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Old 08-30-2016, 02:40 PM   #1
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New Aviator owner

(The Aviator owner head count on forum post is too old to respond to now... )

Hi Everyone... I just purchased #1921 (Wright Flyer Touring Edition with premium paint) from Lazy Days RV in Tampa. Whoo Hoo! Lazy Days RV was great to work with BTW... great experience. I think this makes at least three known Aviators (soon to be) in Texas.

My wife and I live in Abilene, TX, but the trailer will serve as my home away from home when I'm working at the university in Beaumont, TX. I don't need to go in often, but when I do I have an 840 mile round-trip commute so I try to cluster all my on-campus activity together.

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There has been quite a bit of speculation on the depreciation/resale value of these units. The Aviators are so rare that there are almost no comps and thus NADA and other sources are just estimating with an algorithm based on original MSRP -- which was generally far above what anyone actually paid when new.

If this were a typical RV, the depreciation rate would be around 40% to 50% at year 4. The RV.org depreciation schedule (p. 4) cites 43.2% (21%+22.2%) as the number for 4-year old RV’s.

What number to depreciate from on an Aviator took a bit more detective work. I pulled all the sales data from this site (and other sources) and it appears that most people purchased when the Aviators hit the mid $40K range. Some early sales were in the $60Ks and some late sales in the upper $30Ks, but the meaty part of the bell curve appears to cluster around $45K.

If this were a typical unit (which is isn't) used value would be around the $25,500 range based on a $45K sales number. Of course true market value is what someone will actually pay for it, and that took a bit more investigation.

In my search, I found three identical Wright Flyers Touring Edition units on the market (British Columbia, Utah, Florida). Asking prices were $59,910 CAD ($45,814 USD), $48,995 USD, and $51,850* USD (*but we'll work with you).

By the end of the negotiation, I ended up at $33,423 with weight distributing hitch install and dealer provided warranty (About $18.5K below where I started negotiations). During my research I was also able to uncover a similar Wright Flyer Touring Edition that was listed on eBay almost exactly a year ago from Mid-State RV Center in Georgia for $28,500 that didn’’t sell but was then was resisted at $28,500 and finally sold with two bids for $30,000.

Not sure what that says for our resale values going forward, but clearly the market economics that doomed the Aviator line when it started are still somewhat at play in the used market. The average Joe will look right over the higher price listing looking for something less expensive. Those that want to spend for quality look for Airstreams. I found that nobody outside this forum knew anything about the Aviator line, the quality materials, or the cool interior. Dealers weren't even aware the line even existed.

I searched every possible trailer make and model in North America (and beyond). As you know, there is nothing like an Aviator anywhere. This is a extremely rare bird and they aren't making any more of them. In theory, that should be good for resale values and many of you have speculated it will be (and I now want it to be).

However, the issue appears to be to be when these units get puled into the used market churn, they are not being treated separately. I paid a premium above a wooden box unit of similar size and year model, but not that much more. The number of buyers looking for an Aviator is currently too small to justify a seller's market. I had no competition in my negotiation and appeared to be the first serious inquiry at the two dealers in quite a length of time.

In my opinion... if we want to grow our Aviators' value, we as a community are going to need do more outreach to educate the general public about what makes these units so great. It sound like that happens at every campground you visit, but we might think about holding more rallies (crashing the airstream ones), generating youtube video's and other social media activity, etc.

As for me, I'm SUPER happy to have one and can't imagine selling it. Great to be part of the community!
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:12 PM   #2
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So glad you found one! Congratulations!
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:24 AM   #3
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Congrats on your new Aviator! Sounds like you did lots of research and got a really great deal. We enjoy ours a lot and plan to pass it on to our kids someday. The camper is definitely a novelty item at the campgrounds and it is fun to have something so unique. Our campground neighbor from Texas calls it the Alien Ship!
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:13 PM   #4
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Saltman. Congratulations on your new investment. I'm sure you will not regret it as it's a great unit. Get used to virtually everyone that walks by asking "what is it". We made 20 copies of the original brochure to hand out to the folks that start asking questions about it or we would be giving guided tours for our entire stay. Not that we don't appreciate the admiration, just want privacy inside. Besides, the cats would not like the traffic inside.
We [owners] can help you with any problems or possible mods you may want to make. Mine is my hobby and I spend a lot of time with it.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenHwy61 View Post
Congrats on your new Aviator! Sounds like you did lots of research and got a really great deal. We enjoy ours a lot and plan to pass it on to our kids someday. The camper is definitely a novelty item at the campgrounds and it is fun to have something so unique. Our campground neighbor from Texas calls it the Alien Ship!
Hi Ken! I was reading in another post that your unit shipped with the MOST system. As I was digging around the trailer this weekend I discovered the manual for the Sony tablet, the router for the MOST system
(strapped on top of the subwoofer), but no tablet or software.

I've got some background in home automation controls so I'm not so much as interested in the tablet itself as I am in how the tablet interfaced with the other controls. I've ordered a Piper nv Alarm System and it also serves as a Z-wave controller. I'd like to integrate other functions into the Piper system if I can.

Do you know where to find technical information about MOST?
Has anyone made a image of the SD card?
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:17 AM   #6
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Mine did come with a Sony tablet and SD card and I did use the MOST system a few times but found the Sony factory tv remote works much better and never needs recharging or a reboot. The tablet was not that great. If I remember right, you can stream videos through the tablet or the Sony Blu ray player if you have a really good internet connection with unlimited data. That can be hard to find in campgrounds. My SD card is in my camper but can look at it next time I go. Not sure who could answer your technical questions as far as integrating the MOST system into the Piper. I know Eddie (Blackhat6mike) just put in a satellite system so he may have some answers.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:37 PM   #7
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Wish I could help with the Sony tablet issue, but not the best person to ask as I'm NOT tech savvy. I used the tablet before I installed satellite TV and haven't tried it since. Too much trouble carrying around the tablet from room to room when everywhere there is a TV, there is a dedicated remote even though one remote [RF] works all TVs in the unit.
I use the tablet when traveling just like any other tablet. Way more convenient than a full sized laptop. That's just me. A personal choice thing.
BTW, loving the satellite system.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:49 PM   #8
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I guess I'll get start digging deeper and looking for control devices. I'm sure I can figure it out.

The Piper nv alarm system is up and working. In the event someone breaks in (opens a door or triggers the motion detector), the unit sounds a 100db alarm, uploads all video captured to the cloud, and sends alerts to everyone on the notification list.

It also has a nice environmental interface that allows for temperature alerts and actions based on temperature (e.g. turn on an electric heater located in the basement).

I've also been able to hack together a GPS tracking system that alerts if the trailer is moved beyond the RV park. Cost $11 per month for the data connection, but still much less than other alternatives.

I'm not generally a paranoid person, but I feel a lot better about leaving the Aviator unattended at the RV Park for weeks at a time.
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:53 PM   #9
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I was able to spend some quality time reverse engineering the MOST system. This was difficult given that I don't have the Sony Tablet, so I'm not 100% sure I have everything figured out.

The best that I can tell from looking at the hardware and settings of the controlled systems is the MOST system controlled devices over IR control. The Sony tablet was effectively an expensive universial remote control. The Linksys router appears to have only been used to stream video to the Sony TV's as each TV in the trailer is linked to the router in the settings. Beyond that, I'm not seeing any other automation controllers or hardware.

The keyless entry system on this touring edition model was either reset to the default code or never set to begin with. If you have one of these, do make sure to change the settings so it can't be opened by anyone who knows the default code. It is a simple task to do.

On a related note, I have the Piper up and running as an alarm system and it is now configured to turn on a electric heater when external temps drop below 38F. We're a long way away from anything that cold in Texas right now and the temperature graphs show even with two AC units set to 74F, the trailer is still getting up to 78F in the heat of the afternoon (95F and full sun). Shade would absolutely help!

Had a chance to check out the GPS tracking/notification system and it's working very well.

Still loving it so far!
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Old 09-18-2016, 03:31 PM   #10
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Never had any problem with either one of the AC keeping the unit cool. The main unit cycles on/off when set to 72* during 100* weather and 90% humidity. Only the BR unit runs at night when we sleep. The white noise helps me sleep.
My roof is covered with solar panels, so that may be keeping the heat away.
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