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Old 04-05-2006, 11:51 AM   #1  
dlgjnu
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Default CFI Liability concerns??

Background if it matters. I am 50+. Private Pilot. I have been around aviation my whole life. 18 years as Air Force dependent, father was a fighter pilot. 2 years flight line mechanic at Cessna Aircraft twin Cessna plant. 8 years FAA, ATC, Flight service, bush Alaska. 10 years and counting, FAA Nav/Comm tech. 350 hours flight time, mostly PIC, single engine, Alaska time. I live/work in VT and NH now.

I am about to start work on my Commercial, Instrument and CFI. I love teaching and feel flight instruction as a part time gig would be a natural fit. I am already at the airport most days anyhow. I have heard of some CFI's who are 50+, own homes, have a bank account who will not teach or teach primary instruction anymore because of liability concerns if somewhere/sometime one of their students augers in. These folks have a wealth of experience, are superb instructors. But, they don't want to lose what they have worked for over the years to some injury lawyer.

Here is the question: Is this a big concern? Is there liability insurance? How do most CFI's handle this?


Thanks.
 
Old 04-05-2006, 03:19 PM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlgjnu
Background if it matters. I am 50+. Private Pilot. I have been around aviation my whole life. 18 years as Air Force dependent, father was a fighter pilot. 2 years flight line mechanic at Cessna Aircraft twin Cessna plant. 8 years FAA, ATC, Flight service, bush Alaska. 10 years and counting, FAA Nav/Comm tech. 350 hours flight time, mostly PIC, single engine, Alaska time. I live/work in VT and NH now.

I am about to start work on my Commercial, Instrument and CFI. I love teaching and feel flight instruction as a part time gig would be a natural fit. I am already at the airport most days anyhow. I have heard of some CFI's who are 50+, own homes, have a bank account who will not teach or teach primary instruction anymore because of liability concerns if somewhere/sometime one of their students augers in. These folks have a wealth of experience, are superb instructors. But, they don't want to lose what they have worked for over the years to some injury lawyer.

Here is the question: Is this a big concern? Is there liability insurance? How do most CFI's handle this?


Thanks.
Most CFIs handle it by being young and penniless. There are a few older, professional CFIs who do enough business to pay for appropriate legal and insurance protections.

I no longer teach for that reason. Unfortunately, even students who are friends or family aren't liability-proof. They could injure their passenger or someone on the ground, and you would still get sued.

It appears almost impossible to prevail as a defendent in an aviation lawsuit. The 12 idiots who will be selected as your jurors know nothing about it, and are too stupid and ignorant of fundamental science and engineering concepts to ever come close to understanding the issues. They do, however, know for certain that all pilots are reckless cowboys who routinely endanger their own and other's lives.

Your comfort level might depend on what state you live in, but if your student flies to California and THEN crashes...

If you want to do it badly enough, you could form an LLC and get appropriate insurance. You would probably need to do a fair amount of teaching to cover the expenses. See a local attorney for that.

Last edited by rickair7777; 04-05-2006 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 04-05-2006, 05:08 PM   #3  
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A little off your topic but where in NH do you live and fly out of. I am down the road in BVY
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Old 04-05-2006, 06:54 PM   #4  
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Am I liable 5 years down the road if someone I instructed crashes after I am no longer penniless?
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:59 PM   #5  
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Am I liable 5 years down the road if someone I instructed crashes after I am no longer penniless?
I'm not a lawyer, so this is purely an academic discussion:

Possibly. There are statutes of limitations on that kind of thing, often 1 year, but there is a possible exception...if you didn't KNOW that someone had done something to harm you (faulty flight instruction in this case), then the clock on the statute of limitations might not start until the harm becomes apparent. This would occur on the date of the crash.

I would think that you might be insulated if over time if the student has taken other checkrides, BFRs, IPC's, etc. so there is someone else to share the blame.

In my opinion light GA IPC's are very liability intensive...you just gave somebody an instrument checkride and a license to conduct the most hazard-prone type of operation in GA.

If you have a real-world reason for asking about this, call a lawyer.
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Old 04-06-2006, 05:39 AM   #6  
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Rickair, Thanks. I know it is reality of the world we live in, but it sure seems counterproductive to push away the most experienced instructors, ie pilots that lived through most of the mistakes, with liability fears. I am going to pursue this more, as I want to instruct.

CRJ, I work at LEB and live across the border in Vermont.
 
Old 04-06-2006, 06:23 AM   #7  
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I avoid giving IPC's like the plague. I have only given 1 in more than 3 years of flight instruction. The one I gave, I told the guy it was going to take at least 10 hours of flying to cover all I wanted. I pretty much refuse when someone asks for one. I'm just glad I'm outta CFIing. I enjoyed some of it, but on the whole it is too much stress.

Last edited by iflyjets4food; 04-06-2006 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 04-06-2006, 12:08 PM   #8  
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IIRC, (Don't quote me on it) the FAA hold instructors liable for 3 years after the last flight. That's why instructors aren't required to maintain student records beyond that time frame. Don't know what the statute of limitations is for lawsuits though.

One way that I limited my own liability was through very meticulous notes of student progress. I created my own worksheet that I took with me on each flight to record the lesson areas covered, and any performance remarks I had regarding the flight. Afterwards, I signed it, the student signed it, and both of us kept a copy. It provided me with irrefutable proof of what was covered, as well as feedback for future lessons.

http://aviation.crosswindlanding.com...ds/Form100.doc
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