The relatively simple determinations of form, fit and function plus conformity to the type certificate are compounded by the geographic location and the maintenance program of the stored airplane and parts.

The definition of airworthiness gained a dimension unrelated to engineering through the Suspected Unapproved Part program. Now the determination includes careful scrutiny of the part’s pedigree. In order to be found acceptable, there must be a complete cradle-to-grave documentation.

In putting a dollar value on the part, premium prices would most likely be awarded to parts which have all the records demonstrating that the maintenance procedures were correctly completed. This is an arena in which attention to detail and the expertise of the people reviewing the parts and their provenance really matters.

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