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Who Gets The Job Of Repossessing Airplanes?  
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1573 posts, RR: 7
Posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 12410 times:

I have always been curious about who gets the job of repossesing an aircraft when the leasor falls behind in their payments or simply stops flying. Does the airline fly a crew in under cover of night and "sneak" it out or are there companies that specialize in this? I imagaine some airlines just willingly surrender them.

Years ago I recall reading a fascinating story of how TWA got their 727 back after the Beirut hijacking. They were afraid the aircraft had been wired with explosives or had been disabled deliberately. They were able to get it out and fly it to Crete (IIRC) for a complete checkout. The article said the interior had been vandalized and it stank to high heaven but was flyable. After that it wasflown to MCI for a complete overhaul and I remember seeing a picture of Captain Testrake being reunited with "his" airplane.

Does anyone recall where that article appeared and if it can still be pulled up through the magic of data bases?


Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineairkas1 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2003, 3968 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 12375 times:

I still have an aircraft repo article bookmarked, very interesting read: http://www.salon.com/2009/06/06/lear_jet_repo_man/

[Edited 2013-01-20 07:14:39]

User currently offlinecptkrell From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3220 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 12280 times:

Last year there was an interesting TV series (on the "Dirty Jobs" series, I think, Discovery Channel) on aircraft repossession featuring Nick Popovich's airplane repo business. Sage -Popovich, Inc. is located in Valparaiso, IN and is one of the foremost a/c repo businesses worldwide. They often sneakily, and with some certain danger depending on the country, repo everything from SEL up to Airbus and 747. Helicopters, too.

Interestingly, they'll sometimes find an a/c is "junk" when they get it "home" and make money by parting it out.

Really neat TV series, hopefully they'll rerun it. For interest you can access Sage-Popvich, Inc. online for background, overview, etc. regards...jack



all best; jack
User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10351 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 12078 times:

I recall, a few years ago, an article in Air & Space Smithsonian magazine an article about just this subject. It may have been Sage - Popovich, but I don't recall. Fascinating article, though.


"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11952 times:

It's done by the owner of the aircraft, in most cases the leasing group or bank. The sneaking on to the airport and snatching the aircraft is very rare.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10351 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11866 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 4):
in most cases the leasing group or bank.

But they don't do it themselves.......they contract out a company like Sage-Popovich to do this for them.

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 4):
The sneaking on to the airport and snatching the aircraft is very rare.

I'd be willing to bet that it happens much more often than you think.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 11838 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 5):

I've been around aircraft leading most of my career. Never once have I known of any sneaking around. In every case the airline was very cooperative.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlinecornutt From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 338 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 11789 times:

Quoting cptkrell (Reply 2):
Interestingly, they'll sometimes find an a/c is "junk" when they get it "home" and make money by parting it out.

I watched one of the episodes where they determined that the aircraft that they were supposed to repossess was unflyable. (Birds' nests in the engines, water leaking in the interior, that sort of thing.) They rented some hangar space at the airport, had the aircraft towed in there, and then paid a local mechanic to disassemble the aircraft and part it out.


User currently offlinecptkrell From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3220 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 11774 times:

Perhaps for TV drama, all (or surely most all) of the Sage-Popovich efforts in the series envolved this very clandestine type of operation. I remember one installment showed the difficulty of sneaking in and installing batteries in an Airbus at certain opportunities when airport security was "on break" (this was in a Middle Eastern country) so they could ferry it to a fuel stop before returning to the USA. These instances are for sure when the operator refuses to give up the a/c voluntarily. Some "past due" operators actually hide the aircraft and S-P, Inc. has "private detectives" to locate the properties before a repo crew designs a way to retrieve. regards...jack


all best; jack
User currently offlinen92r03 From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 337 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 11748 times:

Happened locally a couple weeks ago. From the pic, it looks like no "sneaking" around as local law enforcement was present.
http://www2.tbo.com/news/travel/2013...irport-while-130-passen-ar-600776/


User currently offline777STL From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3562 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 11621 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 6):
Never once have I known of any sneaking around. In every case the airline was very cooperative.

From watching the Sage-Popovich TV series, it seems to be mostly privately owned aircraft, not commercial airline aircraft.



PHX based
User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10351 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 11509 times:

Here's the article I mentioned, from the May 2010 issue of Air & Space Smithsonian magazine.......it IS about Sage-Popvich


http://www.airspacemag.com/history-o...ight/Grab-the-Airplane-and-Go.html



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineavek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4336 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 11354 times:

Among other things, if a lessor thinks a bird might be repossessed anytime soon, the company is going to send folks to te airline's maintence record storage areas, as a full copy of the aircraft's maintenance history is required in order to place that plane anywhere else.


Live life to the fullest.
User currently offlineFI642 From Monaco, joined Mar 2005, 1079 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11076 times:

Honest carriers/operators are cooperative. I have dealt with dishonest ones-
and they made it very difficult for the aircraft owner to recover the aircraft.

These are the same folks that wrote a cheque for a C check. There obviously
was no money in the account to pay for the work, but they didn't really care.



737MAX, Cool Planes for the Worlds Coolest Airline.
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1573 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 11021 times:

Fascinating article about Popovich. I can only imagine how dangerous it could get in many parts of the world to reclaim an aircraft. Sound like they have it down to a science.


Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
User currently offlineVC10er From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 2866 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 10884 times:
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How did VARIG handle the repo of their MD-11 in Miami? They were late beyond belief and after pax deplaned the police just took it. I don't know if RG ever got it back?


The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
User currently offlineGSPflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 367 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9430 times:

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 14):
I can only imagine how dangerous it could get in many parts of the world to reclaim an aircraft.

I read somewhere that he had a death warrant in an African country. Anyone know which one?


User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10351 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 8958 times:

Quoting GSPflyer (Reply 16):
I read somewhere that he had a death warrant in an African country. Anyone know which one?

In the first part of the article, he mentions that fact, but wouldn't divulge the name of the country.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineCaptCufflinks From UK - England, joined Dec 2012, 92 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7196 times:

I remember seeing one of the episodes with Nick Popovich where he repo'd an A320 by extracting it out to the Azores, then hopping the pond from there.

I've tried to find them online to watch and link here, but have been unsuccessful. If anyone else has links, it would be great to watch once again.


User currently offlineGrahamiii From Ireland, joined Jan 2013, 1 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 6295 times:

I do, i work for a company that helps leasing companies and airlines ferry their aircraft around the world.

User currently offlineCX Flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6587 posts, RR: 55
Reply 20, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 6282 times:

How on earth can you just take an airliner? How do the crew get through security? Who does the pushback? Who drives away any ground equipment? Who refuels it? Who files a flightplan with ATC? I've never watched the series, maybe it would answer my questions but it seems like an almost impossible feat.

User currently offlineSkyguy From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 480 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5817 times:

In 2003 a 727 went missing after taking off from Luanda, Angola, it is believed the aircraft was being repossesed but details were murky. The FBI got involved as in those days after 9/11 a missing plane could mean that it had been stolen b terrorists. The plane was never seen again and wreckage has never been found.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N844AA



"Those who talk, do not know, and those who know, do not talk."
User currently offlinerduddji From Lesotho, joined Jun 2004, 1457 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 5641 times:

Quoting cptkrell (Reply 2):
Last year there was an interesting TV series (on the "Dirty Jobs" series, I think, Discovery Channel) on aircraft repossession featuring Nick Popovich's airplane repo business. Sage -Popovich, Inc. is located in Valparaiso, IN and is one of the foremost a/c repo businesses worldwide. They often sneakily, and with some certain danger depending on the country, repo everything from SEL up to Airbus and 747. Helicopters, too.

I think I would rather see the guys from "Lizard Lick Towing" repo an airplane.   That being said, I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of repo's are done with permission from all involved.



Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10351 posts, RR: 14
Reply 23, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 5547 times:

Quoting CX Flyboy (Reply 20):
Quoting rduddji (Reply 22):
That being said, I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of repo's are done with permission from all involved.

Read the article http://www.airspacemag.com/history-o...ight/Grab-the-Airplane-and-Go.html



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlinecf6ppe From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 346 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 5097 times:

Here is a link to a 2008 thread on the Aircraft Repossession topic...

What Happens When An Aircraft Is Repossessed?
What Happens When An Aircraft Is Repossessed? (by Planenutz Aug 6 2008 in Civil Aviation)


User currently offlineplanesmart From New Zealand, joined Dec 2004, 871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (1 year 6 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4868 times:

So exciting in the movies and TV, but.............

Financiers have experts monitoring their clients, and the clients suppliers, for early warning signs of problems (asset managers).

99% of re-possessions are amicable, often initiated at the request of the client.

For the 1%, interest / debt forgiveness may be agreed, and / or cash paid, to ensure all documentation, spares, plus the aircraft are handed over complete and undamaged, though it can be staff, rather than management, who are the least co-operative.

That basically leaves country risk, for which there is insurance.

GA is different, because u have financial issues, plus relationship matters (such as marraige break-ups, family feuds, inheritance), and it's easier to conceal, move, break up and destroy the asset. The same challenges faced re-possessing vehicles.


User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10351 posts, RR: 14
Reply 26, posted (1 year 6 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4848 times:

Quoting planesmart (Reply 25):

So you're saying that the article I posted is "fiction"???  



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
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