As an alternative to exorbitantly priced new aircraft, AVweb publisher Tom Bliss is forming a national network of aircraft rebuilders to refurbish existing aircraft to as-new condition and market the products they produce.
Triple R Affordable Aircraft will set standards for rebuilt aircraft, match potential customers with restorers, and market the finished products online.
“The pricing of new aircraft doesn’t support the growth of our industry,” said Bliss. “A professional rebuild standard is the next-best thing to new.”
Bliss estimates more than 100,000 existing aircraft are candidates for a complete rebuild. That’s a huge supply considering just 754 new, FAA-certified piston aircraft were delivered in 2013.
Triple R Affordable Aircraft will set technical standards for the airplanes it represents, including new engines, propellers, interiors, paint, avionics, and wiring. The company will strongly encourage safety items like airbag seatbelts and padded instrument panels, and it will help potential buyers find financing and insurance.
Aircraft rebuilders who participate in the program as well as engine and component manufacturers will receive up to $50,000 in advertising space on AVweb. Triple R Affordable Aircraft will charge aircraft rebuilders a fee for its services and help them sell directly to buyers.
Rebuilding aircraft to as-new standards has the potential to attract new pilots and aircraft owners for whom factory-new aircraft is economically out of reach, Bliss said.
“It’s not simple, it’s not easy, and it’s not inexpensive,” he said, “but it is essential.”