Zen & the Art of Buying an Airplane
These days, putting a deal together on the sale or acquisition of a corporate jet seems to be more of an art than a science. With such rapidly changing markets, no one can say for sure what an airplane might be worth. Publications like Bluebook & Vref that might be a good reference in normal times, is outdated before it even goes to print. An airplane is only worth today what someone will pay for it today, which might not have much similarity to what someone was willing to pay for it yesterday.
In times like these, many who want to buy or sell get very frustrated and give up. They decide that the environment is just too difficult to work in and they will revisit the marketplace when things settle down. Others seem to thrive in times like these and are constantly on the hunt for the next deal of the century.
These two opposing views remind me of the main characters in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. If you have not read this book, I would recommend you pick it up. The title can be intimidating for those with strong views about religion or motorcycles, but neither topic is really the focus of the book. It is more of an exploration of two different approaches people take when faced with a problem.
In the book, the Narrator is taking a 17 day motorcycle trip across the country with his son Chris and their two friends John & Sylvia. The narrator and his son are riding on an older motorcycle which he does most of the maintenance and upkeep on himself. Their friends are riding a brand new BMW that “should” run like a top, but when it doesn’t John relies on professional mechanics to diagnose the problem and fix it. John proceeds on the trip always hoping for the best and refusing to study or learn how to maintain his bike, and when things go wrong, John gets very frustrated
The narrator compares and contrasts his philosophy of wanting to know the details and inner workings of things and the ability to find joy in preventing and repairing problems with his friend’s “Zen” viewpoint of being in the moment and not relying on rational analysis. At first it may seem that the narrator is extolling the virtues of the logical approach, but later makes it clear that he is not necessarily trying to blend the two, but take the approach that is right for each particular situation. This approach seems to allow a person to avoid the frustrations that might arise when encountering a problem, while still enjoying the romance and mystery that is all around us in this world.
If you find yourself frustrated with the current market cycle, try finding joy in looking at the reason things are so volatile. Try to anticipate where things are headed tomorrow and the best possible approach to achieving your goals in this environment. If that doesn’t work, you can always throw up your hands, put a smile on your face and say, “well, I guess I just wasn’t meant to buy an airplane today”. Either way, the experience should be pleasurable and not add to any stress you may already be experiencing during this holiday season. And just to throw in a shameless plug, I think the right broker should help make the entire process enjoyable.
All the best this holiday season,
Toby J. Smith
JBA Aviation, Inc.