Insurance?

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TXFlyGuy

Well-Known Member
In the above chart, it's mind boggling that the single deadliest (literally) issue is the one that is the most easily prevented...maneuvering at low altitude.

I'm guessing this does not include flying in the local traffic pattern, and setting up for a landing. Probably more "cowboy" like events, buzzing the girlfriend's house, buzzing the airport or whatever.

Even stupid and careless flying does not have to be fatal, but obviously it is or can be.

Probably this depends on the aircraft to some degree. Throw in a replica Warbird, and a Saturday afternoon with friends, and a pilot who must prove his manhood (or flying skills), and you have potential disaster.

n6233u

Active Member
HBA Supporter
I race cars and fly aircraft, in racing we always say "You'll never enjoy racing until you are comfortable pushing the racecar off a cliff".

My insurance doubled last year, so I chose the liability only option. I feel the same way about my aircraft, I can probably safely land in a field or highway, walk home, get my trailer and bring the a/c home to be fixed and flown again. I am building an RV-7A and plan to do the same with it as well.

BJC

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
I race cars and fly aircraft, in racing we always say "You'll never enjoy racing until you are comfortable pushing the racecar off a cliff".
In flying, I think it is important from a safety perspective to treat the airplane as expendable. That's probably easier if you haven't spent hundreds/thousands of hours building it. I suspect insurance does help some owners, at some level, to put the plane down in the cornfield rather than try to stretch the glide back to the runway, so maybe it saves some lives.

TXFlyGuy

Well-Known Member
In flying, I think it is important from a safety perspective to treat the airplane as expendable. That's probably easier if you haven't spent hundreds/thousands of hours building it. I suspect insurance does help some owners, at some level, to put the plane down in the cornfield rather than try to stretch the glide back to the runway, so maybe it saves some lives.
Stretching the glide? That's exactly what happened a number of years ago, right here where I live. A Chief Pilot for American Airlines had one bank of his Merlin overhauled. He took the P-51 up for a test flight after the work was done, carrying a passenger in the back seat. Soon after takeoff the engine had a catastrophic failure. Not wanting to put his 2 million dollar airplane in a field, he attempted the "impossible turn". Stalled, spun in. The passenger survived, the pilot did not.

Turd Ferguson

Well-Known Member
In the above chart, it's mind boggling that the single deadliest (literally) issue is the one that is the most easily prevented...maneuvering at low altitude.
The FAA uses a slightly different term, loss of control or LOC - any unintended departure from controlled flight. It's the number one cause of accidents and fatalities (~1 LOC accident every 4 days) and seems to be easily preventable. However, many loss of control accidents point to pilot inexperience and proficiency. Not many pilots are interested in that. And to make it worse, many pilots have a unrealistic view of their own skills.

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Stretching the glide? That's exactly what happened a number of years ago, right here where I live.
IMO, this is where Sullenberger earned all the accolades he's received. He had enough understanding of his airplane to make an accurate appraisal that he couldn't get back to any runway. He considered a return to LaGuardia, he considered Teterborough, TRACON even offered him Newark. More impressive, he resisted the temptation to try. Every external influence and a lot of internal habit patterns were pushing in that direction.
If the subsequent investigations had found that he could have made it to Teterborough (barely, in the sim, with perfect knowledge of the winds, etc), I suppose the Monday morning quarterbacks would have roasted him. I think most folks who fly airplanes would still be in his corner, or should be.

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
the single deadliest (literally) issue is the one that is the most easily prevented...maneuvering at low altitude.
That is two deficiencies; judgement and piloting skills.
He took the P-51 up for a test flight after the work was done, carrying a passenger in the back seat.
Again poor judgement, by two people.
However, many loss of control accidents point to pilot inexperience and proficiency.
I agree.

BJC

Hinckley Bill

Member
Sad to see insurance starting to become such a 'BIG' factor in being able to own/fly a homebuilt.
While I don't own a Home Built aircraft I do build and fly remote control aircraft, prop and turbine driven......price range $5K to$12K. Homeowners insurance specifically denies coverage for such items UNLESS all you're asking for is 'fire and theft' protection.
RC flyers as a group are fortunate to have an organization (Academy of Model Aviation) which provide blanket coverage: Membership includes $2,500,000 personal liability insurance coverage,$25,000 Medical Coverage – AD&D Policy ($10,000 Death Benefit),$1,000 Fire, Theft and Vandalism Coverage, PLUS access to low-cost commercial liability insurance.
We must have insurance if we fly at public flying sites, or if the Club we belong to rents property from a private individual.
Is there nothing similar to this for Home Built aircraft owners?
The biggest issue staring us in the face is the proposed FAA remote identification requirement for each aircraft we own......this single issue could be the beginning of the end of the RC hobby if it's put in place as it's now proposed.

Bill

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have hull insurance on my Hatz now; on all my previous planes I only had liability... the previous planes I could afford to replace, the Hatz I can't. Though I now certainly wish I had hull on the Starduster...

But hull insurance can also be a lifesaver. "When the fan stops turning the insurance company owns the plane," so save your butt, don't worry about saving the plane unless you're certain you can do both.

TXFlyGuy

Well-Known Member
My hull coverage is slightly less than what normal retail might be in a depressed market, not what we have invested in the complete build. My thinking is in the event it should happen, the plane is to be sacrificed to have the best outcome for the pilot.

We suspect that next spring the underwriter will deny coverage.

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BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
A total aircraft parachute might be an option. Apparently, they claim to help even at low altitude.

Wanttaja

Well-Known Member
In the above chart, it's mind boggling that the single deadliest (literally) issue is the one that is the most easily prevented...maneuvering at low altitude.
My original database term for this was SALA: Stupidity at Low Altitude. Some considered it too flippant.

I'm guessing this does not include flying in the local traffic pattern, and setting up for a landing. Probably more "cowboy" like events, buzzing the girlfriend's house, buzzing the airport or whatever.
Yup... plus flying in box canyons, though that's a minority of the cases.

While Maneuvering at Low Altitude (MLA) and Continued VFR into IFR have the highest rate of fatal accidents, the actual rates of occurrence are pretty low. Only about 4.3% of all homebuilt accidents involve MLA. However, about 12% of all FATAL accidents involve MLA...that's more than one in ten.

There's an old pilot's poem about the joys of buzzing... it ends with "And don't you like the flowers I'm holding in my hand?" Think it was by Gill Robb Wilson, but haven't been able to find it.

Ron Wanttaja

Lendo

Well-Known Member
I'm wondering if a turn back to runway after engine failure at low altitude is included in these stats.
George

Wanttaja

Well-Known Member
I'm wondering if a turn back to runway after engine failure at low altitude is included in these stats.
No. I assign an "Initiator" for each accident, which is the first anomalous event that starts the accident chain. For cases like you mention, the Initiator would be the engine failure, not the subsequent stall. It would not be included in my Maneuvering at Low Altitude statistics.

I set up the system this way due to a concern that mechanical failures might be getting "lost"...the Probable Cause attributing the accident to a stall, while the narration being clear that the airplane had problems. This is why I read the narrative of each accident and assign my own initiator rather than using the NTSB's PC.

I do assign a flag to the accident if the NTSB Probable Cause includes a mention of stalling or loss of airspeed, which makes post-engine-failure stall statistics relatively easy to derive. About 12% of the accidents where loss of engine power was involved mentioned a stall, compared to 17% of the non-engine-failure cases. But this is based on finding keywords in the PC, and is not as precise as I would like.

Ron Wanttaja

Bille Floyd

Well-Known Member
In the above chart, it's mind boggling that the single deadliest (literally) issue is the one that is the most easily prevented...maneuvering at low altitude.

I'm guessing this does not include flying in the local traffic pattern, and setting up for a landing. Probably more "cowboy" like events, buzzing the girlfriend's house, buzzing the airport or whatever.
...
Why would you say that ?
Every flight, by Every pilot in an aircraft ; involves : "maneuvering at low altitude" (.)

A guy only has to fly me once , and if he didn't have a viable option
for an Out landing during the flight ; i will Never get in his aircraft
again , (Ever) !

Bille

Bille Floyd

Well-Known Member
A total aircraft parachute might be an option. Apparently, they claim to help even at low altitude.
Depending on the weight of the aircraft :
a light sport, or ultralight , could maybe take the shock-load of a 3-second full
deployment , without damage ; but for heavier aircraft, there is a ring that slides
down the bridals , so as to allow a slower deployment as the aircraft slows down.

The one time i actually tossed laundry ; i had to pull it all the
way back in, and redeploy , and it opened 15' before i hit the ground.
NOT a fun day ; the whiskey had essentially, (0) effect on me, that night !

Bille

TXFlyGuy

Well-Known Member
Just heard from another T-51 Mustang owner, and his rates for all coverages have quadrupled for the policy renewal.
For me, that would put my premium in the $22,000 ball park. BBerson Light Plane Philosopher HBA Supporter Depending on the weight of the aircraft : a light sport, or ultralight , could maybe take the shock-load of a 3-second full deployment , without damage ; but for heavier aircraft, there is a ring that slides down the bridals , so as to allow a slower deployment as the aircraft slows down. The one time i actually tossed laundry ; i had to pull it all the way back in, and redeploy , and it opened 15' before i hit the ground. NOT a fun day ; the whiskey had essentially, (0) effect on me, that night ! Bille The technology is advancing. I think they are working on chutes for passenger drones with no lower altitude limits. Last edited: Vigilant1 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter Just heard from another T-51 Mustang owner, and his rates for all coverages have quadrupled for the policy renewal. For me, that would put my premium in the$22,000 ball park.
There are about 60 T-51's in the US, and 11 have had loss of power and subsequent damage that prompted an NTSB report. Let's assume 75% of those have been total losses/near total losses. If you've got $150K in hull insurance on your plane, and your likelihood of an accident is the same as the pool of T-51s, the actuarially neutral annual premium would be$20,625. That doesn't include any liability coverage, just the hull. This ignores any salvage value the insurance company gets for the avionics/hulk, etc, but it also ignores the many claims they pay that are short of total write-offs or have no NTSB report.
So, as a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate, your existing $5K premium was quite a bargain, and even a$20K premium isn't unreasonable given the losses that have been experienced.

Yes, if I were paying those premiums, I'd be cross. Still, just based on the history, I can understand it.

Does the T-51 have a strong "type club" that gets involved in helping builders/pilots reduce accidents? Clearly, it would be in everyone's benefit.

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TXFlyGuy

Well-Known Member
Yes, my current premium ($5400) was a bargain. And a claim was filed on my plane, ground not in motion. It was a moving accident.$12,000 insurance claim.

My estimate for T-51’s flying in the USA would be close to 100. With about 50 or 60 flying in foreign countries.

Maybe there are 100 flying outside the USA, if only 55 are registered here.

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