A helicopter doesn’t make money sitting on the ground. That’s why more than 2,215 pre-owned piston and turbine helicopters changed owners in 2016, according to fleet tracking company Jetnet. A good number of these were direct transactions between a buyer and a seller, but many others would never have happened without the hands-on participation of a helicopter broker to bring the buyer and seller together.
For the first 50 years of the civil helicopter industry, brokers sold aircraft by word of mouth or print advertisements.
“Everything was a lot simpler through the 1980s, when guys confirmed a sale with a handshake,” said Ed Eckhart of Eckhart Helicopter Sales of Grayslake, Illinois. “But as helicopter values increased, deals became more complex and required more attorneys and more time.”
With the growth in use of the Internet in the 1990s, helicopter brokers had to change their business model and focus on client services that capitalized on their deep knowledge of the marketplace.