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Thread: Liability of flight instructing... is it worth it?

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyinhood View Post
    There are many reasons to "give back" by instruction. Fear of liability is easily soothed by having an appropriate insurance policy.

    My opinion:

    WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TAILWHEEL INSTRUCTORS. The safer the hobby is the less accidents, ground loops, and insurance hikes we'll see. If you want to fly with others for charity or whatever, that's your business.

    Personally, I charge adults. The youth I fly with typically come from single parent homes and are just excited to fly. They are on the house with payment for cleaning planes and helping change oil and stuff.

    I wasn't born with a full logbook. Other people helped me along the way. I try to remember that.
    Just wanted to support this approach and let you know I share your sentiments.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
    Many great comments and advice on this thread. This article I found lays out a 4-step process for protecting one's self against liability. I summarized it in case you don't want to read it.

    R -- Release: have a good one
    I -- Insurance: have it
    S -- Scrutinize: pay attention to details. Look carefully at the student, and follow a syllabus
    C -- Care/Caution: Be precise, follow details, do the log book carefully

    Anyway, I'm still thinking about instructing but I'm less excited about it than I was a few weeks ago! Maybe I need to find another way to give back that doesn't endanger the livelihood of me and my family.
    Add one more thing to consider, if instructing in someone else's plane:

    Inspect the aircraft AND it's logbooks, and perform a weight and balance.

    I know of a VERY experienced flight instructor and DPE who did a flight test in a seaplane.

    There was some sort of incident involving the owner of the plane later, and the FAA was involved.

    They then went back to the flight test with the DPE and did some math. Apparently, it would have been impossible for those two gents to have LEGALLY flown that airplane within legal gross weight.

    Note in the long story posted above in this thread that the airplane involved was not legal to fly. Either over gross or unairworthy can bite you big time.

    I can't tell you how many pilots who've asked me to do a flight review or other instruction in an airplane which we could not legally fly with any gas aboard.

    I was asked to do a SES add on once, and looked at the logbook. Airplane had never been signed off for the float installation. The owner had bought the plane on floats, and apparently didn't catch that. Installation was fine, but no logbook entry.....

    I also agree with the assertion that we should all consider giving back. Do some checking around your area, I'll bet you'll have trouble finding a "qualified" tailwheel instructor, a CFI "qualified" in a particular aircraft type, etc.

    One of the reasons I became a CFI was that I was chastised by a very experienced CFI, who pointed out to me that I'd had the privilege of flying with a number of very experienced pilots, in a lot of scenarios other than a paved runway. She suggested rather assertively that I owed it to other pilots to share some of that experience.

    I've done that for years, because she was right, and she stopped short of hitting me with a stick till I agreed to work on the CFI. And, she was my instructor in that process. Thanks, Francie....

    Many here have a lot of hard earned experience and knowledge. There are a lot of folks on this very forum who give a lot back, and I for one sincerely appreciate their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise.

    I encourage you all to consider becoming a CFI and share some of that experience and knowledge with others. Take some basic precautions as discussed in this thread, and give something back to folks who may have no other source for the instruction that will make them a safer pilot.

    MTV
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  3. #43

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    So, Mike - how many modified Super Cubs can haul two guys and enough fuel to do a flight review? Yes, I am sure the one ton Cub STC does it, but I am seeing Super Cubs without that kit, but with big tires and safety cables, etc., that weigh in with a 400 lb useful load.

    Isn't that where liability insurance comes into play? The seaplane horror story was an insurance loophole. My CFI insurance has the same loophole - climb in to an RV without five hours in that type and I have no liability insurance. Liability insurance does cover negligence, and failing to check weight and balance is indeed negligent.

  4. #44

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    The RANS S-7S fits into the Advance Ultralight category in Canada, (similar to the US LSA category). No matter how much money you spend on liability for the student, the maximum coverage amounts to $300,000. (In Canada). That’s it. On a non paying pleasure flight I have $1M coverage on the same seat. Deeming $300,000 not remotely enough, I had a law firm draw up a liability waiver which they said may or may not work in the court system, however, it was at least a gate in case something happened. I was ok, but barely, with this. Since beginning instructing in Feb 2005 till now, I can say I’ve enjoyed almost all of it, having an interesting mix of students of which most of them were able to teach me something as well. Prior to instructing, skills were maybe 7 or 8 out of 10 and very quickly went to a 9.5 or 9.9 out of 10. Because you want them to see the best you can do, those students are going to go out and represent you as an instructor wether we’re aware of it or not. And, students tend to try to kill you, or at least, wreck the whole thing, so you’re skills are going to improve real quick as you’re immediate and correct actions are 100% necessary. As mentioned previously, it’s important to know something about you’re student, at least know people that know them. I haven’t provided any instruction to a total stranger. A bit of a background check is essential- this person is going to have their hands on the controls- do you know them at all?? In the past 3-4 years I’ve gotten away from ab initio simply because those inquiring can only fly every 3rd Saturday if they aren’t coaching basketball or taking the wife to horseback riding lessons. Generally, not serious. If they’re not available a few mornings a week, then I’m not available to instruct. They must be serious about learning before I’m serious about instructing. All the recent instructing has been tailwheel training which I enjoy, especially after the C172 pilot up front recognizes right off the bat that “this is almost like learning to fly again”! Which is quite true actually. With this sudden realization they are now ready to watch, listen and learn. However....the liability issue is bugging me now more then ever. Age, maturity? Some assets, not a lot but some. If there is a mishap, an injury or worse, all that stands in the way is a signature on a waiver. That’s it. Should I stop instructing?
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  5. #45
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    There are, in my opinion, four kinds of instructors. 1) Building time.. 2) Can't find another job.. 3 ) Career (love it) 4) Post career, staying connected..
    The Liability, is relative.. isn't it sad that we have to consider "what we have to lose"....
    A First Officer of mine back in the 80's, that has now, become an "International Aviation Consultant".. passed on to me, this statement..

    America is an odd place. The fundamental philosophy currently being sold to its inhabitants is "nothing is your fault--someone else is to blame". This is reflected in the evolution of America's culture. Like a wise friend of mine from Finland recently said to me: America is the only nation that provides a 24/7 diet of sex, drugs and violence in its popular culture and then seeks to blame everyone else for the results.

    Bob D
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  6. #46

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    Type 5: Gainfully employed. Instruct not because the instructor needs more flying hours but rather the enjoyment of seeing others learning the art.
    Last edited by flyinhood; 10-29-2020 at 10:56 PM.

  7. #47

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    Trust no one!!!! If you charge for your signature than get insurance and pass in on to the ones that you train. Now the question is if you want to just pass it on and do not charge for the service are you liable??? Need a REAL legal opinion on this one!
    DENNY

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Trust no one!!!! If you charge for your signature than get insurance and pass in on to the ones that you train. Now the question is if you want to just pass it on and do not charge for the service are you liable??? Need a REAL legal opinion on this one!
    DENNY
    Sorry to say, Denny, but that one is easy. Not charging just means he can't demand his money back. Doesn't protect you from a negligence claim.

    Disclaimer: I'm only licensed in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. But I doubt things are much different anywhere else.
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  9. #49
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    An unfortunate example of today's culture:
    A friend of mine use to give Young Eagles rides in his Cessna 170. Took a young teenage girl and her younger brother for a ride. Right after liftoff she turned to him and said, "My momma said if you hurt us we're going to sue you." He made a 180, landed, and let them out. Stopped giving Young Eagles rides after that. Sad. Momma had already conjured up the scenario of her kids getting hurt and didn't so much care about that. Just looking for a payday from the "rich guy with an airplane."
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWE View Post
    An unfortunate example of today's culture:
    A friend of mine use to give Young Eagles rides in his Cessna 170. Took a young teenage girl and her younger brother for a ride. Right after liftoff she turned to him and said, "My momma said if you hurt us we're going to sue you." He made a 180, landed, and let them out. Stopped giving Young Eagles rides after that. Sad. Momma had already conjured up the scenario of her kids getting hurt and didn't so much care about that. Just looking for a payday from the "rich guy with an airplane."
    I’m sort of the same. When Young Eagles first started I organized events and participated in others. I was a “Flight Leader”. Then the scandal came out that caused EAA to require that an adult pilot shouldn’t be alone with a kid. Now while 99.99 percent of the pilots were on the up and up, all it takes for one adult to do something stupid and everybody is suspect. Or, worse, all it takes is for some kid to say something to his parents about you that isn’t true but ruins your life. So I welcome the rule (suggestion?) that there’s another adult be along. I’m not sure I have the rule right as I stopped paying attention about the time this happened.

    Another example is Angel Flight or the other groups that provide transportation for medical needs. Many of the guys around here who used to do that now do “Pilots and Paws”. Dogs rarely take legal action.

    It’s just too bad. And in some cases, as the old comic strip “Pogo” pointed out, “We have met the enemy and they is us.” In SOME cases. Like the medical flight guy that’s not IFR current but blasts off into IMC and causes the demise of himself and his passengers. Or whoever did the bad thing at Young Eagles. Like instructing, I got a great deal of joy from Angel Flight and Young Eagles and I would never try to talk anybody out of doing either one. But for me, my personal choice is to be on the sidelines.

    Good discussion

    Rich
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  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richgj3 View Post
    I’m sort of the same. When Young Eagles first started I organized events and participated in others. I was a “Flight Leader”. Then the scandal came out that caused EAA to require that an adult pilot shouldn’t be alone with a kid. Now while 99.99 percent of the pilots were on the up and up, all it takes for one adult to do something stupid and everybody is suspect. Or, worse, all it takes is for some kid to say something to his parents about you that isn’t true but ruins your life. So I welcome the rule (suggestion?) that there’s another adult be along. I’m not sure I have the rule right as I stopped paying attention about the time this happened.

    Another example is Angel Flight or the other groups that provide transportation for medical needs. Many of the guys around here who used to do that now do “Pilots and Paws”. Dogs rarely take legal action.

    It’s just too bad. And in some cases, as the old comic strip “Pogo” pointed out, “We have met the enemy and they is us.” In SOME cases. Like the medical flight guy that’s not IFR current but blasts off into IMC and causes the demise of himself and his passengers. Or whoever did the bad thing at Young Eagles. Like instructing, I got a great deal of joy from Angel Flight and Young Eagles and I would never try to talk anybody out of doing either one. But for me, my personal choice is to be on the sidelines.

    Good discussion

    Rich
    Instructing is different from Young Eagle flights or sitting under a Sightseeing Flights Today sign. As mentioned vet your students, be sure they are people you want to spend time with money or not. No guarantee of liability protection but it keeps you away from the horrors of 'people incompatible with your values.'

  12. #52

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    I quit flying Young Eagles in my Cub at the same time Rich, and for the same reason. I wasn't about to have a pre-flight discussion with the parent and kid about the "special problems" of having only one adult present. I still gave occasional rides pre-Covid in my Cub and even in my Extra 300, and will again post-Covid. Just not folks unknown to me or my friends, or where the EAA is involved, and I've been a member since 1984.
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    So, Mike - how many modified Super Cubs can haul two guys and enough fuel to do a flight review? Yes, I am sure the one ton Cub STC does it, but I am seeing Super Cubs without that kit, but with big tires and safety cables, etc., that weigh in with a 400 lb useful load.

    Isn't that where liability insurance comes into play? The seaplane horror story was an insurance loophole. My CFI insurance has the same loophole - climb in to an RV without five hours in that type and I have no liability insurance. Liability insurance does cover negligence, and failing to check weight and balance is indeed negligent.
    Bob, the reason I sold my very nice Super Cub and bought a Cessna 170 was that I wanted to do seaplane instruction. This was before the 2000 pound GW kit came out, and there was clearly no way to legally give dual in my Cub on floats.

    I've turned down a number of flight reviews and a few insurance checkouts for that very reason.

    There is this thing included in the FOI called instructor ethics.....

    MTV

  14. #54

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    I forgot about the amphibs. One came to town with Wips and no 2000# kit - installed by CC.
    As I recall, you could put a 170 lb pilot in it and enough fuel to go legally around the patch once, and still stay under gross, but when you put enough ballast in the baggage area to bring it inside the forward limit, only a very light pilot could legally fly it.

    Then there was the amphibious Helio. I think it was delivered inoperable.

  15. #55
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    Yeah, we’ll PK now has an amphibious float for Carbon Cubs....

    MTV

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