CJI17 London: The State of the Aircraft Brokerage Business

Guardian Jet was a proud sponsor of the Corporate Jet Investor London conference, which was held this past January 30-31.

It happened to be the second year second that I (Don Dwyer) spoke before a sizeable audience of our aviation peers.

Alasdair Whyte, the editor and organizer of Corporate Jet Investor content and events, asked me to talk about the evolution of the high end aircraft brokerage business, and where I think it’s headed.

For those of you who’d like to watch my CJI17 address, it’s embedded below.

 

Here’s a brief recap

To recap what I shared with our peers that morning, I first posed the question, which was asked by Alastair: “Do we have an image problem in the brokerage business?”

Then I offered some evidence to support my strong belief that, no, I don’t think our image is suffering.

That’s because the high-end aircraft brokerage and consulting firms that people entrust their money to see us as a valuable partner in the transaction.

What we do suffer from, however, is what I refer to as a “fragmentation problem.”

In light of the numbers of different aircraft models and the corresponding number of transactions and brokerage companies, I pointed out that it’s impossible not to be somewhat fragmented.

I shared how I think of this industry—this brokerage business—as a very sophisticated “cottage industry.” We have a lot of small players that are impacting the customer experience.

And, because our business occupies a highly unregulated space, it creates a lack of transactional consistency from region to region.

And this leads to a significantly varying degree of competency.

Another issue I raised is how a plethora of regulatory issues are affecting the brokers’ ability to effect competent transactions, and how ballooning financial issues are also affecting those sales.

And then I got into another issue: the ethics that guide our business, along with the ethics underlying broker/customer “exclusivity” and “non-exclusivity.” I shared how the latter can open the door to problems with “bad actors” in our brokerage industry.

Along with all these challenges, however, I reported the good news that I think the aircraft brokerage industry is evolving and maturing. And, as it does, the marketplace is demanding more because brokers are delivering more.

So where are we headed?

In my opinion, we’re headed toward greater transparency, and a more educated customer base.

Corporations and high net worth individuals are more educated because the brokers are making a greater effort to communicate with their clients in a more honest, straightforward manner.

The last item on my list of topics was innovation.

At our company, Guardian Jet, I know that we focus on building our business by being smart about capital, and we’re fine-tuning our consulting business before we build the brokerage.

So it’s great for our customers and, by the same token, it’s great for us.

I finished my talk by encouraging everyone in the audience to make sure that they pick a great broker to work with, one with the right level of expertise and savvy to bring their transaction to a happy conclusion.

And I encourage you to watch the video to hear a much more expanded discussion of these critically important topics in our industry.

 

Below are some additional images from the 2017 Corporate Jet Investors London event:

   

You can watch the entire talk on Guardian Jet’s YouTube channel.

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Aircraft Life Cycle Cost Using a Buy, Fly, Sell Methodology

From a financial standpoint, to effectively manage your fleet of aircraft, life cycle cost is the most basic projection of your fleet’s future operating costs.

In the informative video below, Mike Dwyer, Managing Partner of Guardian Jet, discusses the importance of life cycle cost to your aviation organization’s bottom line.

Mike explains how, when you develop models to compare the cost of different aircraft, different ownership options and different utilization levels, life cycle cost is, in fact, the bottom line, the final aircraft finance number that provides what it will cost.

This video also offers details of the variety of inputs and projections that are used to calculate life cycle cost and how it can help you make critical decisions.

 

Watch on YouTube or read the full transcript below:

 

Hi! I’m Mike Dwyer.

Thanks for coming to the Guardian Jet Learning Center to talk Aircraft Finance 101, or life cycle costs.

We look at life cycle cost analysis as kind of the foundation of a lot of the financial work that we do, and there’s a couple reasons for that.

First of all, life cycle cost has tremendous analytical merit all on its own to help you understand the impact of what you’re operating or what you’re considering operating in the future.

Second, life cycle cost is a great foundation for all the more complex financial models that you use to consider capital expenditures.

In a fleet plan—whether you have one airplane, five airplanes or 10 airplanes—life cycle cost is a wonderful piece of the puzzle.

Net present value, when you consider cost of capital, the time value of money…

Replacement timing is often looked at through the life cycle cost lens: do I operate an airplane five, 10 or 15 years? Do I make the replacement today, next year, or in two years or three years?

So, life cycle costs gives you a great look at that, and also, ultimately, it is an interval part of asset management, where you look at your airplane like any other assets in the portfolio.

There are lots of reasons to try and understand life cycle cost, so let’s get started and talk about exactly what we mean.

 

Life Cycle Cost Analysis

In life cycle cost analysis, we’re looking at a financial projection, so it’s usually looking between five and 10 years into the future.

The three components of life cycle costs are the purchase price, the operating costs over the term, and the disposal or residual terminal value at the back end.

Since we’re talking about airplanes I like to call it: “buy, fly, sell.”

Simply put, we build a model where we enter the purchase price of the aircraft. Then we look at what it cost to operate the aircraft over the term, and then we have a terminal value at the end. We sum those numbers into the net cumulative number down in the bottom right-hand corner.Life Cycle Costs Buy Fly Sell

Of the three inputs, two of them are pretty straightforward: the purchase price and the operating costs.

First of all, we can investigate or negotiate purchase price, second of all the operating costs—which are very well published in our industry—and you might have your own direct experience with the operating the aircraft.

The two inputs, “buy” and “fly,” are straightforward. I’d make sure that you get some expert advice on the residual value; it’s the toughest to call because it’s out in the future, and it does vary from model to model.

It’s a learning center discussion topic on its own, so you might want to get some help in the third part of the life cycle cost analysis.

In round numbers, in the actual projection or cash flow or spreadsheet, there’s about a hundred inputs that go into a typical life cycle cost.

It makes great sense to build consensus at the beginning of the process between the people that will interpret the results of the life cycle cost analysis and the people building it.

If everybody gets on the same page early, it makes for a much more efficient process and, of course, a much more effective product at the end.

Examples of those inputs would be the term:

  • How far out do we want to look — 5 years, 10 years, etc.?
  • Do we want to do a cash flow (which is more typical in life cycle cost) or do we want to do it from a profit-and-loss perspective (as in the more traditional financial reporting statements)?
  • Is the model a pre-tax model or is it an after-tax? If it’s an after tax, what’s the tax rate that will we will apply to all the deductible expenses, such as operating costs and appreciation interest if that’s involved?

Once we’ve settled on the inputs, then we say: “Is this going to be a comparative analysis?”

We like to look at the baseline life cycle costs projection as your status quo . . . what if we just kept doing what we’re doing today for 5-10 years to determine the analysis?

Then we can start comparing that to different options of replacing in this interval, looking at different replacement options for what we currently operate, etc. But that’s what we mean about the comparative nature of a life cycle cost.

Now let’s look at an example of a cash flow so we can get an idea of what one looks like.

First of all, there are several pages of inputs, but I’m going to skip past that right now and just get to what the output looks like.

They’re essentially two pages that build on each other. The first page has the operating costs in it, and in my “buy, fly, sell” metaphor this is the fly part. It’s also what I call “If I hand you an airplane, this is what it costs me to operate one.”

So we started out pretty simple, variable costs on top, fixed costs come after that, or you can do it vice versa.

variable expenses per hour

Then we like to have interval costs associated with it, and an interval cost would be when we have a significant expense that occurs at some point during the term of the projection—like an overhaul on an engine or painting an interior refurbishment—a significant maintenance event that would affect the results of the life cycle costs.

interval expenses -life cycle cost aircraft

That’s page one, and that really deals with what it cost to operate the aircraft.

Page two brings in the “buy” and the “sell” phase, and adds that into the operating expenses. We look at what we buy the aircraft for, so we’re introducing capital, and then introduce the tax impact of the deductible expenses here on this page.

acqusition capital costs for private aircraft - life cycle costs

The second page introduces the operating expenses and the capital cost, so we’ve got buying it, (and, by the way, if you’re financing or leasing, that would be representative in page 2), and then you have the operating costs you added from page one.

And then, at the end, you have the residual or terminal value back into the cash flow, so you have a representation of what the value of what the asset was at the end of the period.

That nets down to that bottom right-hand corner, life cycle costs cumulative number.

net life cycle cost for private aircraft

That is the “buy, fly, sell” life cycle costs in a nutshell.

If you’d like to discuss your personal or particular circumstances in more detail, please give us a call.

We’d love to talk about it. And thank you for listening today on life cycle costs.

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Guardian Jet Welcomes Sasha Khounani

Sasha Khounani Guardian Jet LLC Marketing SpecialistGUILFORD, Conn. – April 5, 2017 – Aviation professional Sasha Khounani was recently named Marketing Specialist for Guardian Jet (guardianjet.com), the Guilford, Connecticut-based business aviation consulting and brokerage firm.

In his new position, Sasha will lead many of Guardian Jet’s efforts to identify new business opportunities and build relationships with business aviation clients and aircraft brokers. Additionally, he will lead the company’s market research function, support all major business jet transactions and maintain specifications on all aircraft for sale or lease.

Don Dwyer, Managing Partner of Guardian Jet, LLC, expressed enthusiasm for Khounani’s appointment and his potential role with the company.

“Sasha is a consummate aviation professional, someone who lives and breathes this industry and everything that it stands for,” Dwyer said. “He’s going to make a major contribution in our efforts to build an ever greater business at Guardian Jet.”

Prior to joining Guardian Jet, Khounani spent several years in international finance and sales and marketing for The Boeing Company. Beginning as an intern at Boeing before being accepted in the company’s prestigious “fast-track” program for promising young executives, Khounani soon gained significant experience appraising, estimating and pricing, and marketing commercial aircraft and military weapons systems. He also handled contract negotiations for many of Boeing’s international sales programs.

From his late teens onward, Khounani spent many years working in his family’s luxury automobile sales business, where he marketed such high-end brands as Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Audi, Mercedes and BMW.

Khounani earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. He is a private pilot, with experience flying a variety of small aircraft, as well as Citation jets.

“The two things that get me excited about marketing and selling business jets are the products and the clients,” Khounani says about his new position. “In a niche industry like business aviation, our clients are highly successful individuals and corporations, and I happen to enjoy learning from their unique experiences.”

About Guardian Jet

Founded 15 years ago, Guardian Jet, LLC, offers business aviation brokerage, consulting and oversight services for thousands of clients worldwide. The company distinguishes itself with its focus on integrity and industry expertise, and by consistently providing business value to clients. Guardian Jet’s core mission has always been to earn the right to buy and sell aircraft on behalf of its clientele by providing great consulting advice, market intelligence and flawless execution. For more information, visit guardianjet.com.

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Your Best Buy May Be a New Aircraft

Gulfstream G600 new aircraft - OEMAs residual aircraft values continue to drop, many companies and individuals with a history of buying new aircraft look to the resale markets to update their aircraft.

While this is not an unwise decision, you might be better served to buy a late model aircraft directly from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

Simply put, don’t count out the OEMs.

Here’s why:

Today, many aircraft owners are holding on to their aircraft longer before replacing. This is an excellent strategy if your current aircraft will be your last one.

But if you plan to replace that aircraft, hanging on to it longer in a declining market could result in a significant decline in your eventual trade-in value, and cost more in the long run.

You definitely will write a bigger check when you do replace the aircraft.

Unsurprisingly, as residual values fall, selling new aircraft becomes a more difficult job for the manufacturers. But what is a challenge for the OEM can be an opportunity for you, the buyer.

While several factors, including original purchase price, operating costs, and tax benefits, must be included in the total cost of ownership, the three biggest factors now are residual value, the currency of the aircraft model (when was the model first introduced), and market supply.

Residual Aircraft Value

The eventual disposition price, or residual value, of the aircraft has a significant impact on your total cost of ownership.

Light jet and turboprop pricing in the latest models stabilized more than a year ago, making their residual values, and thus the total cost of ownership, more predictable.

Meanwhile, the larger cabin markets have fallen dramatically during the last two years, and are just now beginning to stabilize.

Although you don’t have to wait for market stabilization to upgrade your aircraft, it is a factor in whether to buy new or used. A preowned market, with rapidly changing residual value, is far more volatile than new aircraft purchase prices.

Currency

Recently introduced models like the Phenom 300 and Gulfstream G650 fare better than do older, “legacy” aircraft. Introduced in 2009, both aircraft have limited numbers in service, and have enjoyed strong residual value histories.

Consider the company which two years ago replaced a Gulfstream V (purchased new) with a newer model preowned Gulfstream 550, while waiting for the ultimate replacement aircraft, a new Gulfstream 600, due for a 2020 delivery.

After analyzing that total cost of ownership under both scenarios – keeping the GV until the G600 arrived, or trading the GV for the G550 and then trading that for the G600 – it was determined that taking the intermediate step of buying the G550 was no more expensive than trading directly from the GV to a G600.

Aircraft Market Supply

Every OEM works hard to produce the right number of aircraft for the current market reality: a challenge, since a new aircraft is, to some degree, comprised of outside vendor parts.

Companies have used furloughs, layoffs, and product line reductions to achieve their goal of matching supply with current and forecasted demand. For example, at the end of 2015, there were a number of new, unsold Global 6000s available for immediate delivery, while at the end of 2016, none were available.

This dearth leads to more disciplined pricing, which in turn leads to more stable residual values, then to less risky purchases of new aircraft.

No single solution is right for everyone. Selecting the right aircraft, at the right time, at the right cost to meet your travel and budgetary needs, requires a careful analysis of many factors.

Today, new aircraft acquisitions are winning the analysis battle more often than in the last few years. So don’t rule out looking to the OEMs for your next aircraft.

 

Don Dwyer’s article was originally featured in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Business Aviation Insider magazine.

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Are You Guardian Jet’s New Aircraft Technical Service Specialist?

join our team - buy and sell aircraft guardian jetGuardian Jet LLC is continuing to expand, and we’re seeking a talented aviation professional to join our growing team.

We’re in the hunt for our next Aircraft Technical Service Specialist.

This newly created role will directly support the Technical Services Director as well as the entire sales, acquisition and consulting team.

You’ll provide sound technical advice, research and insights. Plus your support will include:

  • aircraft build specifications
  • travel to client and maintenance facilities
  • technical research, technical presentations
  • logbook and maintenance report reading / interpretation
  • customer service and client interaction

Minimum requirements:

  • A&P – Preference to those who hold or have recently held an Inspection Authorization (IA)
  • Experience working with turboprop and jet aircraft within the business aviation industry
  • Technically competent
  • Excellent people skills
  • An abundance of energy and an inquisitive nature towards solving problems
  • Willingness to travel as needed
  • Must also be comfortable working in a close-knit, team environment where attitude and work ethic matter

Are you in? 

If you fit our minimum requirements and are ready to join our first-rate Guardian Jet team, please take a moment to review our Aircraft Technical Service Specialist job description.

Then simply email us your resume, cover letter and salary requirements. No phone calls, please.

 

About Guardian Jet

Since 2002, our mission has been to earn the right to buy and sell aircraft on behalf of our clients. We accomplish this by delivering unrivaled aircraft brokerage and consulting services to many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated flight departments, helping them through the often-challenging process of buying and selling aircraft.

 

 

 

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Guardian Jet’s Don Dwyer on AINTV

Guardian Jet’s Managing Partner Don Dwyer was interviewed by Charles Alcock, Editor of AINTV, in this video feature called “Bizjet Builders Unveil Latest Models at 2016 NBAA Show”

Click here to watch the full video–or read the transcript below.

Don Dwyer AINTV NBAA16 Interview Guardian Jet

Transcript from 03:22

Charles Alcock, AINTV:

“The NBAA show is also about marketing pre-owned aircraft with leading brokers flocking to the static display to show off their customers’ assets.

Some say trading conditions have been tough lately, but brokers here in Orlando are choosing to look on the bright side.”

Don Dwyer, Managing Partner, Guardian Jet:

“You know, everyone talks about the challenging marketplace, but what they forget is that there’s a tremendous amount of activity. So, clearly pricing is fueling the activities. And  pricing is not what people want it to be.

But, the business as a whole is pretty robust. Flying hours are up. We’re seeing activity up.

We actually called this year a little differently. We thought it would be a very fast start and then slow down as the election sort of “mired” people in their decision-making.

But it’s quite the opposite. We were a little bit slow in the first couple of months of the year, and then it took off. We’ve been very active ever since.

One of the things we’re doing right now–we’re not just here selling airplanes (although that’s our primary focus)–but we’re buying a lot of aircraft right now.”

 

 

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Guardian Jet to Showcase 5 Private Jets at #NBAA16

GUILFORD, Conn. – Last updated Oct. 28 – With aircraft acquisition activity surging this year, record numbers of customers are buying both new and pre-owned airplanes, according to Don Dwyer, the managing director of the Guilford, Connecticut-based aviation brokerage firm, Guardian Jet (guardianjet.com).

Answering that trend, on Nov. 1st through 3rd, during this year’s #NBAA16 in Orlando, Florida, Guardian Jet will showcase five private jets for sale at the Orlando Executive Airport (KORL). Guardian Jet will do so as one of 17 National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) Certified Broker/Dealers to show at the largest-ever single static display during the 2016 NBAA Business Aviation Convention, where the company will also sponsor an exhibit at chalet No. S-5.

Below are the five featured private jets on display at #NBAA16, including a 2013 Gulfstream G650, 2012 Cessna CJ4, 2011 Hawker 4000, 2005 Gulfstream G550 and 1999 Falcon 2000.

2013 Gulfstream G650

  • One Owner Since New
  • Cabin Enhancement Program Completed
  • Engines Enrolled on Rolls-Royce Corporate Care
  • APU Enrolled on MSP
  • Auto Brakes (ASC 055)
  • Forward Galley and Crew Rest
  • 14-Passenger Configuration

2012 Cessna CJ4

  • One Owner Since New
  • Remaining Warranty
  • Engines Enrolled on TAP Advantage Elite
  • Single-Point Refueling
  • Pro Line 21 Avionics Package
  • Aircell Iridium Satellite Phone System

2011 Hawker 4000

  • One Owner Since New
  • Low Time
  • Dual IFIS Server
  • TCAS 7.1
  • 9-Passenger Configuration

2005 Gulfstream G550

  • One Fortune 50 Owner Since New
  • New Paint in 2014
  • Engines Enrolled on Rolls Royce Corporate Care
  • APU Enrolled on MSP
  • Avionics Enrolled on HAPP
  • Enhanced Navigation (ASC 084)
  • High-Speed Data and Wi-Fi
  • ADS-B (Out) and TCAS 7.1
  • Aft Shower

1999 Falcon 2000

  • Owned, Maintained by S&P 500 Firm Since New
  • GoGo Biz Internet
  • Engines, APU & Avionics on Hourly Programs
  • Fresh C Inspection
  • Meets ADS-B Out & TCAS 7.1 Requirements
  • 10-Passenger Configuration

To discuss buying or selling or a business jet, visit Guardian Jet, LLC, during NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibit aircraft static display (Tent No. S-05), hosted at the Orlando Executive Airport (KORL). You see current aircraft inventory at www.guardianjet.com/aircraft-sales and follow on Twitter at @GuardianJet.

About Guardian Jet

Founded in 2002, Guardian Jet, LLC, offers business aviation brokerage, consulting and oversight services for thousands of clients worldwide. The company distinguishes itself with its focus on integrity and industry expertise, and by consistently providing business value to clients. Guardian Jet’s core mission has always been to earn the right to buy and sell aircraft on behalf of its clientele by providing great consulting advice, market intelligence and flawless execution. For more information, visit guardianjet.com.

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RSVP Today: Join Guardian Jet in Texas on August 9

North Texas Business Aviation logo

Business Aviation Professional Development Seminar Series

“Asset Management for Corporate Aviation Flight Departments”

Watch Don's 1-minute seminar preview video

VIDEO: Watch Don’s 1-minute keynote overview

Join keynote speaker Don Dwyer on August 9 at the North Texas Business Aviation Association luncheon in Grapevine, Texas at the Cowboy’s Golf Club.

Don will explain what Asset Management is and why it’s important to view your aircraft assets just like you would the stocks in your financial portfolio.

Learn how you can:

  • Keep your aircraft assets nimble
  • Retain the value in your aircraft
  • Be smart about the capital that you’ve invested in aviation
  • Plus, learn about aircraft valuations, residual values, market conditions and how to take advantage of opportunistic buying.

Who should attend?

Anyone responsible for fleet planning, aviation operations and working within a flight department.

Keynote Speaker:
Don Dwyer, Managing Director, Guardian Jet (Read Don’s bio)

 

RSVP for North Business Aviation AssociationAugust 9, 2016

11:30 a.m to 1:00 p.m.

Cowboy’s Golf Club, 1600 Fairway Drive, Grapevine, TX 76051

 

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Temporary Phone Outage

Guardian Jet is experiencing a temporary phone outage as a result of a technical issue from our phone provider. We are still open for business and encourage you to contact our sales team via their cell phones or via email. We apologize for the issue and delay.

Sincerely,
The Guardian Jet Team

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A Brief “Q&A” with Guardian Jet’s Newest VP, Russ Piggott

Russ Piggott

Russ T. Piggott

It isn’t often that an aviation-industry company can pull off such a coup as we at Guardian Jet feel we have by hiring our newest Vice President of West Coast Operations, Russ Piggott.

Russ is the consummate aviation careerist, with a love of aviation that goes well beyond the status quo.

This month, we thought we’d sit down with Russ and ask him a few questions to shed some light on what—even at his relatively young age—has already been a stellar career in aviation.

 

Q: What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of your career in the U.S. Air Force?

A: Well, first I want to say that I have been so fortunate in my life and Air Force career. I grew up around airplanes through my family, and all I wanted to do from a young age was fly in the Air Force.

My dad, mom, sister and brother are all pilots. My dad flew airshows in a Pitts Special, and then later in a Russian-built Sukhoi SU-29. But it was going to airshows and seeing the Air Force demonstration pilots that really fueled my desire to become a fighter pilot.

Those experiences also helped shape my goal to become an airshow demonstration pilot, in order to give back to people and inspire them to fly. So, in 2007 and 2008, I was fortunate to be selected as the F-16 Viper West Demonstration pilot.

I flew at 30 different airshows each year and represented the Air Force with a team of 10 maintenance professionals and six safety pilots. We flew in front of millions of people. On airshow weekends in between flying, we reached out to local schools, met with groups in the community, and communicated with local news and radio media.

My time on the demo team was one of the busiest and exhausting schedules I have ever kept, but it was so incredibly rewarding. I mentally put myself back in the crowd as a young kid on many occasions, and recalled what it was like watching the Air Force jets fly. I had to pinch myself because, here I was, finally doing it. Oh, and talk about rewards: I got to fly upside down in an F-16 at 300 feet!

 

Q: In your “collection,” of aircraft, you’ve got a fighter jet, a Glasair experimental aircraft and an aerobatic plane, and you’ve flown 30 different types of aircraft. What is your favorite and why?

A: That’s one of the toughest questions to answer, because it really depends on a number of factors.

Flying fighter aircraft is incredibly intense, and the sheer power, performance and capability are awe-inspiring. But it’s a lot of work!

There is no relaxing in a fighter, because you have a mission to accomplish and you have to be perfect. Flying airshows in the F-16, upside-down and at low altitude, in front of millions of people, was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. Flying in an F-15 with three other wingmen at 50,000 feet, Mach 1.6 and targeting enemy aircraft before they even know I’m there is pretty darn powerful!

When my wife, Jennifer, and I go flying together in any light aircraft, she has often commented that as soon as we lift off, she can see my whole demeanor change, as if nothing in the world matters and I’m free.

Whether it’s a Piper Cub or a Sukhoi, it just feels so gratifying to get up in the air. But to answer your question, here are my top five aircraft that I’ve flown outside of my military career:

  1. Lancair Legacy – It’s a 245-knot time machine!
  2. Sukhoi SU-26/SU-29 – The absolute best aerobatic aircraft!
  3. Beech 18 – A timeless beauty that flies great (and you can take your friends).
  4. Bonanza V-35B – It’s the Cadillac of the skies, with that distinct V-tail.
  5. P-51 Mustang – The fighter that helped win the war in Europe.

 

Q: Now that you’ve joined Guardian Jet, what excites you most about working with the team, and representing the brokerage firm throughout the west coast?

A: When I left the active-duty Air Force in 2009, I had just come off of being the demo pilot, where I was selling the Air Force story around the world.

Along with my passion for aviation, I’ve always had an interest in business, so I wanted to get into the business side of aviation.

I had an amazing opportunity at another consulting firm, where I became well versed in business aviation at a very high level, but, as I started a family, my wife and I realized that we had to get back to California.

After doing so, and being introduced to Guardian Jet, I found that I was drawn to the company because of the fundamentals it’s built upon.

It’s extremely important for me to be part of an organization that has a high degree of integrity, a positive reputation and provides world-class products and services.

As I’ve learned, the Guardian Jet business model is built upon five pillars that are broader and much more inclusive than simply buying and selling airplanes, as most brokers are.

When I discovered that Guardian Jet uses its consulting products and services as a basis to earn the right to buy and sell its clients’ aircraft, I knew it was going to be a perfect fit for me.

Now I get to live where my wife and I want to raise our family, and, at the same time, I’m able to share my passion for business aviation as a member of a very capable company built upon sound fundamentals. It’s a perfect match.

As icing on the cake, I still fly the F-15C Eagle several days per month in the California Air National Guard, so, as I said before, I’m extremely fortunate!

 

Q: What aviation organizations have you been a part of? And how do you give back to the aviation community?

A: I like to give back to the aviation community by helping people and sharing my passion for the industry and its way of life.

Whether it happens to be a young kid who’s interested in learning to fly or a recent college graduate looking to get into business aviation, I really like taking the time to teach them what it has to offer, and how my life has benefited by being involved in aviation.

Sometimes that means that I’ll just take someone up flying in my Glasair to share the joy of flight with them. “Hey, you want to go flying?”

I’ve helped a lot of my friends buy airplanes or figure out how to get back into flying after a long hiatus, and there’s always a lot of smiling involved.

There’s one common thread that most people in the aviation industry have, and that is some type of deep emotional draw toward airplanes. That’s what makes aviation so special.

Within business aviation, everyone—from buyers of corporate jets to the guys and gals fueling them at an FBO—has some draw toward airplanes, so it’s very unique. It’s an industry that makes it easy for me to share my passion about aviation with others on a personal and professional level.

 

Q: When you’re not buying and selling aircraft for Guardian Jet, how do you spend your free time?

A: I’m currently in that phase of life where I need to dedicate a lot of time to my family, and I like it that way. We have a four-year-old little girl, and she’s got me completely wrapped around her finger. My wife is due to have a boy in June, so we are very excited about that, and it will obviously take up a lot of my free time!

Between family and my Air National Guard commitments, it’s tough to find much free time. But I’ve loved flying with my daughter in our Glasair since she was five months old. She adores flying with daddy.

I also love the water, and though I don’t get to go very often, I’d say that surfing is one of my most favorite hobbies. I also fly radio-controlled slope gliders, which are a lot of fun.

And, more at ground level, just being outside hiking, mountain biking, or having a picnic with my family is fun. That’s what is so great about California—the weather is terrific and there’s so much to do.

 

Q: How did you get your call sign?

A: Every fighter pilot has a call sign, and it can often be a long story how he or she got it.

I got my name, “Spicoli,” based on Sean Penn’s character from the 80s movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

In a nutshell, when I was a young fighter pilot, I stood out as a “California guy” who liked surfing, was always wearing shorts and flip-flops and said “dude” a lot. I also raced off-road motorcycles, so, at the time, I actually owned a van to transport my bike in.

One late Friday afternoon, while I was finishing what had been a series of eye-gouging squadron meetings, I ordered a few pizzas for the squadron. So anyone who has seen the movie knows that Jeff Spicoli was a surfer from California who drove a van and brought a pizza into class.

So ”Spicoli” just stuck. When I’m not wearing a suit and tie or a flight suit, you can bet that I’m probably in shorts and flip-flops!

 

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: Well, I would just like to say again what a privilege it has been to live and breathe aviation, and to have had such an exciting career thus far flying some of the world’s finest aircraft.

And now, with this opportunity working for such a “class” organization as Guardian Jet, I truly feel like I’m on top of the world.

 

Welcome to the team, Russ!

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