2014 Year-end Aircraft Financing

December is here and the countdown to year-end is upon us. With the year-end push, it’s important to remember the FAA and banking holidays and schedules if you’re planning to purchase, finance and close before year-end.  Couple this with planning for extraneous events (i.e. an ice storm in Oklahoma City that may shut down the FAA title office as happened last year), and we recommend considering the following timetables to meet a year-end closing target.December Note that Applications can still be submitted after these dates, but meeting year-end closings may be compromised.

  • For loans over $2 Million, we recommend submitting completed credit applications no later than December 9th.
  •  For loans between $750,000 and $1.99 Million, we recommend submitting completed credit applications by December 15th.
  • For loans below $750,000, we suggest a target of no later than December 17th for submitting a completed credit application.

Note also please the following this year:

  • December 24th – FAA typically closes early (Wednesday)
  • December 25th – FAA and banks are closed
  • December 26th – FAA projecting limited staffing (Friday)
  • December 31st – FAA typically closes early (Wednesday)

20 Years of Aircraft Financing


As of November 1st, AirFleet Capital is now celebrating it’s 20th year in supporting General Aviation through aircraft financing.  Over the years we have hit countless milestones that have made us what we are today, and we couldn’t have gotten here without incredible industry partners and our outstanding customers.

Steve Smestad founded AirFleet Capital in 1994 after a successful career with aircraft manufacturers: Fairchild and British Aerospace.  After growing up in an airplane family in Montana, Smestad searched for a way to combine his passion for general aviation with his strong background in aviation finance and marketing.  Through this, AirFleet Capital was formed.  AirFleet’s original mission was to secure leasing and loan options for aircraft buyers, but this mission quickly evolved into a sole focus on providing exceptional aircraft loan products in support of the General Aviation segment.  Founded on a commitment to offer low rates, exceptional service to our customers, and developing long-term relationships throughout the industry, AirFleet now celebrates 20 years in support of this mission.

Over the years we have expanded to support the United States through offices in Virginia, Arizona and Georgia.  Our commitment is quality – not fast growth, and in building long-lasting relationships with our customers.  AirFleet is proud to have surpassed our goals and expectations for the past two decades and looks forward to continued support of the aviation community for years to come.

Summer at Oshkosh 2014



Oshkosh 2014 will go down in history due to the half-million attendees walking the AirVenture grounds this year. The general aviation parking areas were full to capacity, while Whittman Regional Airport controllers had to turn away aircraft to land at other airports. People of all ages crowded the hangars to see the newly featured aircraft and lined up for the first-ever appearance of the Air Force Thunderbirds. Whether you were meeting up with old time pals, stopping by your favorite booths, or this was you first ever Air Venture experience, you were sure to have an unforgettable time.

The amount of aircraft that came to Oshkosh this year was unbelievable. We were able to witness over 2,649 aircraft- including Ultralights, Seaplanes, Light-sport aircraft, Warbirds, Rotorcraft, Aerobatic aircraft, Homebuilt, Vintage airplanes, and Hot-air balloons. The One Week Wonder was also being assembled at Oshkosh by EAA members’ and any Oshkosh attendee wanting to help with the 25,000 rivets needed to complete the airplane. The aircraft was then cleared for take-off on August 5th, for its first flight.

The airshows were incredible this year. If you stayed around after the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday shows, you were able to see Air Ventures first Valdez STOL demonstration competition flights.  Although everyone cheered each other on, a competition is still a competition! Frank Knapp took first place with a winning distance of 134 feet. Knapp stated, “The people here really care about general aviation, and I think the normal guy can really relate to this and our lifestyle.”

There has been a lot of talk about the new aircraft coming out and we have answers. At a press briefing on July 28th, Dale Klapmeier, CEO and founder of Cirrus Aircraft, said the company is on track to deliver the first production examples of the SF50 Vision personal jet to customers before the end of 2015. The seven seat, single-engine jet has been under development for a number of years, and currently has 550 orders waiting for production. EAA’s French diesel-engine manufacturer SMA updated the attendees on its new 4 cylinder engine offerings. The company is working with Cessna and Lycoming to prepare for deliveries of Cessna’s Turbo Skylane 182 JT-A certification. Last year, SMA presented SR460, a six cylinder concept diesel, which was designed to offer 350-400 hp. The world’s fastest certified single-engine piston aircraft is the Mooney M20TN Acclaim Type S with a cruise speed of 242 knots. The first new Mooney aircraft was on display throughout the fly-in and was sold through an online auction for $646,000. The entire amount will be donated toward the Mooney History Museum at the company’s Kerrville, Texas, campus.

Air Venture at Oshkosh was definitely one to remember. We want to thank the 5,400 volunteers and all of the passionate aviators who made this all possible. All of us at AirFleet Capital enjoyed meeting with you and thank you for stopping by our Airplane Financing booth- we value our passionate aviation enthusiasts who enjoy general aviation and the community as much as we do.  See you all next year and safe travels!

Oshkosh 2014 picture
Fly-In Convention at Oshkosh 2014


AirFleet Capital Celebrates 5,000th Aircraft Financed!

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AirFleet Capital celebrated our 5,000th Aircraft Financed on June 9th, 2014, averaging 250 loans per year since our inception in 1994!  This is a big milestone for us and provided time to reflect on all of the relationships we have built during our tenure as an aircraft financing company.  It has been an honor and pleasure to be a part of aviation’s perseverance during the ups and down our industry has seen.   AirFleet’s CEO, Steve Smestad stated, “This milestone is significant and important to us because each one of these 5,000 loans represents a specific customer with whom we’ve forged an important relationship.  Each closing represents the realization of the dream of an aircraft owner, flight student, entrepreneur and business of all sizes.  We are very proud to play a small part in each customer’s realization of this dream.  We share our customer’s passion for aviation, and we spend 100% of our daily focus on the General Aviation marketplace.  Our primary goal is on doing the right things for our customers and our business partners.”  For those of us passionate about flying, we understand there’s no better place than in the sky, and no better people than those we have met through our shared love of taking flight.  We feel so grateful to be a small part of our shared, rich history.

The real recognition belongs to our customers and Aviation Industry partners that put their trust in us to get the job done, allowing us to continue our work in an industry we are excited about each day.  You are what keeps our dedicated team going.  As we look back, we are proud of what we have accomplished, but more importantly, the relationships we have built all over the country (and beyond!).  We value these connections above everything else and never lose sight of the opportunities they continue to afford us.  THANK YOU for believing in, and sharing this piece of your lives with us!

Please contact AirFleet Capital with questions or to receive aircraft financing information from our experienced staff at 800.390.4324.

Summer in Oshkosh? AirVenture 2013 Update

photo (2)It’s usually about this time that we are a few days deep into AirVenture and going a little crazy with the bugs and the hot,muggy, dog days of summer in Oshkosh that we’ve grown accustomed to… but not this year!  With cool weather in the 70s and beautiful skies every day, AirVenture has never seen a week as beautiful as this!

For 2013 the show is as exciting as ever – the “JetMan” made an appearance, we witnessed a re-enactment of Tora Tora Tora, the arrival of FIFI (B-29), a salute to aviation war veterans, and the launch of Disney’s new movie PLANES.  Beechcraft announced their largest prop plane order ever (105 new KingAirs), Cessna had their new JetA Cessna 182 and Columbia 400/ Cessna TTx, Cirrus has their “Generation 5” SR22 in a beautiful newly designed booth, and Piper partnered with Kirby Chambliss and had his exceptionally well appointed Meridian and Extra aircraft on display.  The buzz about ADS-B is also picking up, with products and presentations by Bendix King/ Honeywell and Garmin on-site, as the avionics companies ramp-up for the 2020 mandate.

The hangars are packed with vendors and passionate aviators, and Whitman Regional Airport, with the world’s busiest control tower – is crammed with passionate aviators and tons of pilots sharing stories.   We have met a lot of our clients along with excited buyers at our booth.  Such a wide variety of what people are buying, but all are excited to get flying – and even moreso with our low rates right now.  It is a great time to buy!

More than any other aviation group, EAA reminds us of why we love Aviation, which makes us so honored to be a part of the industry – what a lucky group full of so many awesome people and a long, proud history. This is how we all love to remember Oshkosh and our time spent here.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth – it was a pleasure meeting you, and until next year, safe travels and blue skies!

AirFleet Capital Welcomes Michael McDonald

AirFleet Capital is excited to announce our newest member of the team, Mike McDonald.  Mike joins our operations team as an undemikerwriter with a B.S. in Business (emphasis on Finance and Banking).  Raised in St. Louis, he studied at and graduated from the University of Missouri in 2012.  Before moving to Arizona, Mike worked for a large lender in their Mortgage Servicing division.  He enjoys golfing (we are all looking forward to him teaching us a thing or two) and is an avid baseball fan (we are all looking forward to converting him from a Cardinals fan to a D’Backs fan in the coming years)!

We know Mike will be a great addition to our crew and welcome him to AirFleet and our big aviation family!

Spring Fever – purchase and finance a new airplane!

It’s Flying Season!

Spring has arrived and across the country, people are gearing up (or at least daydreaming about it while they’re digging ou134399-stock-photo-green-dark-freedom-spring-flying-umbrellat!) to jump back into their airplanes.  Whether to  get out and see those clients you haven’t met with all winter, take the family to your favorite spring break destination, or just enjoy seeing the earth come alive from above, each of us start getting the itch after a long, cold season, to take flight.

AirFleet has seen some positive signs of the economy warming despite record low temps across the country this year.  With tax incentives extended to 2013 and the ability to still buy an airplane at a great price coupled with our low, fixed financing rates – this first quarter has been the busiest we’ve seen since 2008!  We have high hopes that the momentum will continue and increase as buyers with Spring Fever begin making purchase decisions.

Please contact AirFleet Capital to get an aircraft loan quote on that airplane you’ve been eyeing.  With flying weather and all the holiday bills paid off, it’s a great time!  You can call to discuss options with a financing specialist at 800.390.4324 or you may request a quote online.  If you are considering a purchase anytime this year, it is always good to get pre-approved for a dollar amount while you shop.  Approval is free and it allows us to be ready to close quickly once you find “the one.”

Get out there and enjoy – safe travels!!

AirFleet Capital Welcomes Sarah Riffell

AirFleet Capital would like to introduce our newest employee, Sarah Rifell.  Sarah has joined our team as the in-house accountant. sriffell She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Accounting and is currently working on her CPA.  Sarah comes to us from her previous position as a staff accountant at a Certified Public Accounting firm.  Before this, Sarah was born and raised in Oregon, moving to Arizona in 2003 where she was a bookkeeper/technician for a Laser Hair Removal company while pursuing her degree at ASU.  She now resides in Arizona with her husband and daughter where they enjoy staying active with rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and crossfit.

We are all excited to have Sarah join us and would like to offer her a very warm welcome to the team and great addition to our Arizona office!

2012 Year-end Aircraft Financing

25 Days left in 2012 for customers to buy an aircraft and cash in on the great tax incentives and historically low interest rates this year!  Financing is still readily available for you December buyers out there!2012

As we gear up for a big year-end rush, we know many of you are purchasing before the clock strikes midnight on 2012.  If you are interested in financing that purchase, please see the important dates and recommended deadlines below to ensure a smooth closing before December 31st:

December 14:
Last day for complete credit application submissions for loans above $1 Million to arrange financing before year-end
December 21: Last day for complete credit application submissions for loans below $1 Million to arrange financing before year-end
*Please note: applications can still be submitted/closed after these dates, but meeting year-end goals may be in jeopardy.

December 25: Christmas Day (Closed)
December 31:  New Year’s Eve
(please note many employees at the FAA and Banks leave early both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, making it more difficult to handle a high volume of late closings these days)

Plan ahead as weather can impact the best-laid plans.  Oklahoma City has been known to get weather this time of year, shutting down the FAA and Title Companies.

Since December is the busiest time of year for many of us (including dealers, banks, title companies and the FAA), response and action can become more sluggish the closer it gets to 12/31.  Getting approved asap and working out the details in advance ensures a smoother transaction.  If you are still deciding between a few different options, get pre-approved for a finance amount today, then finalize your plans with the funds in your back pocket.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and get started today at 800.390.4324 as we quickly approach our suggested application deadlines above.  We look forward to hearing from you and helping you ring in 2013 with your new bird!

The 4th Quarter Countdown

We can’t believe it is already that time of year, the 4th quarter is upon us.  With optimism that this past year seems to have stabilized, we are looking forward to an uptick the last months of the year as business buyers who have turned the corner satisfy a tax appetite (see BLOG: Tax Incentives), and those of us who feel more personally comfortable decide to get back into purchasing for fun!

For those interested in financing their year-end purchase, it’s best to get the process started early.  With approval expiration at90 days, we are inside the window for all purchases in 2012.  Even if you have not picked out an exact aircraft, there is no application fee so now is a great time to get approved for a loan amount – shop with the funds in your back pocket, and feel confident to close on a hot aircraft deal you come across quickly.

It is also the busiest time of year for dealers, escrow companies, the FAA, banks and finance companies.  Due to the volume of transactions, sometimes response and action is slightly delayed the closer you get to December 31st.  That being said, we are happy to work with someone who decides to purchase a plane starting mid-December, but to avoid stress and the risk that the purchase could get pushed into the new year, it’s always best to have the details worked out before then.

For a quote, or to get started on the application process, please contact us at (800) 390-4324.  We look forward to hearing from all you early birds soon!