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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Craigslist Aircraft Sales

by GlobalAir.com 12. February 2018 15:00
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One of the aircraft we considered listing for sale on Craigslist
One of the aircraft we considered listing for sale on Craigslist

Craigslist.com is a website for online classifieds where thousands of people post their items for sale, help wanted, or even go to search for a date. I have personally had success with the website by finding my current rental house advertised when I checked the site on a whim. However, there are hundreds of stories out there of people getting scammed and cheated by buyers and sellers on the site, including a story as recent as this week where a woman lost $1,550 in a Craigslist check fraud scheme.http://buffalonews.com/2018/01/20/woman-says-she-lost-1550-in-craigslist-check-fraud-scheme/

Hundreds of Aircraft For Sale On Craigslist

One might be surprised to learn that there are actually hundreds of aircraft advertised for sale on Craigslist as well. But is it really a good idea to search for such a valuable asset on a site that has had a fairly controversial history? I took a look into the world of buying an aircraft on Craigslist and I want to share the good, bad, and ugly of what I found. As always, common good aircraft buying practices should be followed, such as getting a pre-purchase inspection and a title search showing a clear title. If possible, purchasers should seek out a purchase agreement in order to protect both parties. Proceed with caution, but maybe don’t overlook Craigslist in your search for your dream airplane.

The Good

Unlike your regular aircraft for sale websites, Craigslist doesn’t have much of a filter for what aircraft related things people can post. Most searches lead to listings of aircraft parts, advertisements for flight schools, and even a few pilots looking to find others to start a “timeshare” type of deal with their existing planes. It should certainly be mentioned that these can be good opportunities, and you just might find a way to save money by sharing a great plane with other owners instead of buying one.

This is also one of the cheapest options for listing your plane, as it appears there are no listing fees for individual sellers. If you’re selling from a dealership you do incur some fees, but they’re only $5 per listing. You are able to reach a large audience with this website, because it has such a large following to begin with. https://www.craigslist.org/about/help/posting_fees

The Bad

One difficult thing about searching for an aircraft for sale on Craigslist is that the site is organized in a very specific way that does not encourage searching locations other than your own. Instead of simply searching “aircraft for sale” and seeing all aircraft listed on the site, you have to first drill into the Craigslist page for the area where you want to look. Most major cities and counties are included, but having to search through pages and pages of these just to find the aircraft in the first place is overwhelming. The idea behind Craigslist is that you’re buying from people in the local community, but a good deal on an aircraft that you’ve been looking for could very well be thousands of miles away. This isn’t a problem on other aircraft for sale sites, because they mostly list by aircraft category and rarely by location.

A big thing to keep in mind when buying or selling on Craigslist is that the website has no control over the transaction. They do not guarantee purchases, process payments, and there is certainly no Craigslist seller verification process. They have done a lot to cover their butts in case something goes wrong, so they will almost never be found liable for a purchase gone wrong.

The Ugly

During my research on the topic I did find a pretty hilarious article where someone was trying to sell their Cessna 172 H on Craigslist… Using a photograph of the plane lying upside-down on its back. Evidently the ’68 Cessna got flipped when a tornado went through town, but the owner was still asking for $16,500. It has since been flipped and sold, but I’m not sure I would purchase a 172 in that condition!

https://jalopnik.com/5941947/this-upside-down-airplane-is-for-sale-and-can-be-yours

Another notable “best of Craigslist” is the Corvette-Mooney hybrid that a man made in his backyard. By putting the fuselage of a 1963 Mooney on the frame of a 1984 Corvette, the seller has created the most hideous hybrid of car and airplane one could think of. Not even bothering to match the paint schemes, the red of the Corvette does little to blend with the white and blue of the Mooney. Perhaps intentionally colors of the USA? I hope this is a joke, but it has to be seen to be believed.

https://jalopnik.com/this-backyard-airplane-corvette-monster-is-pretty-much-1750179686

 

Perhaps a better use of Craigslist would be to search for aircraft parts or flight schools. In the end, Craigslist is little more than a community bulletin board where legitimate sellers and scammers alike can post whatever they please. Proceeding with caution is the best way to start your aircraft search on this site, but you just might find a treasure if you look hard enough and be patient.

One of the aircraft we considered listing for sale on Craigslist
One of the aircraft we considered listing for sale on Craigslist

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