Who Is Your Aviation “Expert”
Aviation is a powerful magnet that draws small children to retirees, and most in between. Many are passionate and quick to claim expertise and develop strong convictions. There is no shortage of really bad advice everywhere as a result.
Finding a qualified expert means being able to sort through who actually knows what, and this isn’t easy. Aircraft buyers and owners often massively misjudge the skills required of their advisors tasked to help with big commitments involving large amounts of money. It is a commonly observed paradox that highly accomplished business leaders sometimes rely on completely unqualified pilots or “friends of friends” for help and horrible mistakes often result. A pilot is usually not an engineer, business expert, scientist, structures expert, avionic specialist, lawyer or forensic accountant or evaluator. Just as you probably don’t want a lawyer flying your airplane, a pilot or an untested “expert” making commercial decisions, recommending commercial choices, negotiating, or even drafting your agreements is inherently high risk and almost certain to be the cause of subsequent regret.
Is Your Advisor Working For You?
The most basic of all steps is to make sure that your advisor is working for you. An advisor not bound under a written trust agreement is a completely unnecessary risk. Tempting side deals and personal incentives are in easy reach and rarely disclosed. Binding the advisor in a fiduciary relationship is an important precaution necessary to define the advisors loyalty from the outset.
Experienced experts know what they don’t know and when it is necessary to get technical or professional assistance to finish an assignment. There is no substitute for technical credentials in support of solid commercial judgment. We all see terrible choices made almost daily – foolish “once-in-a-lifetime airplane deals” or hopelessly naive advice given by unqualified “friends of a friends” allegedly “in the know”. Wasteful and sometimes very embarrassing as the word spreads in a very tight community.
Properly qualified help costs comparatively pennies. Nothing when compared to the costs of even small mistakes.