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Old 10th Jan 2010, 20:46   #1 (permalink)
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Legalities of working as a flight instructor.

My first question: - If I work part or full time as a flying instructor at a flying club should I have an employment contract? Secondly: - as instructors we instruct children (under 16years of age) therefore should instructors have a police check? Thirdly: - should FI insurance be arranged independently or should this to be covered by the flying club?
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Old 10th Jan 2010, 21:49   #2 (permalink)
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1. Yes. Even if you work there as a freelancer, you should have at least a "freelance contract". A piece of paper that links you to the training organisation with signatures from both parties. Otherwise, if something goes wrong, they might just say: "never seen this man before!".

2. Never came across that. Is this something specific to Ireland?

3. The flying club! Have you got an idea what you will earn as a flying instructor? And how much this kind of insurance is gonna cost you?

Happy instructing,
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Old 11th Jan 2010, 10:42   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Max, I thought as much. My wife who works in the health service is surprised that we have no contract.

I copied this from the vetting and barring scheme here in the Uk...

The VBS, stipulates that anyone taking part in activities involving "frequent" or "intensive" contact with children or vulnerable adults three times in a month, every month, or once overnight (from 2am-6am) must register by November 2010 and have their status "continuously updated and monitored."
This will include parents who regularly drive children for sports or social clubs, parents who host foreign exchange students, teachers, children's sports coaches, childcare workers, private tutors, probation officers, prison officers, care workers, people advising 'ChildLine' callers, nurses, GPs,youth workers, domiciliary care workers, dentists, osteopaths, opticians, contracted taxi drivers, volunteers and driving instructors.

The reason I ask this question Is that we seem to be living in an inceasingly litigious society and I can remember a friend in the financial services industry who was in the unfortunate situation of having an unfounded sexual harassment allegation leveled at him. It drove him to leaving his job. The accusor was found to be chancing her arm but the damage had been done.
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Old 11th Jan 2010, 11:12   #4 (permalink)
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Very few few FIs in the UK are employed so they will not have a contract of employment! The few that are employed should have one, but I'll bet most do not.

I have never heard of anyone being vetted, no doubt you would have to pay for this out of your non existent earnings so I guess youngsters will have to go some place else. I would certainly never get tied up with such bureaucratic nonsense.

Insurance is interesting, in the main part the student will be covered by the club but you as the instructor probably won't be. What insurance are you referring to? Liability insurance in case someone sues you, or cover in case you have an accident.

Liability insurance can be obtained here The Club should be able to include the Pilot (instructor) on their insurance but it probably won't cover liability.
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Old 11th Jan 2010, 13:03   #5 (permalink)
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The question of contracts is simple to answer. No one needs a written contract. No contract can be less than the law prescribes.

Where no written contract is in place the law provides that one is to be pressumed. It will be no less than the law provides. Where actual practice differs from the written contract then the actual working practice is pressumed to be the actual contract.

In the wider sense it is no different whether you are self employed or employed.

Sherburn Aero club went to court with HMRC to establish the right of instructors to be self employed and the right for the club to use instructor sub contractors. This was the second case to be tested by the Tax Commissioners. The previous case involved Mal Scaffolding. Sherburn Aero club were successful on all points as were the scaffolding contractor. The most important principle being that the individual parties to the contract have the right to decide. Issues such as uniforms, regular work, whether or not others working alongside were fully employed doing the same job, were not the issue as the HMRC had previously insisted.

With regards to the insurance held or not by instructors. It was inevitable for us that this particular issue raised its head. The insurers were content to include the instructors with Public Liability and Employers Liabilty held by the club. The HMRC were content to accept the provision of the benefit as acceptable to them as not being a benefit in kind when the instructor actually paid for it. A notional sum of 1.50 per month was agreed with the HMRC as being sufficient for the insurance cover not to be considered a payment in kind. I believe the insurers were surprised to be asked by us for they had always considered the instructors to be in coverage. It was not a matter for them under what contract the instructor was employed.

The CRB checks are a worry. Not because of any outcome and the cost but rather the time it takes to get one. In many cases the instructor will have moved on by the time any clearance came through. Instructors commonly work for different clubs and would if required need to obtain a CRB check for each club. Should the law be uncovered to mean that Flight Instructors do need to have a CRB check then clubs would need to restrict instructing for those under 16 years to one or two instructors who have previously demonstrated their long term commitment to the club.
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Old 11th Jan 2010, 17:05   #6 (permalink)
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Your replies have been very helpful. Whopity... I was referring to the instructors liability insurance, in the event that someone would claim against me eg: I send a student off for a first solo, the student has an incident and the student (or family) claims against me as the FI that I was negligent in my training where I had ommitted to cover something, wx was inappropriate, etc.

The questions I've raised seem to elicit a myriad of different responses in my place of work so I always think it's helpful to get the facts. Thanks to all.
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Old 16th Jan 2010, 07:07   #7 (permalink)

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Insurance Responsibility

eph6 A very relevant question, on who does the onous lay? in case of an incident or accident. The instructor who sends the student up on his first solo, or on the Club/academy/training facility. This question is definately applicable to Airline Instructors and Check Pilots also. In my opinion it should be the responsibility of the training institute or airline, who should take out the necessary insurance, for crew and passengers, and also for the aircraft and third party damage insurance. It is not the responsibility of each Instructor or Check Pilot to take out his or her own insurance on behalf of the students, either in flying clubs, training institutes or the airlines who employ the Instructor/Check Pilot.
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Old 16th Jan 2010, 17:24   #8 (permalink)
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Contracts - whether you are a self-employed 'contractor' or an employee (ie your employer handles PAYE and NI) you have a 'contract' with the club. This is either a contract of employment or a contract to provide services. If it is a contract of employment, you have a right to a written statement regarding your employment terms within 2 months of starting work. A contract to provide services should also stipulate the expectations of contractee and contractor. More here. Personally, I am a contractor and have insisted on a written contract with the club; it makes things 'neat'.

Insurance - I've also been pondered liability insurance. It seems to me that the student (third party) has entered a contract with the club and not the instructor. Therefore prime liability should lie with the club. Therefore I have some difficulty in them limiting their liability cover and then expecting individual instructors to pay for additional cover. I think I need to ponder this one a little more.

CRB - I suppose it depends how seriously your organisation takes H&S etc. I think if I had a under-age student I would want to feel confident that I was protected from unwarranted accusations. Of course, it depends whether management have the integrity required
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Old 17th Jan 2010, 01:13   #9 (permalink)
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We had massive rows about the issue of CRB checks and child protection policies in the club. In the end, we ignored it, however some of the instructors decided they wouldn't fly with Youngsters unless there was another adult present, such as a parent. Obviously that can cause problems if you only have 2 seaters available.

Having a CRB check for your normal job (if a part-timer) doesn't count. You need a new check for a different job...

It's utter madness, but like any of these things, this is just an ar*e covering excercise, rather than something that actually makes it safer for "vulnerable" people.

You should be covered by the club's liability insurance as you are working for them, no matter what your actual employment status. However, you might want to make sure that they are actually covered! I have found more than one school that has been lax with things like that.
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 00:37   #10 (permalink)
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CRB checks (in the UK)

You cannot even apply to become a driving instructor unless you have a CRB check (or enhanced Disclosure Scotland in jockland).

if there is a loophole that allows flight instructors/flight schools to have this as optional it is only a matter of time until it is closed.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 17:49   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks to all for the help.
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Old 19th May 2017, 15:34   #12 (permalink)
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Anyone have a preference for BESSO's instructor liability insurance policy or the INSURE AIRCRAFT policy?
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Old 19th May 2017, 20:02   #13 (permalink)
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if there is a loophole that allows flight instructors/flight schools to have this as optional it is only a matter of time until it is closed.
Still not been closed but the last school I worked for did require CRB checks as a standing policy.
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Old 21st May 2017, 10:47   #14 (permalink)
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eph6..... An interesting thread, like Whopity states I doubt many freelance instructors have no contract. The problem with contracts is that it ties down each side. The main thing is you have evidence of a business relationship. For example agree terms by an informal e-mail, how much you will get paid, who will pay for medicals and renewals. That way if you have a bad payer, and I have been there, you put them on notice and you just go to the county court.

In relation to CRB checks, or DBS as they are now known in the UK. CRB or DBS relates to vulnerable people such children under 16 or children under 18 if in full time.education. Also people say with learning diificulties, etc. There was a move by the CAA a number of years ago for all instructors to be CRB checked, but I'm not sure what happened, as I took to approach that I would only teach people over eighteen. I should add that Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline, stated that CRB/DBS has gone to far in the UK, hence I think the CAA dropped the CRB requirement, despite which the responsibility falls on the organisation.

Regarding liability, I mentioned on another thread that setting up as a limited company is an option, it costs 15, but might not protect you, your family, home or estate. A good piece of advice I got from a solicitor, was in respect of the cover. Worse case scenario is that you have an accident and it kills your student aged 30 who is a surgeon and has a young family. So the insurance claim would be 37 years (working life) at a salary of 120K, which is about 4,4 million. So if you have cover for 1 million, you will still loose your house.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 00:13   #15 (permalink)
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Can confirm DBS (CRB) check required where I teach as I occasionally teach under 18s (I'm not much older than that anyway!). No drama but it is up to the organisation.

I teach at a couple of clubs across the world and try to get some form of contract, even if it is a noted meeting rather than a piece of paper. Then again I've always been referred to mostly as an employee, not so much freelance.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 04:37   #16 (permalink)
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Had a freelance contract at the first school I instructed at, but not had one at the 4 since then, now I only help out part time so it's not a big deal.

I'm CRB checked for the current instructing, but prior to that we just said if under 16s wanted instruction, a parent had to come in the back, we felt that was a decent enough common sense approach to cover everyone.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 10:14   #17 (permalink)
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Out of interest both the British Model Flying Association and Scottish Aeromodellers Association require instructors to be DBS checked, and have done so for some time,
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 11:07   #18 (permalink)
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I was unable to find any non-aviation insurers who would quote for employer's or public liability for premises on an active airfield. I eventually used Haywards, but they would only cover for the Club rooms, stating that: From the rooms to the aircraft was the airfield's responsibility and in the aircraft was covered by the aircraft insurance. Of course this means no employers liability cover outside the Club rooms. Hence a self employed instructor has no cover outside the Club rooms, unless he arranges it himself/herself. Unless someone on here knows different?
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 12:27   #19 (permalink)
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Mr Average.... If your a member of BALPA they might be able to help, if not 'Instructor Membership' is not expensive and includes some legal advice if you ever need it. Also try AOPA.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 15:55   #20 (permalink)
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Can't afford BALPA. It was AOPA that referred me to Haywards. I do however have personal instructor/examiner liability through AOPA. None of our instructors seem bothered..............
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