LIGHT SPORT FOR SENIORS
I very much enjoyed your article on Light Sport Aircraft for senior pilots in the July 2022 issue of Aviation Consumer. It is definitely my primary interest at 82 years old. But, I want to add my experience acquiring insurance.
At 80 years old, I owned a Flight Design CTSW. I had it insured via my longtime insurance broker with Duncan Aircraft Insurance. The company had been finding aircraft insurance for me for over 20 years when I flew Mooneys, Cessna Cardinals and other non-LSA airplanes. I have 19,000 hours of flight time and was a 30-year corporate jet pilot, holding an ATP, CFI, A&P and many type ratings.
I decided to sell the Flight Design and buy a new Texas Colt. Duncan and my underwriter said no to insuring me in a Colt because they had no knowledge or a history on that aircraft. So I decided I would just buy another Flight Design. By then I was 82 years old and the broker told me the underwriter had quoted a premium costing twice as much as it was for my first Flight Design, plus they would require me to get a flight physical every 12 months and always have another approved pilot or CFI with me at all times.
Previously, I was flying on my driver’s license after being on Basic Med. One big reason for us old guys flying LSAs is to avoid needing a flight physical. So now I just quit. Insurers seem to be using any method and excuse to not take any risk on old pilots regardless of their background or experience.
And, oh yes, the killer for me was my one freak wind gust accident in 2018 in my Mooney. Yep, one insurance claim in over 55 years of safe flying. I know many older pilots (many over 78 years old) who report similar difficulty getting insurance. One broker recently suggested seniors try Avemco, as they might be the most flexible with age. Still, he said he had no underwriters he could go to for me.
I hope this helps clarify your knowledge of this insurance situation.
Bill Pearson – via email
We hear these kinds of stories on a regular basis. Experience doesn’t seem to matter, especially for insurance in tailwheel airplanes and turbines.
MORE SUPPLY CHAIN WOES
In his First Word commentary column in the July 2022 Aviation Consumer, editor Larry Anglisano gave kudos to Dynon’s Fast Track hardware that tames the installation complexity for kit builders and also for shops and IAs putting in the company’s SkyView HDX and HDX Certified systems. Now, if you can only get a SkyView HDX.
The Dynon sales department hasn’t returned a call I made after a week of me leaving a message asking about the prognosis of my order. Either they don’t know, the news is really bad or their pre-sale customer service is not what their past reputation would suggest.
Chip Flemming – via email
Dynon said it is slowly getting the components it needs to complete the build on SkyView systems, but the choked supply chain is making it difficult. We’re also hearing of delivery challenges at other avionics manufacturers—including Garmin. But the supply issue isn’t just for avionics.
We recently heard from a large flight school with a fleet of Cessnas that has part of the fleet grounded because it can’t get common oil filters to complete 50-hour oil changes.
Thank you for the good report on the Garmin EIS engine instrument system in the July Aviation Consumer. You explained my options better than my shop could. I’ve been trying to figure out if I should put Garmin’s EIS in my Piper Archer rather than a JPI EDM display, and concluded that the GI 275 EIS display made better sense because I’m also installing the GI 275 attitude instrument and also the GI 275 heading system. The price delta wasn’t much more, and the GI 275 does more.
Stan Williams – via email