OK, big question about those ugly little “accidents” not worth claiming on insurance but must be fixed. Example 1: A member burns up the Skyhawk starter trying to start the plane when the fuel is turned off. (Part and labor $580…who pays?)
Example 2: Mooney door stay gets stepped on (again) and bent rendering the plane out of service (loss of revenue and the part $385) Example 3: Classic wingtip/tail damage when member moves plane and runs it into the hangar door. (Last re-paint $320, last rudder repair $1,700) Point of Interest: The club puts $10-15K into improvements every year to keep our fleet up to a standard. The next poll will seek information on what level of excellence you desire…stay tuned! [Final decision: pay for “small damage” when abuse or neglect is obvious]

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4 thoughts on “Burning Member Question! Please Vote.

  1. I see two overarching attributes that are shared by everyone who is
    deserving of the distinction of being called an “aircraft pilot”.

    1. We must demonstrate an accumulation of skills and knowledge necessary to
    operate an aircraft in a manner that’s consistent with the risk profile
    deemed by society to be acceptable in various defined circumstances.

    2. We must acknowledge and accept personal responsibility for our actions,
    intended or otherwise.

    With regard to aircraft operations, this second notion permeates the
    aviation regulatory environment. We don’t argue with our peer’s expectation
    that we should have sufficient knowledge to always correctly judge whether
    or not we should venture into any particular aviation arena (IFR-VFR,
    day-night, grass-paved — the list is endless). Once we commit to a
    particular operation, we are expected to have perfect knowledge of all
    aspects of that environment. Or, at the very least, exercise a high level of
    continuous awareness and judgment that enables us to recognize and reduce or
    eliminate risks.

    I believe that both of these attributes should also apply to a pilot’s
    responsibilities with regard to the aircraft itself, as well as to the other
    EHFC assets that we use. For example: If I’m distracted by mentally
    re-playing that last crosswind landing that I greased and I wind up backing
    my vehicle into the front door, it’s hard to imagine that any member would
    argue that the club should pay for the replacement glass. Of course it was
    accidental, but my actions caused the damage so it’s my responsibility to
    fix it. Or inside the club, I may not be aware that my trying to bend the
    headband on a pair of club-owned headsets will break an attachment fitting,
    but if that happens it’s reasonable to expect that I should have understood
    the hardware limitations, or at least had the good judgment to ask someone
    who was familiar with them. My actions, my responsibility, I pay.

    Obviously, one of the benefits of group ownership or group assumption of
    risk (insurance policies) is to share costs and minimize individual hardship
    in the case of accidents. However, these benefits should not supplant
    personal responsibility when lack of awareness, knowledge, or skills; or
    carelessness, or other individual action or inaction results in damage to an
    aircraft. Rather, the individual should bear a substantial portion of the
    costs that the club can’t recoup from our insurance coverage.

    Accidents sometimes involve grey areas and extenuating circumstances, so the
    board of directors would need to craft a policy that might also include an
    appeal process. However, it’s worth the effort. This philosophical approach
    is not only fair and in keeping with our societal norms, it will also serve
    to motivate all of us to fully present, aware and careful in all aspects of
    our responsibilities as pilots.

    1. My written skills are well lacking behind Michael Meador’s writing though after rereading Michael Meador comments… I do have to say I agree with personal responsible and demonstrated skill. However the concept of all damages caused wether or not the person knew better is a VERY slippery slop.

      *What if it was a student pilot and the conditions suddenly changed on him or her? Is it then the student pilot or the instructor’s fault?

      *What if the pilot was taught incorrectly, it is their fault of the CFI that taught them?

      *What if the plane just plan went inop in someway and it lead to a misfortunate accident?

      *What if the accident pilot trys to blame or drag someone else into the incident?

      *what if is was something that was well on it’s way to breaking for the accident pilot touched it.

      *ETC…

      High standards are good, but “perfect knowledge of all aspects of that environment” is only gained in hindsight!

      Before accessing blame on the person (and making them “PAY” for the damage they did, because “they” were stupid); Wouldn’t it be better to first isolate the person and the source of the problem, retrain them and anyone else effected from the source and then learn from the incident. And honestly, if they do it again… yeah, then we can honestly say they can be blamed.

      And, if we all lived in the same house… and you accidentally broke the front door yes, I’d help you pay for the repairs, but I’d expect you’d help me pay for the broken garage door when I accidentally drive though it.

      Just my two cents…

  2. Well, here are my thoughts… There should be a graduated system because was all do dumb things and part of the reason for have sharing airplanes is so we can share the cost. I know someday I’ll do something dumb and I’d hope that others would see that they could also be so inclined. However, certain individuals do more dumb things then others. And for that case we need a graduated system. One free “idiot move” ever 6 months… Two “idiot moves” in 6 months you pay half the repair cost. Three “idiot moves” in 6 months you pay the full repair cost and your name goes on the club website.

  3. I agree with Michael’s well-crafted opinion. Perhaps the existing Accident Committee process could perform the initial assessment function with an appeal to the full Board, if necessary. Our governing documents might need to be amended to allow for this.

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