Hundreds of people
came to the first-ever EAA Spirit of Aviation Auction where
50-plus airplanes were available for sale. The auction was held
in the Jack Mark Hangar on the north side of Wittman Regional
Airport. Photo by Jim Koepnick
If the number of people sitting or
milling around the Jack Mark Hangar was an indication, the first-ever
EAA Spirit of Aviation Auction was a much-anticipated event.
Fifteen minutes before its scheduled
start all 240 chairs were filled, leaving standing-room only in the
hangar, located on the north side of airport next door to EAA's Weeks
Sellers, buyers, and observers were there
to see the 50-some airplanes up for bid-a diverse collection of
homebuilts, warbirds, seaplanes, light-sport aircraft, jets, and others.
"This is a great turnout," said
Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman/president and convention chairman. Our goal
is to provide new opportunities and activities to our members. We are
committed to making this an annual event."
After the auctioneer explained how the
bidding process works, he had a "practice round" where the
crowd could bid on a 787 Dreamliner. The crowd quickly caught on, with
bidding starting at $1 million and quickly escalating to $150 million.
"Boeing just called," he said,
joking to the winner bidder. "They want to know if you'd like a
whole fleet at that price."
But soon there was no joking, as the
auctioneer belted out the starting bid of a Cessna P337 and then asked
for higher bids in staccato fashion.
The high bid for the Cessna was $75,000,
while the high bids for an Alon Aircoupe A-2 and a V-35B Bonanza were
$22,500 and $117,500, respectively.
The high bid for a Lake Amphibian
DA-4-550 was $225,000, $150,000 for a Lancair/Columbia 300, and more
than $900,000 for a Socata TBM 700.
However, reserves were not met on a
majority of the planes, and only five airplanes actually sold.
Glenn Barnhart, of Camp Hill,
Pennsylvania, said he sold his 1946 Stinson 108-1 at the auction.
"I decided to sell it here because I would get better
exposure," he said. "I've never been involved in anything like
"I flew out to Oshkosh in the
Stinson, but now I have to walk back," he said.
"Not really," he quickly added,
laughing. "I have a way back."
Dale Gultch, of Brookfield, Wisconsin, came to the auction as an
"I've never been to one before, and
I wanted to see the operations since I'm thinking of maybe selling my
own aircraft," he said.
Jose Iturbide of Guatemala was also at
the auction as an observer, and he was interested in what the TBM 700
would sell for. "It's the plane I really want. But this year, I'm
just doing research here."
Russ Darrow, of Houston, Texas, said he
was also an observer. "I'm here to see what kind of prices people
are getting and doing my research.
"But next year I'll probably
participate." He was most interested in a Helio 391B.
David Van Gaalen, of Lethbridge, Alberta,
put in bids on several airplanes. "I like that you can see all the
airplanes at one location," he said.
"Plus, it's one more thing to do
here for the week. "It makes coming to AirVenture more fun."
Mickey Meekins, of Lumberton, North
Carolina, was another bidder at the auction interested in the TBM
700-and several other planes.
He predicted that auctions would become the norm to sell airplanes in
"I'm really proud of the EAA
president for doing this," he said. "I think this is the best
thing they've done in a long time.
"EAA spent a lot of money on this,
and it was really well-organized. They even over-advertised it because
of the bad market."
The auction was conducted by real-estate
auction company REDC and Auction.com, working in conjunction with EAA.
Proceeds benefited EAA's youth and educational programs.