Along-time Duncan Aviation maintenance customer hired our Aircraft Sales and Acquisitions team to assist them in the acquisition of a late-model aircraft with low flight time and a cabin that had plenty of shoulder room. The acquisition team included Aircraft Sales Representatives Doug Roth, Bob McCammon, and Rene Cardona, in total representing 105 years of experience.
“As a team, we walked through the various attributes and financial considerations of different makes and models,” says Doug. “In order to stay within the acquisition price ranges, operational cost of ownership, and performance parameters the customer wanted, we determined they should focus on a Falcon 2000LX.”
After an extensive market search that included help from Duncan Aviation’s Regional Managers in and outside the United States, we found a Falcon 2000LX for sale in Thailand with an attractive asking price provided the aircraft was in acceptable condition.
“On the buyer’s behalf, we made an offer, subject to a preliminary visual aircraft and records inspection and the acceptance of the terms and conditions of a formal pre-purchase inspection,” says Doug. The seller accepted the offer.
Before we could make our final recommendation to the buyer, we needed to look at the aircraft in Thailand and assess its condition. The buyer authorized us to send his chief pilot and Duncan Aviation’s Falcon Technical Specialist and Program Manager Ron Grose to evaluate the aircraft. Ron has 45 years of aviation experience, most of which have been associated with the Falcon product line.
Although the aircraft was registered and located in Thailand, the attorney for the Thai owner and the broker who was handling the sale were in Europe. Duncan Aviation and the buyer were in the US. That meant that nearly everyone party to the potential transaction was in a different time zone with up to 12 hours’ difference. The time differences slowed the pace of the negotiations, so messages back and forth needed to be succinct and forward-thinking.
“We were careful to make emails clear and to the point, and we tried to streamline communications,” says Doug.
After reviewing the aircraft and its documentation, Ron and the buyer’s chief pilot determined it had been well-maintained and the records were in order. They found only a few discrepancies. With the initial evaluation complete, we determined that the aircraft was a good candidate and we should invest in a complete pre-purchase evaluation.
The seller’s agent knows that Duncan Aviation is an authorized Falcon Service Center and is recognized worldwide, with 11 international authorizations. Because of these authorizations, the buyer also preferred to have the evaluation performed at the Duncan Aviation MRO facility in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“This condition was included in the purchase agreement, and the seller agreed to relocate the aircraft from Bangkok to Lincoln,” says Doug.
The time differences and location of the aircraft resolved for the moment, the Duncan Aviation sales team then had to determine how to efficiently and properly import the aircraft into the United States.
Steve Rothanzl, Duncan Aviation’s International Trade Compliance Officer, has an office down the hall from Doug’s.
“It’s nice to be able to walk down the hall and get immediate support when the timing was so critical,” says Doug. “We needed everything to be in order so there were no last-minute hurdles or surprises.”
Steve prepared and filed the necessary paperwork, so the import permit was available for the aircraft to clear US Customs as it landed in Anchorage, Alaska.
The timing of the pre-purchase evaluation flights were also a challenge for the team. To avoid downtime and additional expenses, we negotiated with the seller, who agreed to have Avionics Crew Leader Eric Corbridge and Airframe Lead Tech Michael Stamm meet the aircraft in Anchorage. The two Duncan Aviation technicians then performed the evaluations during the 7-hour flight from Anchorage to Lincoln, saving time and expense.
“This transaction had a multitude of complexities, but Duncan Aviation has expert resources in a variety of areas to help make it happen,” says Doug. “Because of Ron’s evaluation conducted in Thailand, we knew we were dealing with an aircraft that was in great shape. And because we have experts familiar with how to import an aircraft registered outside the United States, we were able to deal with these issues in a timely fashion, saving our buyers, and for that matter, potentially the seller, time and money.”
During the pre-purchase inspection, two major items were identified that required subsequent negotiations and an amendment to the purchase agreement. Eventually, the team worked out a solution that was agreeable to both the buyer and seller.
“After nearly four months of doing our homework, engaging our experts, and grinding out every detail, we accepted the aircraft and ultimately closed the sale,” says Doug.
The new owners are now ready to make the Falcon 2000LX entirely their own. Duncan Aviation is installing FANS 1/A (Future Air Navigation Systems), reconfiguring the interior, installing a new interior, and painting a custom scheme on the exterior. While this work is being completed, Duncan Aviation will also perform the 2C Inspection and Gear Overhaul to eliminate future downtime.
“The delivery date is mid-January, and everything is on schedule,” says Doug. “It’s going to be like a brand new airplane!”