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.

AirFleet Capital Celebrates 5,000th Aircraft Financed!

5000thaircraftsocialmedia pic

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.

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!

Financing for your Year-End Aircraft Purchase

‘Tis the season for list-making… so don’t forget to put purchasing an aircraft tops on that shopping list!  2011 is coming to an end, which means if you are looking to cash in on those year-end tax incentives that a business aircraft provides, now is the time to line up your closing.   We always see a rush of buyers in December, so to help with your planning, here are some dates to keep in mind if you need to close before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st:

1.  The last day to submit a complete financial application package to ensure an answer and closing before year end is Wednesday, December 14th for deals above $750,000 and Monday, December 19th for deals below $750,000. (Please Note: if you have multiple partners or companies, you will want to add a couple extra days for financial review.  If applications are submitted after these dates, we will do our best to get the deal closed before year-end as the above are offered as good guidelines).

2.  The FAA/Banks are closed Monday, December 26, 2011.  We will not be able to wire funds or file documentation at the FAA on this date.

3.  December 30th is the last day to close (wire funds and file registration documentation at the FAA) in 2011.

**In the past, weather has played a factor in affecting closing dates by shutting down banks and/or the FAA.  It is always best to start the process early to ensure there are no delays.

The holiday season is a busy time and we are happy to help you move through this process as quickly and efficiently as possible.  If you have any questions on your specific financing situation and documentation needed, do not hesitate to contact us at 800-390-4324.  We will be happy to walk you through the steps and get you flying before the New Year!

Wrapping up – trading in our traveling shoes for aircraft buyers!

As we launder our last show shirt, re-acquaint ourselves with our neglected yards, and spend the last dollars we earned at the Poker tables during NBAA Las Vegas; we trade the fun, but grinding travel of the air show season for the rush of year-end in the aviation world!  Sorry for the delay in our updates, it has been a busy (yes, we said it!) September and October around the office – woohoo!

As we finish our busiest travel season, we want to take a quick look back at the two main events this fall – first stop, AOPA Summit.  Typically one of our busiest shows, the weather took a toll on this year’s attendees.  Low-clouds and rain throughout the entire event really hindered pilots’ ability to fly into Brainard Airport.  An aircraft financing reception held at the show, however, was filled with upbeat lenders, hungry for business… our necessary shot of enthusiasm and great news for buyers and sellers alike!  Last stop: NBAA.  We were all pleasantly surprised at the amount of traffic at NBAA this year.  After a few years of uncertainty at this show, it was great to hear reports of record attendance and rumors of quite a few sales during the event.  Just walking in on the first morning, we could tell it would be a good year – the lobby was packed with lots of eager attendees that quickly funneled into the Halls and Static Displays.

We are happy to report that many people we met at Airshows throughout the year have moved forward to finance their purchase recently.  We are looking forward to keeping that momentum for a big year-end finish!

Short-Term Rates Drop

At AirFleet Capital, we offer a variety of rates and terms to meet the differing needs of our clients.  Terms in many cases, extend to 20 years for private-use aircraft built within the past 30 years, with fixed and variable rate alternatives.  Fixed rates have recently dropped to new lows – with rate offerings in the low 5’s for loans over $100,000.  This isn’t a significant departure from where rates have been throughout most of 2011, as rates started the year in the mid- to upper 5’s for this same segment.  However, shorter-term rate products have dropped more significantly in the past few weeks, providing a unique opportunity for aircraft buyers who trade-up frequently (i.e. within a 3-year time frame).

Our 3-year rate product (a 3-year ARM or Adjustable Rate product), adjusts each 36 months during the term of the loan, which could extend to 15 or 20 years.  This rate product is now hovering below 4.50% as of this post (4.39% on 8/19/11) – a great rate incentive for buyers.

What type of customer would use this shorter-term rate product?  We find that many of our clients refinance or upgrade within a 3-4 year window.  This may include refinancing to upgrade/overhaul the engine, improve the avionics panel, update the paint/interior, or to step-up to an entirely different aircraft to get better range/payload performance.  This type of loan program is great for those buyers.

Thinking about refinancing instead of something new?  You may be asking yourself, “when does it make sense to refinance my aircraft loan?”.  Consider this; in most cases the fees to refinance are minimal – much lower than are often found in the home mortgage industry.  If you do not have a pre-pay penalty on your current aircraft loan, you may find that as little as a 1/4 point drop (0.25%) in interest rates will provide a benefit to you in less than 9 months for larger loans (i.e. loans over $1MM).  For loans in the $150,000 to $500,000 range, you may need to see a 1/2 point rate reduction (0.50%) for a benefit within the same period.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade with a different financing product, or considering refinancing to lower your rate, now is a great time to lock in low interest rates!  Please give us a call and we can prepare a financing proposal to meet your needs.