Meet an airplane repo man

The New York Times recently (March 14) ran a story profiling Ken Hill, a professional airplane repossession specialist (Foreclosing on a Plane, Then Flying It Away). Given the state of the economy, Hill is working flat out making his way from one airport to another with the tools of his trade: A propeller lock, a portable radio, hand-held GPS device and a fanny pack stuffed with hundreds of keys. J. Emilio Flores for The New York TimesAccording to the Times, Hill normally reposes about 30 planes a year (everything from propeller-powered Piper trainers to luxury Gulfstream business jets) but last year he reposed 50 aircraft and this year it could be 100. His clients? primarily banks that specialize in aircraft loans. Hill is also an aircraft dealer but if he can’t retrieve a plane’s log books, he will unlikely be able to sell the plane for what its worth.

Anyway, the article serves as a reminder to all airplane owners or would be owners that airplanes cost money – large sums of money to buy and maintain. Given the state of the economy, demand for chartering airplanes, the traditional source of income to help offset the cost of maintaining an airplane, is shrinking – keeping airplane repossession specialists like Hill busy.

Nevertheless, the article concludes with a cautious note for anyone thinking of entering the airplane repossession business:

Mr. Hill would not disclose any financial details, but he said repossession is not a lucrative career. (He did, however, say it is more interesting than his a somewhat similar sideline career as a registered bounty hunter in California.) Nor does his day always run smoothly.

“I once had a lady chase me through a hangar with a yard rake,” he said. “I just tell them, ‘I have a job to do.’ If they did what they were supposed to do, I wouldn’t be here.”

12 Responses to Meet an airplane repo man

  1. KELVIN April 24, 2009 at 18:21 #

    I bet this is an interesting job. I repo cars and I am now tring to get into recovering aircrafts. If you dont mind Mr. Hill I would love to get a little information from you, if you have time. Just to see how to get started in this business.



    • Matthew Stibbe May 4, 2009 at 08:15 #

      This isn't Mr. Hill's website. You'll need to contact him directly.

    • Nick October 4, 2014 at 03:05 #

      They people who are steal aircraft by repossession should be tried in court the same maximum security prison and charge with terrorism because they think if 9/11 was easy to steal a plane and kill millions on americans.who know what these terrorist can do and they should be stop.

      • Nick October 4, 2014 at 03:06 #

        These people

      • Brian October 27, 2014 at 08:48 #

        What the heck are you talking about? What you said makes no sense at all. Why should a repossession agent be treated like a terrorist for taking back bank owned property that isn’t being paid for? This has absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 at all and in fact this has been a business ever since the first aircraft loan was defaulted on, probably 80 plus years now.

      • 40 year pilot July 16, 2015 at 03:26 #

        What in the world are you talking about?

  2. LaNell Barrett February 22, 2018 at 21:13 #

    Nothing like Aeroplane Repo on Discovery.
    Kevin Lacey sums it up well….’Fly it like you stole it!’
    With a usual ‘yee-haw’ from the sexy Texan.

  3. Kennon D Dosher April 21, 2018 at 01:39 #

    Totally a joke. Fake staged and mostly commercials…wasting good TV air time

  4. Kennon D Dosher April 21, 2018 at 01:40 #

    Worst show I’ve seen in yrs. Should be a cool topic but completely unable to believe any part is real.


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