A friend of mine asked me if I watch professional basketball on TV. My knee-jerk reaction was to joke that I only watch the last 2 or 3 minutes because that’s when the game is exciting and is won. Then it occurred to me that some think that the closing call of a business aviation transaction is where “it all happens” and what an unfortunate perception that is. Like basketball, or any other sport, the game is won long before the last two minutes or the two-minute warning. There is planning, hard work and during the 3 3/4 quarters before the end is when each team is studying, learning, and planning for the end-game. You can see during a Heat game that Lebron James and Dwayne Wade are studying their opponents, testing the defense for weaknesses, and seeing where their opponents’ strengths are, so that when the time comes, they can execute their strategy and score. If an aircraft purchase agreement is signed, and a business aviation transaction goes smoothly at the end (we like to say “closes with a fizzle”), with relevant registration, state tax, federal tax, DOT, FAA and other issues addressed, it is only because a great deal of work has been done, and experience brought to bear, to plan for it. The old practice that you hear from some of just signing a “form” purchase agreement and delivering a bill of sale are long gone. Business aircraft transactions are complex, and require significant attention to many different issues.
So, when I’m asked again if I watch basketball, my answer will be “I may only watch the last couple of minutes, but I appreciate that it took 58 minutes of blood, sweat and tears to get there.”