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Movin on UP! (Transition Training)

By Bob Mackey, Vice President, Falcon Insurance Agency, Inc.

The aviation community encourages pilots to sharpen and enhance their flying skills, to explore aviation by learning more. One of the great things about aviation is when we learn something, we generally want to learn more. Whether we are working to obtain a new certificate or rating, or just taking additional training to be a better and safer pilot, we like to be better, and that’s a very good thing. And with the new arena of sport pilot and light-sport aircraft we all have a new opportunity to further advance our aeronautical knowledge.

Regardless of whether you are an airplane owner or a user (borrower or renter), there are some things to consider when deciding to “move up” in aviation. This installment of EAA Insurance Tips will touch on some of those “things.”

Number one, safety must be the first consideration. I’ve always wanted to experience hang-gliding, however I’m over 50 and I’ve got to ask myself whether or not I can do this without breaking something I don’t want to break. I know hang-gliding can be safe, but how do I approach this element of aviation safely? If I want to learn how to hang-glide I had better find the right way to do it. The same applies to any area of aviation we may want to enter. In other words, if you are thinking about picking up a new certificate or rating, do it right. Plan!

Second thought; make sure you take reasonable steps when movin’ up. If you are a private pilot with 100 total hours, should you purchase a 300+ mph aircraft? If you think you can just buy it and go, and find aircraft insurance, the answer is probably no. But you can move up to a high-performance aircraft provided you are prepared to do it right, which means taking proper training.  Be prepared for this key ingredient!

Next, check out all the details. If you want to transition to a more complex aircraft or to an aircraft you don’t have any experience in, you need to look at the issues, one of which is insurance. Two things you will discover: First, you will pay more for your insurance because aviation insurance companies experience more losses on pilots transitioning to a new area of aviation, which results in a higher premium.

Second, aviation insurance companies will require an appropriate amount of training. In some cases, you will be required to take a specific amount of dual instruction, or obtain additional ratings. In addition, some companies will ask for a designated amount of solo time before insuring you to fly with passengers. Be prepared to check out all the details and work through the requirements, and if you aren’t located near a flight school or instructor that can train you then you are going to have to plan around this hurdle. Also, make sure you’ve got an instructor lined up that will meet the aviation insurance company’s requirements.

Lastly, if you need to find aircraft insurance, and if you are only a renter pilot, you should contact the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan Specialists at the Falcon Insurance Agency to make sure you are properly protected. The EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan and the EAA Non-Owner (Renters) Aircraft Insurance Plan can help you get the aircraft insurance you need. Call 866-647-4EAA (4322) or visit www.eaainsurance.org. That’s your first step if you are planning on movin’ on UP!

Think safety! Make a plan! And call the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan.

EAA INSURANCE TIPS is a special EAA Member benefit. If you have an insurance related topic you’d like to see addressed or if you have any comments, please email bmackey@falconinsurance.com. If you need an insurance quotation call 866-647-4EAA (4322).

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