All posts tagged 'aircraft' - Page 14

Aircraft Performance for “Dummies.”

Today's modern business jets are at the leading edge of aerodynamic design. These aircraft fly faster, further and consume less fuel than their first generation predecessors. What they are capable of is amazing. Within aviation, we tend to focus on and discuss all the maximum performance capabilities. However, when we are dealing with the non-aviation person, these limits of the aircraft’s capabilities can lead to much confusion, and sometime to acquiring the wrong aircraft for the job. Consider this to be in the vein of those wonderful “Dummies” books!

The confusion will often start with the sales brochures which list the maximum capabilities of the aircraft. Typically they focus on range, speed, and payload (or seats). It is important to realize that when the brochure states “Maximum Range: 2,350 nm; Executive Seating: 8 passengers; Maximum Speed: 470 knots,” it does not mean that this aircraft is capable of taking eight people 2,350 nautical miles at a speed of 466 knots! It simply states that the aircraft can fly 2,350 nautical miles, it can fly with eight people on board, and it is capable of reaching speeds of up to 470 knots - just not all at once.

Think of it like you would your car. You wouldn't expect your family sedan to get 28 MPG at 130 MPH! Most non-aviators can understand that analogy.

Following are some explanations of salient terms for those who don’t share in our world.

Aircraft can carry people, baggage, and fuel, but not the maximum of all three. Fill up the tanks with fuel for that maximum 2,350nm range trip, and you may only have enough useful payload left for three or four people. Conversely, fill up the seats and baggage capacity of the same aircraft, and you may have enough useful payload left to fly a 1,800nm trip.

Best economy speeds are slower than the maximum speeds. Our aircraft is capable of traveling at very high speeds. But the best fuel economy is found at a much lower speeds. With our car, to get 28 MPG we may need to drive at 40 MPH as opposed to 130 MPH. With the aircraft, we may need to slow to 430 knots as opposed to 470. 

Runway length required for takeoff will vary depending on many parameters. Again, the brochure may list a runway length of 5,000 feet. But that is with very specific parameters. Can you remember that time you drove to the mountains? Pulling onto the highway with a car full or people and bags it took a while to accelerate to the required speed. With the aircraft, it is similar. In a nutshell:


  • Heavier weights = more runway length
  • Hot days = more runway length
  • High altitude airport = more runway length


With a relatively short runway, at altitude, on a warm day, we may need to reduce the weight of the aircraft below its "maximum" weight in order to safely depart on the runway. Come back after dark when it is cooler and you may be able to add more weight.  So the extreme may be an aircraft that can take-off at sea-level from a 5,000 foot runway with four people and fly 2,350nm, but  may only be able to manage a trip of 850nm from an 8,000 foot long runway in the mountains on a warm day.

Regarding the performance of aircraft, they are a series of compromises. They can offer speed, range and payload but often require trade-offs in two of those areas to maximize the third. We pride ourselves in knowing the maximum capabilities of our aircraft. We also need to pride opurselves in our ability communicate to non-aviators the trade-offs inherent in our aircraft.

Dear President Obama, Why are you killing the only industry that still shines?

The 44th President of the United States of America

Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Author, Statesman and Business Aviation User

Mr. Barack Hussein Obama II

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Washington, DC  20500

Tele. +1.202.456.1414

Fax. +1.202.456.2883

[email protected]




Dear Mr. President;


I wanted to take a moment to ask you 'man to man' why you have decided to single out the General Aviation Industry for your public vilification and attacks, when you yourself are such a heavy user of the services provided by this vital industry?


You might argue that you do not use General Aviation while fulfilling your role as the Commander in Chief of the United States as the aircraft that you predominantly use for state business are operated by both the Air Force and the Navy.  However as you know, there are only 180 Air Force Bases and 40 Naval Air Stations located within the Contiguous United States, while these potential destination landing sites for both Air Force One and Marine One are supplemented by only a further 70 airports that are currently served by Commercial Airline Service.


If you chose only to fly in-and-out-of these 'less-than' 300 specific airports-exclusively (which I know is not what you do), then I believe that you would agree that it would be impossible for you and your executives to accomplish many of the tasks set you by the U.S. Citizenry. This is because there are 5,261 general aviation airports that you can choose to fly in-and-out-of, depending on the size and type of aircraft that you elect to utilize on that day. These public use airports are the only available option for fast, reliable, flexible air transportation to small and rural communities in every corner of the country, providing jobs, serving as a lifeline for small to mid-sized businesses, and providing critical services to remote cities and towns in time of natural disaster or crisis. I am confident that you would agree that Transportation is the lifeblood of an economy and in many places around the world, general aviation plays a vital role in basic economic development.


In addition to your utilization of General Aviation Airports, you and your executives also fly Business and General Aviation Specific Aircraft that include:


1 x Gulfstream III

2 x Boeing 737

3 x Boeing 747

4 x Boeing 757

5 x Gulfstream V


The aforementioned aircraft are exclusively operated for you by the 89th Air Lift Wing based at Andrews AFB in Maryland, while there are other executive aircraft in-use all-through-out the United States Government. Also during your bid for the Presidency in 2008 you primarily used a Boeing 757-200ER during your campaign travels as well as other chartered aircraft. Lastly I know that you are quite familiar with several of the Beechcraft King Air fleet aircraft that are operated by the Illinois Department of Transportation that is based in Springfield, Illinois; therefore I contest that you are a heavy user of General Aviation. Unfortunately when you do choose to fly, the draconian security measures, namely the Temporary Flight Restriction System that has been adopted by your Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you personally cause significant direct financial loss to our industry members located along the paths of your chosen travel itineraries.


Now please don’t misread what I am trying to say in this letter by identifying a few of the General Aviation aircraft that you and your executives utilize, because if you didn’t use these aircraft, then it would be highly questionable how effective you and your people would be, if you all relied solely on Military and Airline service alone. All thinking people know that a Business Aircraft is 100% a business tool just the same as a Blackberry or Laptop Computer is, NOT a just a perk for 'fat-cats', 'big oil executives' and 'billionaires' as you appear to be characterizing them as such. This mischaracterization of the value of business and general aviation is now severely nobbling this country. Corporate jets are business tools with varied uses. About 74 percent of corporate jets carry sales, technical and middle-management employees to more airports domestically, none of which have airline service. It is a fact that you and your executives are very familiar with, that corporations that use General Aviation and are members of the National Business Aviation Association, earn annual revenues equal to one half of the $14.7 trillion dollar economy of the United States while they employ more than 19 million people worldwide, thus making General Aviation users the single largest economic driving force within this country.


Why then do you find it appropriate behavior for you to publically deride and denigrate such an important industry like General Aviation, especially when we are all living out a time when the entire world is struggling to claw its way out of the worst Global Financial Crisis in history?


Surely you should know from reading that General Aviation itself as a stand-alone industry directly contributes to the country in all of the following ways:


According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the United States has nearly 600,000 pilots, including over 222,000 private pilots, 124,000 commercial pilots and 146,000 air transport pilots.


In 2005, a comprehensive study by Merge Global, Inc. concluded that employment from General Aviation totaled 1,265,000 jobs in that year.


That same study pegged the national total economic contribution of General Aviation at $150 billion annually.


Additional economic impact can be inferred from the 2,200 charter flight companies, 4,144 repair stations, and 569 flight schools operating 4,653 aircraft. There are 3,330 fixed based operators, 18 “fractional” ownership providers and 261,806 airframe and power plant specialists.


Over 320,000 general aviation airplanes worldwide, ranging from two-seat training aircraft to intercontinental business jets, are flying today; 231,000 of those airplanes are based in the United States.


In the U.S., general aviation aircraft fly over 27 million hours and carry 166 million passengers annually.


Nearly two-thirds of all the hours flown by general aviation aircraft are for business purposes.


General aviation is the primary training ground for most commercial airline pilots. The United States used to be the largest trainer of pilots the world over, until the TSA put this segment of the General Aviation Industry into rapid decline because of their extreme vetting procedures.


The general aviation aircraft manufacturing industry remains a bright spot in U.S. manufacturing exports and continues to contribute positively to the U.S. trade balance. As an example, in 2008 it generated $5.9 billion in new airplane export revenue for the United States. Unfortunately sales are on the decline, thus your comments should be words of encouragement and pride instead of the current poison that you have been orating of late.


In the time period between 1994 and 2008, manufacturers of general aviation aircraft produced and shipped over 41,000 type certificated, fixed-wing general aviation aircraft worth over $182 billion. During this same period, the size of the piston engine aircraft manufacturing  industry grew by over  240 percent, generating tens-of-thousands of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States and around the world.


In the United States there are well over 230,000 active aircraft which are used in corporate and business aviation, in emergency medical service and for personal recreation. These aircraft fly over 27 million hours each year, two-thirds of which are for business purposes. around the world, an estimated 320,000 general aviation aircraft are in operation, flying in excess of 35 million hours per year.


U.S.-made business aircraft dominate here and abroad, helping our nations' balance of trade and keeping Americans in high-paying manufacturing jobs. Last October you proposed and wrote into law a bill that accelerated depreciation schedules for business aircraft purchases made by corporations to encourage companies to invest in new aircraft by reducing their tax burden. Now you propose reversing this sound economic policy.


We should be encouraging growth. General aviation manufacturers have lost 13,000 jobs, aircraft sales have fallen 7 percent, one manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy and banks have all but made aircraft loans impossible to get. We don't need tax changes to drive our industry farther into despair; we need support from our elected officials and government regulators to foster growth in business aviation.


An aspect of your Budget Deficit increase debacle is the issue of the appropriate way of funding the FAA. This issue has made the FAA a political football that has been kicked around 21 times now, with no goal scored! Worse I am fearful that you are leaning towards a user-fee system to replace the current funding through federal Excise tax charged on Aviation Fuel sales and Commercial Flight Segments, all supplemented by the interest earned by the Aviation Trust-Fund.



In reality, General Aviation makes up only about 3 percent of the operations at our busiest and costliest airports.  The system was designed for the commercial airlines.  The entire size, complexity and cost of the system are driven by airline operations.  NASAO, as one of the many advocates for reopening Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in the wake of 9/11, knows that that airport was closed to General Aviation for four years.  Yet, FAA’s costs at the airport did not decline; controllers were not laid-off or transferred.  General Aviation is obviously not a major cost driver.



In reality, user fees would require the creation of a new, expensive and unnecessary federal bureaucracy which would need to raise fees simply to sustain itself.  NASAO has watched user fee systems in other countries.  They do not seem as effective or efficient as fuel taxes.  During economic downturns – government bailouts have been necessary.  The current fuel tax system is elegant in its simplicity.  General Aviation pays at the pump.  The larger the aircraft or the farther it flies– the more it pays.


Instead of asking you to 'cease and desist' with your targeted abuse against my industry and my livelihood, I will close with an analogy that I have extrapolated from history to apply to you and government:


The German Tiger Tank was the most feared piece of artillery in World War II, however due to the size and weight of its gun, it could not fire while moving. It's armor could deflect multiple rocket attacks and shelling and in hindsight it seems that the most effective way of killing the Tiger Tank was to not engage them and instead to make them travel some distances on the hunt for action until they inevitably died from mechanical breakdowns, which were unfortunately a common occurrence for the German offensive force.


It is easy to view your current government in the same way as the Tiger Tank, i.e. you and your executives share the same characteristics by holding the reins of the most fearsome world power on the planet today, which unfortunately cannot act while moving, and instead you spend weeks, months and sometimes years of sitting in your offices debating without acting, because to do so might damage your nicely engineered condition which affords you all  life-time health and pension benefits in recompense for only a single term of service in public office.


Eventually your government, just like the Tiger Tank, will eventually grind to a standstill due to infrastructure breakdowns, and then ultimately we as a nation will be picked-off by lesser forces because of your inane system of movement and fire. China is watching and waiting…


On the evening of November 4th, 2008 in the capacious Park in Chicago that was named after General Ulysses Grant, you gave a momentous victory speech after winning the Presidency. During this speech you said: "This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can." 


We the people of General Aviation are also your people.





Jeremy Raymond Courtney Cox

Employee within the General Aviation Industry, U.S. Citizen, Voter and Very Disappointed

The Time Value of Money - A powerful tool in evaluating different cash flows

Aviation is an expensive pursuit. When looking at various options for air transport alternatives, we need a way to compare the costs of those alternatives.

One way that many get caught on is just looking at a single cost, such as the acquisition cost. Aircraft A costs $1 million while Aircraft B costs $1.5 million. So buy Aircraft A.  The US Government got into using that as the sole determinant on picking between various acquisitions. Once bidders knew the rules, they underbid the acquisition cost and grossly overpriced the costs of support, spare parts and upgrades.  In the early 1960s Secretary of Defense McNamera put an end to that practice and specified that they would look at the total cost of a project, including the cost to acquire, operate, and dispose of the asset.  This was called Life Cycle Costing.

In aircraft life cycle costing, you attempt to consider all of the costs associated with the aircraft. While acquisition cost is important, so too are the operating costs of the aircraft. In fact, after a while, the total costs of operation exceed the initial acquisition expense. 

When you finally dispose of the aircraft by selling the aircraft, that residual value reduces the total costs of ownership.  So a simple life cycle cost might look like:


               Aircraft A.         Aircraft B.

Acquisition     $1 Million          $1.5 Million

Op. Costs       $1.4                $1.2

Residual Value ($0.5)              ($0.85)

Total:         $1.9 Million         $1.85 Million

In this simplification, Aircraft B actually has a lower life cycle cost. While this is a far superior method than just acquisition cost alone, we need, or should, do more of an analysis. Allow me a diversion for a moment.

Suppose that Jeremy Cox owes you $10,000.  He offers to either pay you now, or in 5 years. Jeremy is a man of his word, but yet, any of us would choose to get paid now. 

What if the reverse were the case. One of you owes Jeremy Cox $10,000.  If you had the same terms of paying now or in 5 years, again I think all of us would tell poor Jeremy to wait it out the full 5 years to get his money.

What we have just done is assigned a Time Value to money. In both cases, $10,000 is the sum. But we correctly chose to pay our debt as far into the future as we can while asking for our income or revenue up front. 

In the case of the debt, in order to pay Jeremy now, I need the full $10,000. But if I can wait 5 years to pay him, I can put about $6,800 into an investment that returns 8% per year.  After 5 years, I will have the $10,000 for Jeremy.

So with an 8% cost of money or rate of return, my future value of $10,000 is really $6,800 today. The Time Value of money assigns not only the cost, but assigns a time cost or value to when the money is paid out or comes in.  If you do this sort of analysis with every cost and revenue involving our Life Cycle Cost, you end up with a financial analysis that not only tells what the total costs are, but also assigns a time value to each of those costs.  Summing these time values up and considering our initial investment (aircraft acquisition) gives us what is called the Net Present Value of the proposition.  This is the tool to use when considering high dollar, complex proposals such as aircraft. 

With a business use aircraft, the analysis will include things such as tax depreciation, the cost of a lease or loan and the opportunity to use the money for the aircraft in other areas.  A high net worth individual may make more money with their investments than the cost of a loan.  If the aircraft is for personal use, that same individual cannot use the tax depreciation of a business, so a lease may be a better deal in terms of the Net Present Value.

To calculate a Net Present Value, a spreadsheet can be used.  Inputs are the costs, revenues, time, and the cost of money (also called rate of return or desired return on investment). 

The Time Value of money is a powerful tool in evaluating different cash flows. It need not be for a business. It can help you to evaluate complex finances and be used as a tool to evaluate the true costs of owning and operating an aircraft.

Have any of you been involved in the financial analysis of an aircraft acquisition (or any high dollar acquisition such as a costly computer network for a business)? If so please reply and tell us your experiences.  We all learn if you share.

Trickle-Down is where the action is in Aircraft Sales

Today it is very easy to comfortably wear the rut of community despair that fits so snugly across yours and everyone else’s shoulders, while walking from meeting to meeting with a look of long and painful sorrow and a low-hanging head while muttering phrases like: “I can’t believe these values”; “my aircraft is barely above its salvage number.” “Nothing is selling”; “woe is me”, etc.

Well ladies and gentlemen please listen very carefully: There exists a business aircraft market that is zinging from real and deadly serious business that is being conducted in tens of millions of dollars every single day (or at least on the days that the FAA Registry is open for business.) This very same market shall also soon provide you with the salvation that you had so long ago given up on ever hearing it knocking at your door ever again.

Trickle-down wealth is the path to economic nirvana, and believe-me the golden tentacles of the few, are already seeping down and restoring the faith and confidence amongst the many. Have I got your attention? So where can salvation be found you may ask? Two words: ‘Large Cabins.’

The large cabin business aircraft used market woke-up last summer, and quickly went from a pipe and slippers to wearing running shoes in the blink of an eye. I believe that three factors caused the Atropine shot to this market’s heart:

1. Asking and selling prices hit their lowest point after the aircraft that had to be sold were actively being advertised waiting for a buyer, long after the casual     sellers had pulled their aircraft from the marketplace

2. Corporations and the mega-rich alike, decided that they had-had about enough of the politically-correct moratorium on private flying and decided that flying was okay again

3. The DOW Jones Industrial Average started trekking northward to conquer new dizzying heights

To support my assertions please allow me to show you the numbers:

I as well as the good folks at AMSTAT Corporation define a large cabin as any aircraft that has a maximum take-off weight greater than 40,000 lbs.

In May of 2010, the average asking price of the composite of all ‘used’ large cabin business aircraft dropped to a low of $12,750,000. In June this number started climbing until it crested in December at $13,800,000. The reason for the crest is that by the end of last year all of the ‘best-deals’ had been snatched up by hungry deal-makers. Now we shall again see this composite asking price climb again in the second wave buying spree that is already underway.

Two years ago, in February 2009, the Percentage of Active Fleet For-Sale (Large Cabin) peaked at 15.3%. Today that has dropped to 11.4%. Specific models chosen as a snapshot are at the following numbers:

Falcon 2000EX  =  9.6%
Challenger 604 =  11.3%
Falcon 900EX =  7.2%
Embraer Legacy =  9.2%
Gulfstream V =  3.6%
Gulfstream G550 =  3.5%
Global Express =  10.2%
Global XRS =  7.3%
Boeing BBJ =  7.4%

Remember that a normal healthy market for most used business aircraft (all sizes and classes) is 10%.

Since a peak number in August 2009, the number of large cabin aircraft that were available for purchase has dropped by 20% (from 635 down to 510.)

While the House, Senate; and most prospective used business aircraft buyers and sellers settled down to their long, quiet and lazy summer holidays, the DOW began its climb from 9,700 points to well over 12,000 points today. The large cabin buyers then made their long awaited jump into the used business aircraft market as soon as the climbing ascent of the DOW became a certifiable trend.

Unfortunately the majority of all aircraft in the Midsize and Smaller markets still remain stalled today, and some are plumbing the depressing depths of even lower values. Regardless of this I can confidently argue that the time is definitely coming nigh for everyone in all categories below the large cabin segment. It is distinctly a simple law of nature that ‘trickle-down’ gold will eventually make it to the absolute bottom of the deepest of all subterranean markets. All you have to do is slough off your coat of misery, rise up your head, think positive, be positive, and most importantly live positive, and soon the world about you shall change and blossom into greatness as it passes through our long lost friends: ‘it’s alive’, ‘it’s getting up’, ‘fair’, ‘average’ and ‘good.’ Trust me on this. So, will you please stop moping about and making the market look bleak and untidy, and instead cheer-up and again restart living the dream?

Another good point to look at is the number of aircraft with "Real Pricing" listed on's Aircraft Exchange.  More and more listings are getting into the "Real market value" than ever before.  It might surprise you to know that we are getting back to business!

While the numbers are showing an upswing what have you seen to prove me right or wrong?  Pilots, bankers, brokers, dealers, CFO's what say you?

There's Money For Aircraft Deals, You Just Have To Know How To Ask For It.

This article was written with the aid of Joseph Dini of Air Credit Alliance.

ABBA was a Swedish pop music group who had quite a number of hits in the 1970s. At one point, they had album sales outside of the US exceeding that of the Beatles. One of their songs had a chorus of

“Money, Money, Money, it’s a rich man’s world”

If you are looking to finance an aircraft, it may seem to you that the only ones getting financing don’t need it; that there is no money for aircraft deals. That statement is only partially true. There is money out there, but not for crazy aircraft deals. Crazy aircraft deals are as follows:

  • No 100% financing. No interest only with a big balloon payment, either. Too risky for the banks to even consider.
  • No "trust me, I'm good for it" loans. You may know someone famous, or rich, or rich and famous. It will take more than your word for the bank to lend money.  Banks need verification.
  • No old airplanes. There is still a glut of used aircraft on the market. The last ones moving generally are the oldest aircraft. Rule of thumb: the aircraft age at the end of the deal must not exceed 20 years. So if you want a 5 year loan, the aircraft must be no older than age 15 at the start.

This “no old planes” is very true in the turbine world, and even in the piston market banks are loathe to take a risk on a stable, popular piston.

What you need for a loan or a lease of an aircraft are the good old fashioned banking requirements of Credit, Character, Collateral, and Capacity.

When I use the term "bank" I mean that to cover all financial institutions that are (still) in the market of leasing and loaning money for business aircraft.  You need to prove that the deal works for the bank.

Credit. You need to demonstrate that you have the finances to acquire and operate the aircraft. Complete fiscal disclosure is needed. You need to show that your Assets exceed your Liabilities and that your Assets are able to survive an economic downturn.

Character. Who are you? Reliable, dependable, salt-of-the-earth type character counts.  If you (or your own business) has a bankruptcy history, don’t plan on financing. Consistent creditworthiness needs to be demonstrated. If your record matches that of Lindsey Lohan, then you'd better pay cash.

Collateral. No 100% financing means both a down payment and sufficient cash or cash-equivalents to secure the aircraft. Today, as a rule of thumb, you will need 20% down payment on a new business jet. As the aircraft gets older, you will be asked to come up with a larger down payment. For a 10-15 year old business jet, 50% down is not unexpected. Same for pistons, expect a sizeable down payment. You may also need to post a security deposit for a lease as well as be required to pay down the loan should your aircraft value deteriorate to an unacceptable level during the loan period.  In the event you want to sell the aircraft, this is in your benefit as you will be maintaining equity in your aircraft.

Capacity. Can you afford to not only make the payments, but also pay the bills to operate the aircraft and still pay your other debts, too? 

In all of the above, relationships matter.  If you have a significant long-term history with a bank, they should be your first stop for all financing issues. They know you, your character, and your credit history and should be able to make the best deal to secure your business.

Leasing follows similar requirements. One plus in today's market is that short term leases (two to three years) may have more attractive rates as the banks are still looking to unload aircraft. Three to ten years is a typical lease duration.  If you do not have significant business use of the aircraft, a lease may be a better deal as the bank can make use of the tax depreciation of the aircraft. Remember, plan carefully with a lease. Exiting a lease early is easy, just pay off the remaining lease payments! You may wish to negotiate for an early buy-out option if you think you may not make the full lease term.

You will need a stack of paperwork at least a high as the tail of the aircraft!

  1. Historical financial and tax information (may include your spouse too for an individual)
  2. Credit and bank references
  3. Aircraft purchase agreement
  4. Information on the seller (or dealer-broker)
  5. Used aircraft deals may be helped if there is a pre-purchase inspection already done

This is all very much like applying for your mortgage.

The rate you will get on a loan or lease will be in proportion to both what the bank’s cost of money is, the risk they see in the deal, plus their need to cover expected or historical losses, and taxes.  Today, money is cheap for the banks, but their risk tolerance is low.  If you want to check out some of the financial institutions in the aviation business, head over to the - Finance Directory

So the money is there, you just have to qualify. In 2008, aircraft lending was like a community college, almost everybody got in! Today, they are more like an Ivy League School. When looking for a loan or lease, be ready to discuss your finances, and remember that the banker you know may be your new best friend!  So if you have your best friend in hand and ready to buy or lease an aircraft offers a great place to start looking for "Aircraft for Sale" or "Aircraft for Lease".  Who knows some of them may even have Owner Financing!

Do you have any thoughts and/or suggestions regarding the Financing of capital assets (Aircraft).  What are your experiences?  The only way we learn from mistakes

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