Flying Instructors & ExaminersA place for instructors to communicate with one another because some of them get a bit tired of the attitude that instructing is the lowest form of aviation, as seems to prevail on some of the other forums!
I am about to start an FI course in March and was just wondering if you need to go about getting insured for liability purposes once you start teaching? Is this done through the flight school or on your own back?
I understand that most flight instructors nowadays are self employed contractors, so would a flight school provide the necessary cover you need to teach students and take children/elders on trial lessons?
A good question. In the main schools will not provide any liability insurance for you. So far as I can see there is only one company offering such insurance. It is always worth checking to see what cover a school offers, aircraft insurance is an Eu requirement but beyond that you could find a variety of different levels of cover.
Never (knowingly) had liability insurance while I was instructor. Crossed fingers and hoped for best. Looks like I got away with it, given I no longer instruct, ... unless of course some disgruntled ex-student comes after me in 20 years time saying from his hospital bed that I taught PFLs badly !
Hmm .. how does one cover oneself against that little scenario then ? Pay for further liability insurance each year in perpetuity ?
Flight schools have insurance to cover their own liabilities - this may cover the instructor acting for them, but may not. To be safe, I have arranged my own instructor liability insurance via AOPA. Check out their website.
We had a crash on a trial lesson a few years ago, only very minor injuries to customers involved. They later got a no win-no fee lawyer and the club insurance handled their claim on behalf of both the organisation and the instructor. That was a while ago and other brokers/underwriters may take a different position nowadays, not sure what the current policy actually says and I don't have it to hand. If you do any freelancing at all, that is, outside of a club environment, then you certainly should seriously consider having your own cover (especially if you have any assets). Although you won't be doing any of that while you are initially restricted.
would a flight school provide the necessary cover you need to.....take children/elders on trial lessons?
Why do you think that the age of the participant is relevant with regard to insurance cover?
Thanks for all the great information. I will certainly ask a few more questions about this once I start my course and (fingers very tightly crossed) find employment afterwards.
With regards to the age of the passengers, it came up in a conversation with one of my friends (who is a restricted instructor at the moment) and he said that he isn't allowed to fly children below 5, this may just be a club rule though.
Roughly how much do you reckon Instructor liability cover for the year cost as a new and restricted FI?
Honest question: What would be the liability risk proposed to be covered?
We'll presume that the aircraft itself is properly insured, so anything which happens as a direct result of that training flight is covered.
Thereafter, pre license for the student, the instructor is PIC, and any liability path is through the aircraft insurance.
Once the student is licensed, should there ever be an obscure claim of liability relating to the skill (or presumably absence thereof) of the student now pilot, would that not disappear in the reality that that pilot had obtained a license to act as flight crew, and thereby met a national standard for the skill? I think that if the student/pilot had met the skill requirements, there would be no lingering liability for the instructor, who obvioulsy had taught the lessons adequately.
In the UK over the last few years there has been very noticeable increase in the likelyhood of a student/customer, their dependents or a even a third party starting litigation in the event of an incident.
As I said in an earlier post, my experience is that the aircraft/club insurance takes up the case on behalf of all the defendants.
The concern partly comes from the perhaps grey area, where the FI is a self-employed sub-contractor, rather than a direct employee. Also some flying schools have been known to be run by unscrupulous individuals, who may not actually have liability insurance in place and lie about it, if you have your own, you know you're covered. I once had the misfortune to work for a bit of a crook, when the company went into administration, we found out the insurance company was one of the creditors as they hadn't been paid the current year's premium. So if we'd had an incident there would have been no cover in place, as the certificates that were at the school weren't valid.
You also have the possibility that if the flight was illegal for any reason the club insurance could easily wash their hands of the PIC, although Besso's might well do that, don't know what their Ts & Cs are.
With regard to the post qualification scenario you mention, I am aware of a case where a PPL holder crashed and killed himself immediately after receiving his licence. The family sued the instructor for not training him appropriately IAW the syllabus (which did happen to be a correct assertation in this case). There is not a lot of direct oversight by the UK CAA of Registered Training Facilities to be honest. There is quite a heavy reliance on instructors and particularly examiners upholding the standards.