Providing insights on the market sectors his company specializes in, Lone Mountain Aircraft’s Mark Rogers shares observations with Rebecca Applegarth on recent light turbine and piston business aircraft market demand…
Though there is much uncertainty in light of the coronavirus pandemic embroiling much of the world, the Business Aviation community continues to try and function as best it can. Hope abounds that a semblance of normality can be regained relatively quickly in the wake of the virus.
But what exactly was that normality? What was the market looking like before the current challenges? “We got off to a great start this year,” says Mark Rogers, president and founder of Lone Mountain Aircraft. “In fact, we had a record Q1 in terms of sales volume, but numbers began reducing heading into Q2.”
Lone Mountain was founded with the belief that buying and selling aircraft should be “turbulence-free”, and the company aims to provide a complete range of aircraft sales and acquisition services to meet the needs of individuals and companies across the US and in Europe.
Discussing the marketplace, Rogers notes, “The total fleet for sale is only 10% but there is a much higher percentage of older model aircraft on the market. On the other hand, newly-designed aircraft that require less maintenance and have easily upgradeable platforms are still in the single digit fleet-for-sale territory.”
One significant factor impacting the sales marketplace pre-coronavirus was the aviation insurance market, according to Rogers. “This past year we’ve seen two clients in the owner-flown market purchase pre-owned instead of new, due to a lack of insurance availability for single-pilot operations with adequate hull coverage.”
Although insurance premiums are increasing for all operators, the single-pilot/Light Jet market seems to be the most significantly impacted, Rogers adds, pointing out that the light turbine market his company serves has, nevertheless, “shown remarkable resilience in demand”.
What is Today’s Buyer Searching For?
Today’s buyer of modern light turbine aircraft has a higher expectation for the technology installed in the aircraft than ever before, Rogers notes. “Buyers and sellers use a different vocabulary than in the past,” he reveals. “Specifically they’re referring to the avionics and safety equipment that has debuted over the last few years.
“Today's buyer is more likely to search for an aircraft that’s either equipped or upgradeable with such features as auto-throttle, emergency auto land, fully coupled v-nav, emergency descent mode, and a list of other features.”
And rather than specific types of aircraft selling more quickly than others, it appears buyers are ultimately value-motivated, which could explain the more robust pre-owned market.
“Aircraft that are priced too high will languish on the market despite a healthy overall marketplace,” Rogers adds.
Linking the Ownership Upgrade Chain
The piston market has long provided a supply line of owner/operators who initially use their piston aircraft for business purposes before moving into turbine powered aircraft as their mission needs expand.
Lone Mountain Aircraft’s sales business lists several high-end piston aircraft for sale. One of the company’s areas of expertise is its high-performance, owner-flown Cirrus models. “Cirrus, with its one-of-a-kind whole airplane parachute system, has attracted new pilots and first-time owners for years,” Rogers notes.
“Piston aircraft provide an excellent starting point, but many times once a business owner gains the experience and confidence needed, they become intrigued by the idea of an airplane to take them higher and faster.” Generally, he explains, pilots who own aircraft are “usually looking for what's next every three years or so”.
Conveniently for those pilots, Lone Mountain Aircraft is a leading reseller of the Cirrus Vision Jet, and also offers expertise on its team in Embraer, Bombardier Learjet, Textron, Daher TBM and Piper products to help clients move into the business jet or turboprop that will suit their step-up needs.
In addition to its aircraft sales services, Lone Mountain Aircraft provides maintenance services, and also founded AvCap Financial.
“AvCap was established to provide innovative financing solutions to help our clients get in the air faster,” Rogers says. “It’s branded separately so customers understand they don't have to purchase through Lone Mountain to use our financing.”
These are complex times, and nobody is in a position to predict with certainty how they will play out just yet. With increasingly sophisticated demand from the buyers in the markets the company serves, it’s clear Lone Mountain Aircraft has positioned itself well for the future, though.
More information from www.lonemountainaircraft.com