We were a little involved with ZAS as a supplier.
One day to our surprise we read in the Flight magazine ZAS had gone bankrupt, usually owing the fuel-company and the airport-authorities large sums of money.
Later on it was listed to be auctioned. We received a technical specification of the aircraft, reviewed the engine-disk-sheets, indicating hours and cycles.
Without inspecting the aircraft, we done a quick calculation and estimated the four engines would have a value of US$ 125,000.00 each = US$ 500.000,00.
Our bid would be US$ 400.000,00.
We had a verbal agreement to do the deal with a partner and agreed they would put up US$ 200.000,00. We decided it was easier then a loan from a bank. No date was set for the auction.
Roswitha and myself flew to the island of Rhodes for a weeks holiday. Kevin called us on Monday, informing us that the auction was on the following Thursday and the condition: 25 % of the bid as a bank-guaranty.
Kevin got a letter from the bank covering US$ 100.000,00 and showed up in the court in Den Haag and presented the letter with his passport.
Eight people were there.
A couple of heavy weights from Dublin. An Egyptian requested permission to bid, even though he had not complied with the requirement.
Kevin objected, even though he was the youngest in the group.
The Aircraft was then to be Dutch auctioned by the court of the Netherlands.
The auction comprised two sessions: the 1st round of bids takes the form of a normal auction until the last and highest bid when the auction stops.
This took place at approximately US$ 320.00,00 with AAA Aviation Advisory Agency in the front seat and the man from an Irish company was not pleased.
The auction was not over. There is then a 2nd round of bidding. When the judge started at around US$ 800.000,00 and drops the bid step by step until a bid is made and the 1st bidder in this count-back phase is the winning bid.
Kevin waited rather apprehensively until the Judge called the bid at approximately US$ 400.000,00 and the aircraft was “in the bag”.
The court administration of five percent we off course had not figured in the bid, so that came to US$ 20.000,00.
The package-deal was therefore US$ 420.000,00.
The man from the Irish company in Dublin was now even less pleased.
Kevin signed for ownership and returned to Luxembourg, called the partner only to learn that he had backed out.
Kevin called us in the Greek island and old us the good and the bad news.
· 1st he bought the aircraft,
· 2nd the bad news: no partners.
The next 48 hours was spent calling everybody that owed us money. We managed, even though the holiday was ruined.
The Egyptian called us and wanted to buy the aircraft. Kevin and myself met him and his partners. We agreed on a simple contract, had it notarized.
By this time Kevin became famous. This was the 1st ever large commercial aircraft auctioned in The Netherlands.
The aircraft was registered……
……and the airline called itself Memphis.
It was operated out of Oostend/Belgium for about three years. The rest of the story we are not sure about, but we believe the nose-gear did not centralize during take-off.
It jammed and the “UP” position, causing a lot of damage during landing.
The insurance paid Memphis.
We tried to buy the aircraft from the insurance for US$ 100.000,00 and scrap it.
The owner got it and more then likely the engines are still churning around some place.