The student pilot was attempting to land the Cessna 172 when a gust of wind lifted the right wing, which caused the airplane to move to the left. The student pilot said he did not properly flare while trying to realign the plane on the runway and it landed hard. This resulted in a blown tire, along with damage to the propeller and firewall. The NTSB determined the probable cause as the student pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control, which resulted in a hard landing.
November 30, 2016 - The flight school has insurance so the airplane will get repaired and be back in service after three or four months and the insurance company will pick up the $30,000 tab. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it? However, there’s more to this story.
Shortly after the accident the student pilot received two letters: one from the insurance company for the flight school and the other from the flight school. The letter from the insurance company advised the student pilot that the damage to the rental aircraft was due to the student’s negligence and the insurance company would be moving to recover the $30,000 cost to repair the aircraft from the student pilot. The other letter from the flight school stated that in accordance with the rental agreement the student pilot signed when they started taking lessons the student is responsible for the lost income while the aircraft was out of service for repairs, which the flight school’s letter stated amounted to $6,000. Needless to say, the student pilot was not having a good day when the accident happened and the day the letters arrived wasn’t any better.
Any time you fly an airplane you don’t own, even if you are a student pilot taking flying lessons with a flight instructor onboard or flying solo after being signed-off for supervised solo, if you damage the airplane you may be held responsible for the cost of repairs or the total cost of the airplane if the airplane is a total loss. You may also be held responsible for the loss of use while the airplane is being repaired. Accidents happen, we all know this, but what you also need to know is how to protect yourself.
EAA Insurance Solutions administered by Falcon Insurance Agency, Inc., offers non-owned aircraft insurance for EAA members that provides liability insurance, physical damage insurance, and insurance for loss of use. This insurance is easy to buy and it is not expensive, especially when you compare the cost of the insurance to the cost of a damaged airplane and the potential for loss of use.
If you have questions about non-owned aircraft insurance you can call 866-647-4322 and talk directly to an aviation insurance professional from Falcon Insurance Agency Inc., or checkout your options in the EAA Insurance Solutions Resource Center. With EAA Insurance Solutions, you will find the right insurance at the best price!
Bob Mackey is senior vice president with Falcon Insurance Agency, the official administrators of EAA Insurance Solutions. If you have any comments about this article or if would like to see a specific aviation insurance topic addressed in a future article, send him an e-mail.