Helicopters Magazine

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Operations: A Crash Course on Insurance

The concept seems simple enough. You pay a legitimate premium, and in return, you’re protected from legitimate financial loss.


July 18, 2007
By Dennis Venturi

Topics

The concept seems simple enough. You pay a legitimate premium, and in
return, you’re protected from legitimate financial loss. What if,
however, your insurance company tries to avoid paying a claim? I
recently had a conversation with a young entrepreneur who said he
experienced exactly this kind of treatment. His story suggests to me
that operators had better find out what kind of insurance policy they
have before the metal hits the ground.

Several
years ago, the young entrepreneur went into business with an owned Bell
206-L LongRanger and a leased Bell 206 JetRanger. Needing another
pilot, he hired a young graduate. The new hire had 60 hours of Enstrom
time and 40 hours of JetRanger time. After flight training, he went out
west to take a 20-hour JetRanger mountain course; so in all, he had at
least 60 hours of Bell 206 type. The operator then asked his insurance
company to tell him what it would take to get the new pilot covered.

The
underwriter said that he shall “have 10 hours of dual, and 15 hours of
solo on the certificated type.” That’s it. The underwriter did not
define or quantify where, or when, or with whom the dual training, or
the solo training, shall be done. The operator could have looked at the
underwriter’s requirement and realized that because the pilot already
had 60 hours on type, he wouldn’t need very much in-house training at
all. But he personally performed about 20 hours of in-house dual
training on his own 206-L.

As for the 15 hours of required solo,
the operator and his pilot both got a break when the latter got a
chance to ferry the company’s Bell 206 from western Canada back to
eastern Canada. That ferry trip got him 12 solo hours, leaving three
more hours of in-house solo to be done. Those three hours were made up
when both the pilot and his boss ferried the 206 up north to do a
job.An honest entry in the logbook showed two persons on board. It’s
important to note that while the boss was indeed on board the aircraft
during the flight, the records show that no duals were installed.
Almost any other operator would have called it quits at this point, but
not our entrepreneur. He decided to send the pilot to a professional
flight school for an additional four hours of emergency procedures
training that included autorotations to touchdown. So in all, the new
hire had received about 35 hours of postgraduate and
post-mountain-course training, which is 10 hours more than the
underwriter wanted. The way I see it, this entrepreneur should be the
poster child for due diligence.

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