Member News


If you're not protected, it could cost you ... a lot

Apr 04, 2014

Why should you get protected? Even a minor incident in a rented or borrowed plane can cost you a lot...

Renter’s aircraft insurance provides coverage to pilots who rent or borrow airplanes, protecting them from the enormous cost should an incident occur. Members have wondered why it’s important to get protected. Should you have even a minor incident in your rented or borrowed airplane, you could be financially obligated to repair the damages—unless you have the right coverage. Consider what the replacement costs are of some commonly damaged aircraft parts. A nosegear wheel could run $674, and a wingtip can cost up to $1,221. In comparison, you could purchase an AOPA Renter’s Insurance policy costing as little as $175 a year if you are an AOPA member. A renter’s policy including aircraft physical coverage can provide peace of mind as you enjoy your pilot lifestyle.

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit us at online or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best coverage at the best price.

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Flying club insurance

Mar 31, 2014

When it comes to flying club insurance, each member should be an “insured” under the policy and be provided cross-liability protection, among other things.

Spring is here, and now is the time to set up that flying club and start flying more. Get your friends together, decide on an airplane, and get the ball rolling. AOPA has everything you need to get started, including help with club organization, aircraft financing, and insurance.

Let’s take a quick look at the basics of flying club insurance. Most clubs have from three to 25 active pilots per airplane, the aircraft are generally equity owned, and they set up under a holding company. LLCs are the most common legal entities and, in addition to the legal and tax advantages, registering an aircraft under an LLC also means the club will not have to re-register every time the club membership changes. Diving the equity and the status of the members as active, inactive, social, or family members will vary from club to club. (The new AOPA Insurance Club Policy does not charge for inactive members, and encourages social and family memberships.) What is important is that each member be an “insured” under the policy, that they be provided cross-liability protection, and that there are no family member liability coverage limitations or exclusions. The next question is how much liability insurance the club should carry. I recommend that the club have sufficient insurance to meet the requirements of that club member that needs the greatest protection. Clubs often find that such coverage limits are not easily available, especially when the club includes lower time pilots. However, working with a large U.S. aviation insurance company, AOPA has recently developed an innovative means to increase the protection of those individual club members needing higher liability coverage limits. Also the new club policy includes very broad territorial limits (United States, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Central America, and Islands of the West Indies); coverage is now available for some multi-engine aircraft, and for the first time, “for profit” clubs can obtain this same broad protection.

Flying club insurance rates are influenced by many factors, but the most important include the make and model of aircraft, the insurance coverage limits needed (including aircraft value and liability limits), the number of members per aircraft, the ratings, experience and claim-experience of members, aircraft location (hangared or tied down), and what additional expanded coverage is needed (clubhouse or hangar protection, aviation event and contest coverage, extra equipment and tools, etc.). Clubs operating retractable-gear or high-performance aircraft, or needing significant expanded coverage (such as insurance protection for a club-owned private airfield), should expect to pay higher insurance premiums.

The most commonly requested club quote is for three to four pilots, with a Cessna 152, Cessna 172, or Piper PA-28. For example, consider a Cessna 172, $50,000 hull value, hangared, three pilots with the lowest time pilot a 100 hour private pilot. Based on liability limits of $1,000,000 each occurrence / $100,000 per passenger and full ground and flight hull insurance, this new club would pay about $818 the first year or about $23 per member per month. If the club adds a fourth partner, the rate drops to $21 a month.

Remember, your insurance broker is your partner. He will try to answer any questions you might have, and needs you to respond completely and honestly to any questions he might have for you. More information is available online, or by calling AOPA Insurance Services at 800/622-AOPA (2672).

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What is emergency travel assistance?

Mar 25, 2014

Emergency travel assistance is an important stop-gap between what your medical plan covers and emergency medical expenses most health insurance plans never pay.

AOPA Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) is a plan that protects you and your family if you get sick or hurt while traveling in the United States or abroad. It’s an important stop-gap between emergency medical expenses that medical plan covers and those that  most health insurance plans never pay.

In the case of a medical emergency while traveling, EA+ medical coordinators monitor your situation and determine if you need to be relocated. If so, EA+ pays for emergency medical evacuation (by air or ground) to get you to an adequate facility, if medically necessary, so that you can get the care you need or home once you are stable for travel after your medical emergency. EA+ medical specialists monitor your treatment; even your loved ones will stay informed with a 24-hour toll-free emergency relay service.

EA+ has two different levels of protection: member only and member plus family. Both options protect you anywhere in the world.

There are more benefits to this affordable program; visit the EA+ website or call 877/432-2672 today.

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Protect yourself when you rent an airplane

Mar 18, 2014

More often than not, the FBO or aircraft owner does not provide adequate coverage (if any) to the renting pilot, putting the renter at huge financial risk.

AOPA Insurance Services has teamed up with SocialFlight to present a series of live educational webinars open to all pilots.

The May 1 webinar will focus on renter's insurance because more often than not FBOs and aircraft owners do not provide adequate coverage (if any) to the renting pilot, putting the renter at huge financial risk. AOPA Insurance Services President Bill Snead will provide answers to your questions about renter’s insurance, helping you to understand the issue and protect yourself. After all, if you don’t understand renter's insurance, how can you make sure you have the best policy for you?

The webinar will take place May 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be hosted by SocialFlight, the Free mobile app and Web tool connecting the general aviation community to more than 10,000 aviation events. SocialFlight is available for all Apple and Android devices and at www.SocialFlight.com.

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AOPA Insurance Services: Making aviation insurance convenient, fast

Mar 13, 2014

AOPA Insurance has launched an online renewal process for clients that simplifies the renewal process, requiring no paperwork and no postage stamp.

AOPA Insurance Services

AOPA Insurance Services announces a new online renewal process guaranteed to make the renewal of aircraft insurance faster, easier, and more efficient. AOPA Insurance has launched an online renewal process for clients that simplifies the renewal process, requiring no paperwork and no postage stamp.

Clients whose policies fit the online renewal criteria will receive an email notification approximately 90 days prior to their insurance renewal date. One click takes clients to a customized renewal form that has all their current information pre-filled. It’s simple; clients will review, verify, and update the information and submit the renewal information online.

AOPA Insurance Services is dedicated to making aviation insurance convenient and fast. Other recent improvements include online policy service request options such as address changes, lienholder and additional insured changes, and certificate of insurance requests.

Not already a customer? AOPA Insurance Services would like the opportunity to serve your aviation insurance needs. We serve more pilots than any other aircraft insurance agency and would be pleased to count you among them. Call 800/622-2672(AOPA) or go online for your free quote; with access to A-rated companies, we can provide you with the best policy for the best price based on your specific needs.

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FYI from AOPA Insurance Services

Mar 11, 2014

AOPA Insurance Services extends its coverage beyond aviation aircraft and renter’s insurance in order to provide pilots like you with the most complete protection possible.

AOPA Insurance Services extends its coverage beyond aviation aircraft and renter’s insurance in order to provide pilots like you with the most complete protection possible.

The following are additional types of coverage worth considering when it’s time to insure:

AOPA Term Life Insurance: Be 100-percent sure your family is protected with coverage designed specifically for active pilots and their families. It’s one of the few policies with no aviation exclusions limiting your coverage. AOPA also offers 10- and 20-Year Group Level Term Life which provides long-term financial security for your loved ones by locking in budget-friendly rates on coverage that can deliver up to $1 million in benefits for periods of 10 or 20 years. AOPA 50 Plus Term Life gives extra protection for your golden years with up to $50,000 in benefits. There’s no medical exam required, and because it’s designed specifically for active pilots over 50, there are no aviation exclusions limiting your coverage.

AOPA Accidental Death & Dismemberment Protection provides 24/7 guaranteed protection on your personal flying activities that pays up to $300,000 in added benefits—all at low group rates.

Emergency Assistance Plus gives you access to more than 20 emergency and medical services, and you may receive assistance paying for things your health insurance or travel insurance typically won’t cover. And if you are an aircraft owner you can add the aircraft return service benefit which will return your aircraft to your home airport should you be unable to do so due to a medical emergency.

Just as AOPA is, AOPA Insurance Services is an advocate for its members. We support pilots with the very best in aviation and life insurance coverage, risk education and claims advocacy.

A full-service aviation insurance brokerage, we protect all types of pilots and their families at all stages of life. We’re experts at handling insurance for the entire general aviation community, including personal aircraft, flight schools, flying clubs, airports, FBOs, maintenance providers, and other general aviation groups.

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit us at www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for loads of information on how AOPA can get you the best deal on aviation and life insurance.

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A crash course in protecting your airplane

Mar 07, 2014

AOPA Insurance Services has teamed up with SocialFlight to present a series of live educational webinars open to all pilots.

AOPA Insurance Services has teamed up with SocialFlight to present a series of live educational webinars open to all pilots.

It has been said that the only thing harder than choosing the right aircraft insurance is understanding aircraft insurance at all. Between exclusions, deductibles, limits, and underwriters, there is a veritable jungle of jargon. To help you cut through the confusion and protect yourself, AOPA Insurance Services President Bill Snead will provide answers to everything you never wanted to ask about aircraft insurance, but need to know, in "Aircraft Insurance 101" March 20 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

The webinar will be hosted by SocialFlight, the free mobile app and Web tool connecting the general aviation community to more than 10,000 aviation events. SocialFlight is available for all Apple and Android devices and at www.SocialFlight.com. Details and a link to this webinar event are also available online.

 

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Tips for buying an aircraft and insurance

Mar 03, 2014

Whether you are buying your first aircraft or your tenth, you are probably excited and a bit nervous.

Whether you are buying your first aircraft or your tenth, you are probably excited and a bit nervous. It’s best to follow a checklist, and AOPA has an excellent free resource
 
One of your first questions when buying an aircraft should be, “Do I qualify for insurance in that airplane?”

Most of the time, but not always, the answer will be yes. Although a new private pilot might be able to obtain insurance on a Beech 35 or Cessna 210, that insurance will come at a steep price and be subject to coverage limitations and quite a few training requirements. All insurance companies prefer, and many require, that the pilot be instrument rated before they will even “indicate” a rate for a new or low-time pilot on complex aircraft. That same pilot might find an “under 200 horsepower fixed-gear aircraft” much more palatable as a first airplane, and decide to hold off on the retractable-gear airplane for a year or so. Your insurance broker is a great resource for such matters, and can help guide you toward a cost-effective decision.

If you are buying the aircraft with a partner, or perhaps forming a club, the insurance discussion and quotations will be more complex. Your rates will be determined by the lesser experienced partners, and there will likely be additional charges for partnerships and clubs with more than three members. However, the insurance markets have proven to be very accommodating over the last few years, and it is likely you will find good coverage that meets the needs of the group.

The liability risk to you as the aircraft buyer is quite low during the demo ride; however, there is significant confusion in the aircraft sales brokerage community regarding insurance, with frequent policy lapses and violations. The current aircraft owner maintains pleasure and business use coverage on the aircraft while it is for sale, and for the sales broker carries nonowner insurance and worker’s compensation to protect himself and his pilots.

When you decide to buy that airplane, call your insurance broker right away. The broker will discuss your insurance options, including training requirements, have coverage bound, and send you a confirmation. Many brokers can now provide a digital copy of the binder, the application, and the actual policy for ease of storage and retrieval. Keep a copy of the sales agreement and the bill of sale for your records; ask your broker if your CFI and/or mechanic meet the pilot requirements of the policy; and be absolutely certain to comply with all the requirements of the insurance binder and policy.

Visit www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best deal for your insurance needs.

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When it comes to family, safer is better

Feb 21, 2014

No matter how safe you are when you fly, how courteous a driver you are on the road, or how careful you are at home, there are many things beyond your control.

AOPA is pleased to announce an expansion of the AOPA Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Protection Plan. To help you provide a safety net for your family, coverage is now available for spouses and children. As an AOPA member, you can elect to cover a spouse and children as an extension of your AD&D coverage.

Winter weather is upon us and the risk for accidents is on the rise. No matter how safe you are when you fly, how courteous a driver you are on the road, or how careful you are at home, there are many things beyond your control. While you can’t control when and if an accident occurs, you can help manage the impact it has on you and your family with the AOPA AD&D Protection Plan. If a covered accident takes your life or leaves you seriously injured, you can make sure your family will have help paying the bills and continuing their lifestyle.

With AOPA AD&D Protection Plan, you’re protected anywhere, 24/7, which means any family members covered by your insurance are also protected anywhere, 24/7. You pay the same rate no matter your age or level of flying experience, and this new enhanced program also covers all common accidents in addition to flying-related activities for the same affordable rate. For more information or to enroll in this plan, visit aopainsurance.org/add or call us at 877/432-2672.

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If you're not protected, it could cost you a lot

Feb 14, 2014

Should you have even a minor incident in your rented or borrowed airplane, you could be financially obligated to repair the damages.

Renter’s aircraft insurance provides coverage to pilots who rent or borrow airplanes, protecting them from the enormous cost should an incident occur. Members have wondered why it’s important to get protected. Should you have even a minor incident in your rented or borrowed airplane, you could be financially obligated to repair the damages—unless you have the right coverage. Consider what the replacement costs are of some commonly damaged aircraft parts: A nosewheel could run $674 and a wingtip can cost up to $1,221. In comparison, you could purchase an AOPA renter’s insurance policy costing as little as $175 a year for a policy that includes physical damage coverage, if you are an AOPA member. A renter’s policy including aircraft physical damage coverage can provide peace of mind as you enjoy your pilot lifestyle. Or for policies without the physical damage coverage, you could purchase an AOPA renter’s insurance policy costing as little as $81 a year.

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit us at aopainsurance.org/rent or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best coverage at the best price.

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Why plan for the worst-case scenario...

Feb 06, 2014

When we’re away from home, we don’t often think about the logistics of an emergency – especially when we are in the midst of one.

When we’re away from home, we don’t often think about the logistics of an emergency—especially when we are in the midst of one. Being in an unfamiliar place during a crisis can compound the stress of the situation.

  • Where will I be treated?
  • Is this the best treatment for me?
  • How will my family members get home?
  • How will I get my vehicle home?

We’ve heard many personal stories from AOPA members about getting hurt or sick away from home; wishing they could get the best, most specialized treatment possible; and wanting to be closer to home and family. They have also shared that they have been forced, in the panic and confusion of an emergency, to pay thousands of dollars to fly home, and thousands more to get their traveling companions and vehicle back home.

We are more at risk while we’re traveling, so we’re more likely to need help when we get hurt or sick in a place we don’t know. That’s why AOPA has developed MedFlight Freedom especially for AOPA members and their families. So much is out of our control in an emergency that we don’t often even realize we have options. But we do.

One call to MedFlight Freedom removes the logistical burdens of a medical emergency so you can focus on treatment and recovery. MedFlight Freedom steps in to initiate and coordinate more than 20 emergency and medical services, including these:

  • Medical evacuation (by air and/or ground) to your choice of hospital so you and your family can get the care you need at the hospital you want ;
  • Medical specialist monitoring: A professional MedFlight Freedom Assistance Coordinator is assigned to monitor your condition while you’re hospitalized and provide ongoing updates to your family;
  • One round-trip economy class ticket paid to send a person of your choice to your bedside if you are traveling alone and expected to be hospitalized for three or more days;
  • Travel assistance for companions (including pets);
  • Vehicle return arranged and paid if you and your traveling companion cannot drive your vehicle back to your place of residence due to your medical emergency;
  • Lost luggage or item assistance to track down lost luggage, personal items, and documents.

AOPA members also have the freedom to choose a domestic or international plan and travel confidently in what MedFlight offers, in the United States or abroad. Annual rates for a MedFlight Freedom plan are very affordable at $169 (domestic: including the United States, Canada, and Mexico) and $229 (international). Both options protect your spouse and dependent children. For more information or to enroll in this valuable benefit, visit  us online or call 855/520-3592.

This is only an overview of the plan’s features. When you enroll, please read your Member Benefit Guide carefully to understand the details of all the services available to you, as well as any terms, conditions, and limitations.

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AOPA Insurance announces new online self-service features

Jan 31, 2014

AOPA Insurance Services has expanded online capabilites of its website to include policy service requests for its customers.

AOPA Insurance Services

AOPA Insurance Services has expanded the online capabilities of its website to include policy service requests for customers. This allows our customers to request changes to their policies any time, 24/7, 365 days a year.

• Change of address for all policies
• Certificate of insurance or binder requests for all policies
• Lienholder change for owner’s insurance policies
• Additional insured change for owner’s insurance policies
• Sold aircraft notification for owner’s insurance policies
• Employer additional insured change for renter’s policies
• Add Civil Air Patrol coverage for renter’s policies

AOPA aviation insureds can simply visit aopainsurance.org/service to request these items. It’s that simple. As always, we are available to answer your questions. Simply call 800/622-2672 or visit our website. Not a current customer? Call today to get your free quote; it’s easy.

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The short, successful aviation career of John Kartychak

Jan 25, 2014

What may seem odd to some is that John Kartychack didn’t desire to be a pilot – he just wanted to solo.

One item on John Kartychak’s bucket list was to solo an airplane. What may seem odd to some is that Kartychak didn’t desire to be a pilot—he just wanted to solo. As a longtime member of AOPA because of his attraction to airplanes, Kartychak turned to AOPA Insurance when it was time for his solo. He said, “I’ll be 70 years old next month so this was a big deal for me.” John Kartychak

He went through a ground school course and then was ready to move on. He took lessons at Pacific State Aviation at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord, Calif. At first, his plan was to solo in a light sport aircraft—he thought that would be easier—but the flight school only had one light sport airplane available for instruction and so suggested that he just go for the Cessna 172 with the promise that he could always switch back to the LSA.

“I wasn’t looking to become a pilot,” he said. “I wasn’t going to have an aviation career at my age; I simply wanted to do the solo.”

A few months later, he still raves about his instructor, Moshen Gholampour. It seems to be one of those ideal student/instructor relationships that occur; they became a great team. “He was so patient with me since at my age, I forget a lot,” Kartychak said. “We got along great.”

On the day of his solo, in front of his wife and family, he completed four takeoffs and landings. He called the day “the happiest time of my life—I’ll never forget it.” He had high praise for his flight school as well as the airport community, saying, “Everyone at the airport was so polite and wonderful. I learned a lot even thought it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

His last flight was from his home airport to Half Moon Bay on the Pacific coast, accompanied by his flight instructor, to have a fish and chips lunch and then home again. “I’ve stayed in touch with my instructor,” Kartychak said. “I am going to take him sailing.”

Now that he’s soloed an airplane, what’s next on the bucket list? Kartychak said, “Now my wife and I want to do some road trips.”

No matter what your aviation insurance needs are—renter, owner, or CFI—put AOPA Insurance Services to work for you. For more information or a quick quote on aircraft insurance, talk to AOPA Insurance. For more information or to apply for a policy, visit aopainsurance.org.

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Liability vs. Life

Jan 17, 2014

Everyone is familiar with the terms liability insurance and life insurance, but just how do those terms apply when there is a loss?

Everyone is familiar with the terms liability insurance and life insurance, but just how do those terms apply when there is a loss?

You and your bank president passenger are day VFR over the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia when your engine swallows a valve. You respond with the well-practiced skill of a professional aviator and put your airplane down in a hay field with nary a scratch. Great. Under such circumstance neither bodily injury liability nor life insurance should come into play, but what if it had been dark, or if you had been 50 miles farther west? If so, you might well have been dealing with issues of liability and life insurance.

If, as the aircraft owner, you carried liability insurance of $1 million each occurrence with a $200,000 per passenger sublimit, and your bank president passenger was injured or killed, your insurance company could either defend you, try to settle the claim of the injured passenger up to $200,000, or do a combination of both. This protection is premised on the idea that the pilot was legally liable for the injury, and that the insurance company was responding to that claim. Are you sure you checked that oil? Had there been “issues” with that valve before? Remember, it could be up to the courts to determine if there was negligence.

So what if you are injured or killed? If your policy provides “Medical Payments - including crew,” you might receive a small payment (usually $5,000), but unless you carry life insurance or accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) that does not have a general aviation aircraft, pilot, or crew exclusion, you would likely receive nothing. Some life insurance companies allow you to buy-out this exclusion; others will not. Be sure to check your policy. Your AOPA life insurance program has no aviation exclusions, and coverage is available for up to $1 million. AOPA members can also add up to $300,000 of AD&D insurance regardless of pilot experience, and can add dependent family coverage for your spouse or unmarried children under age 25. If you are currently enrolled in the AOPA AD&D Plan and would like to change your plan, increase your benefit amount, or have questions, call AOPA Insurance Services at 1-877/432-AOPA [2672].

Visit www.aopainsurance.org or call 800.622.2672 for loads of information on how AOPA can get you the best deal for your insurance needs.

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The new year has arrived, resolve to review your insurance

Jan 03, 2014

This is the time of year for reflecting, organizing, and preparing for the year to come.

This is the time of year for reflecting, organizing, and preparing for the year to come. Often, we forget that much has changed in our lives that would lead us to update our insurance. Perhaps you moved, married, or added to your family. Maybe this year you have a resolution to fly more! A lot can happen in a year, and your insurance coverage needs may have changed. You may even find that it’s time to shop around for better rates and better coverage. As a pilot, AOPA should be the natural first stop for you. Did you know that some life insurance policies do not cover you when you are flying? AOPA specializes in insurance for pilots and offers great rates on everything from term life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, to aircraft insurance and more. Visit our website www.aopainsurance.org. We are ready to serve you!

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AOPA member hooked on Bonanzas

Dec 27, 2013

If there are two things Roger Cannell knows a few things about, it’s flying and aviation insurance.

If there are two things Roger Cannell knows a few things about, it’s flying and aviation insurance. First the flying: Cannell has been a pilot for more than 50 years. His interest evolved from seeing an airplane occasionally while growing up in Central Illinois to being fascinated by the B-25s that flew over his high school during World War II to attending college as an Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) student and being given his first helicopter ride at Quantico, Va.

“That day, we were being flown to the destination of our long routine hike,” Cannell recalls. “I noticed the pilots were sitting in the front drinking coffee and I realized I’d rather be them.” He put his name on a list for flight training and, in 1957, was sent to Pensacola to learn to fly and earn his Navy wings. He went on to serve with the Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot.

After active duty, he joined the Marine Reserves (Naval Air Station Glenview) and worked as an aviation insurance underwriter, using an H35 Model Bonanza to cover his sales territory out of his Chicago base to Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. Incidentally, that 1956 H35 is now a part of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, Tenn.

Roger Cannell

Cannell married his wife, Mary Jean, and changed careers, becoming a CPA, a career that spanned 45 plus years. During this period Cannell bought his first of four aircraft, including three Beech Bonanzas, one of which he owned for 34 years. One day, Cannell started thinking about being retired, not flying as much, and the costs associated with an airplane, and he shared these thoughts with the son of a former aircraft partner friend who later called him saying he wanted to buy Cannell’s Bonanza. In a moment he later regretted, he sold the Bonanza. It was the first time in decades he didn’t own an airplane. 

“I spent three or four weeks crying,” he joked. “Then I went out and bought another Bonanza.” He currently is flying about 50 hours a year. His years of flying have included service with LifeLine Pilots and making many trips for kids to Shriners Hospitals. His long flying career earned him the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Flight Award. This award is given to pilots who have been actively flying for 50 years without a violation or accident. “I got a plaque and a pin,” Cannell said. “My name, along with some 2,000 other aviators, is etched into one of the walls at the FAA building in Washington, D.C., but I haven’t seen that yet. To be alongside pilots like Neil Armstrong is abundantly humbling.”

Now retired from his CPA career, Cannell lives in Hot Springs Village, Ark., a 26,000-acre gated community. With his experience in flying and aviation insurance, it’s no surprise Cannell relies on AOPA Insurance Services. “I have worked with Carol Thompson there for several years,” Cannell says. “We enjoy talking about airplanes and it’s nice to have a contact where we can exchange information and build a relationship. I appreciate her.”

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit us at www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for loads of information on how AOPA can get you the best deal on aviation and life insurance.   

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Charitable flying: A season of giving

Dec 20, 2013

Can't find a new place to go for that $100 hamburger, or perhaps you are just looking for a new mission for your trusty bird? Consider charitable flights.

Can’t find a new place to go for that $100 hamburger, or perhaps you are just looking for a new mission for your trusty bird? Consider joining a growing number of AOPA members who make an estimated 10,000 charity flights each year. There are many excellent organizations that can offer you the opportunity to participate in this rewarding activity, and you can reach most of them through the Air Care Alliance and the Air Charity Network.

But what about the risks associated with such flights? Let’s take a minute to evaluate and address those risks.

First, charitable flight organizations have very clear requirements concerning how and when you are permitted to conduct charitable flight operations. Passengers are required to sign a waiver of liability form prior to flight, and by carefully following the rules of the organization, and staying well within your piloting abilities, you will have gone a long way toward reducing your liability exposure. The Air Safety Institute provides an excellent online program for volunteer pilots.

Second, since the flight will be a noncommercial pleasure flight, such use is already approved under 14 CFR Part 91, and you are protected under your aircraft owners or non-owner’s policy.

Third, AOPA Insurance Services and the six largest aviation insurance companies have agreed that such flight operations should be encouraged, and a certificate of insurance can be provided upon request. If additional-insured status is also required, your insurance broker can request it for you.

As Abraham Lincoln said when speaking of the connections we share with veterans, their families, and our fellow Americans: We are all “touched … by the better angels of our nature” when we volunteer to help our veterans, their families, and others in need. Let's reach out and use aviation to help others this year.

Visit www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for information about how AOPA can get you the best deal for your insurance needs.

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Pilot mentored by her flight instructor, AOPA

Dec 02, 2013

From growing up without any particular interest in aviation to being hooked on flying... Nina Ortega says she couldn't have done it without her flight instructor or AOPA.

Nina Ortega discovers the joys of GA

Nina Ortega is a California-based attorney who did not grow up with any particular interest in aviation. She didn’t have a relative who was a pilot; she had taken a ride in a general aviation airplane once or twice but never imagined herself as a pilot. In 2005, she met the man who would become her husband. Len was a lapsed student pilot. As they were dating, she questioned him about how he could have given up this dream and encouraged him to earn his private pilot certificate. Nina Ortega

Along the way, something happened. Len earned his license, and Ortega decided she didn’t want to fly with him unless she could handle an emergency. She says, “My original motivation was to be able to save my hide, but it only took one lesson for me to be hooked on flying in its own right. If I just wanted to learn to land in case of an emergency, I wouldn’t have needed a certificate. I wanted my own license to be able to go places.” Then she adds, “I love flying.”

Len was interested in buying an airplane and kept bringing advertisements to Ortega. She would quiz him: Is this really the one? Is this the one and only? Len couldn’t give an emphatic yes, until he found a Rockwell Commander. Ortega thought she would use the airplane for her own training, only to discover that primary instruction in a complex airplane presents additional challenges.

So Ortega bought a second airplane: a Piper Tomahawk. Now both are enjoying both airplanes, Ortega so much so that she’s contemplating working toward an instrument rating.

Along the way, Ortega had a dual support system. The first is Kristin Winter, the couple’s friend and flight instructor. Ortega says, “My husband introduced me to aviation, but Kristin is the one who made it happen. She was my mentor and my flight instructor. She’s also an excellent mechanic with inspector authority as well. She’s smart and funny and has taught me so much. Plus she is an attorney, like myself, but her specialty is aviation law, of course.”

The other support system is AOPA. “For a newbie to general aviation, everything is so foreign,” Ortega says. “I can’t imagine being an aircraft owner or GA pilot without being an AOPA member—there are just so many benefits.”

Ortega relied on AOPA to guide her through flight training and her first aircraft purchase. She says, “As a lawyer, I know about insurance, but I didn’t know about aviation insurance.” When it was time to buy aircraft insurance, it was natural for her to turn to AOPA, and she wasn’t disappointed. “My agent is Cher Clare, and she was very patient with me and carefully answered all my questions. She was really there for me.”

As Ortega continues to fly and enjoy the GA lifestyle, she stresses to new pilots to join AOPA, as they will find value there for a small amount of money. In short, Ortega says, “If it has to do with aviation, the first place I go is AOPA, and I usually don’t have to go anywhere else.”

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit the website or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best deal of aviation and life insurance.

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Lienholder coverage

Nov 18, 2013

The lending institution understandably wants to protect their investment, so what can you do to also minimize your costs and exposure?

Understandably, the lending institute that helped fund your aircraft purchase wants to ensure your loan will be repaid in the event of an accident in which your insurance company denies the hull claim for some reason (usually because you violated certain policy requirements).

The most common example of such a violation would be a loss arising when your aircraft is being operated by a non-approved pilot. If, following an accident, it’s discovered a pilot not approved by your policy was operating the aircraft when the loss occurred, coverage could be voided and you’d be obligated to pay the lending institute the entire amount owed on the aircraft yourself.

If your policy includes breach of warranty coverage, however, the insurance company would pay the lender the proceeds from the claim in the event of such an accident.

Keep in mind, breach of warranty coverage must be specifically requested, and is often added at little to no extra cost.

A good question to ask potential lienholders before you sign on the dotted line is whether they’re willing to amend your coverage to Ground Not In Motion if your aircraft is laid up for an extended period of time (you’ll need their permission to avoid violating your loan agreement). Many lenders will flatly refuse (usually the larger ones). Although some will consider the request on a case-by-case basis to help you minimize insurance costs when your aircraft is not in service.

Visit www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best deal for your insurance needs.

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More choices for frequent travelers

Nov 01, 2013

AOPA members travel frequently. AOPA is proud to announce its newest program to assist with this.

AOPA members travel a lot. To meet the needs of members and to provide them with the maximum amount of flexibility and choice, AOPA is proud to announce the association's newest travel assistance program, MedFlight Freedom.

Building on the success of the AOPA Emergency Assistance Plus program, MedFlight Freedom was developed to give members more choices and control during a medical emergency while traveling away from home. With one phone call, you can be evacuated from the hospital where you’re admitted to your home hospital or a world-renowned clinic for expert care. As long as you are stable enough to travel, MedFlight Freedom will get you there. Coverage includes protection for you and your immediate family with domestic (United States, Canada, and Mexico) or international options.

For more information visit the AOPA Insurance Services website or call 855/520-3592.

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From motorcycle guy to airplane guy

Oct 25, 2013

From passing the written to buying aircraft insurance, AOPA was there. Thomas Remo says he has “an ear-to-ear grin every day.”

From passing the written to buying aircraft insurance, AOPA was there.

Thomas Remo says he has “an ear-to-ear grin every day.” Other pilots will appreciate that his happy face is caused by his most recent purchase: a Piper Cherokee. Remo is the owner of Shocker Custom Cycles in Huntington Beach, Calif., and he says owning an airplane is “a lifelong dream come true.”

 Thomas Remo

Pilots also will appreciate that it took time and effort to get where he is today. As a very young boy, a flight attendant overheard him using the word tarmac and was so impressed that she brought him to the cockpit to meet the pilot who let Remo sit in his seat. The dream of learning to fly would have to wait, however, and it wasn’t until he was 25 that he took an intro flight and fell in love with flying again.

In December 2012, Remo felt that his life and his businesses—in addition to the motorcycle shop, he owns a music studio—were stable and successful, and he could devote the resources to learning to fly. Although the instructor for his intro flight had recommended he join AOPA, he ignored the advice until he started ground school at Orange Coast College where his instructors Dr. Ernest Maruer and Richard Young both recommended the students join AOPA.

“That’s when I jumped in head first and wanted to know everything AOPA had to offer,” he says. He credits studying www.aopa.org for the high score on his private written—especially, he says, information about runway signs. He says, “I was having a difficult time getting everything to sink into my head.” He also credits his flight instructor, Brandon Abrego, for his great teaching.

He passed his private checkride this past Mother’s Day and he turned his attention to buying an airplane. Although he had trained in a Cessna 172, he preferred the silhouette of a low-wing airplane and especially the Cherokee. He turned back to www.aopa.org, now for information on buying an airplane. He says, “I’m only 29 and I’ve never bought an airplane before.” He says he used every resource AOPA offers to research his purchase.

When it came time to buy insurance, his experience with the association had been so positive that he naturally turned to AOPA. Again, AOPA came out on top. In fact, he had called some other insurance companies and was not impressed with their level of customer service. Remo says, “My guy at AOPA Insurance was super-nice, gave me the best rate, and told me that I’d be covered starting that day and that they’d send me the paperwork in the mail.”

As for aircraft ownership, Remo says it’s everything he has dreamed of. He and his girlfriend, Karen, took a spontaneous trip to Palm Springs, then on to Las Vegas. He says, “Flying is so awesome, I can come and go as I please. And the best news is Karen used to be afraid of flying, and now she’s thinking about getting her license. She loves it.” In the meantime, Remo is enjoying his airplane and working on his instrument rating. In sum, he says, “All I want to do is fly.”

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit us at www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best deal of aviation and life insurance.

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Nonowner's insurance: Add it to your checklist

Oct 18, 2013

John felt the airplane rock under the influence of a gusting north wind as he rolled into position for takeoff on Runway 27. They would back in an hour or so.

By Bill Snead

John felt the airplane rock under the influence of a gusting north wind as he rolled into position for takeoff on Runway 27. He planned to be back in an hour or so: just a quick Sunday morning flight with his neighbor, Bob. One hour and 10 minutes later John wondered just how much it would cost to fix that wheel fairing, replace a runway light, and file out that nick in the prop. Turns out that botched crosswind landing, wheel fairing, runway light, and “nicked” prop cost $30,000! The wheel pant was $300 and the airport manager had a spare runway light, but that prop was a problem, and an engine teardown and inspection was required.

So just what did John have to worry about? Here’s a partial list: damage to the airport property, fire department response fees, salvage company fee to get John’s airplane out of the mud, one aircraft wash job, the aircraft policy deductible, two months storage in a repair shop, one wheel fairing, one new prop (the damaged prop had 25 hours on it), one engine teardown and inspection, the parts and labor to repair the engine, nick and scrape repairs, new paint on the repaired and replaced parts of the aircraft, engine and aircraft test flights including pilot charges, the significant cost of an accident investigation and defense costs, a possible subrogation lawsuit by the owner’s insurance company, a possible lawsuit by the aircraft owner for damages not covered by his insurance, two months loss of use/profits to the flight school, and the cost of an attorney to represent him just in case his friend Bob decided he might have been hurt after all.

Luckily, Bob saw the incident as just a good story, and John had purchased Nonowner’s (Renter's) Insurance from the AOPA Insurance Agency. His policy covered everything except for one FAA checkride, a bruised ego, and a big thank-you to the operator of the flight school that had insisted John carry insurance. Add Nonowner’s Insurance to your checklist. It is an important part of being a responsible pilot. Call AOPA Insurance Services at 800/622-2672 or get immediate insurance with a credit card online.

Bill Snead was named president of the AOPA Insurance Agency in 2013.

Editor's note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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It's up to you to protect yourself as an aircraft renter

Oct 14, 2013

Many pilots fly a rental or training aircraft with the assumption that insurance isn’t their responsibility.

  • “The FBO has insurance on this plane—after all, they own it.”
  • “My flight instructor said the school insures the airplane.”
  • “I don’t need insurance because I’m a good pilot.”

Many pilots fly a rental or training aircraft with the assumption that insurance isn’t their responsibility—that the owner of the aircraft, the flight school or FBO, is responsible. Some pilots, more than you’d imagine, just flat out believe an accident won’t happen to them. These are dangerous thoughts to have because accidents happen to even the best pilots, and while it’s true the FBO or school insures the airplane, these businesses are protecting themselves, not you.

Often an aircraft renter is told he or she doesn’t need liability coverage—only $5,000 for aircraft damage. But here’s what that FBO doesn’t tell you: They have their own liability coverage and they aren’t worried about you, the renter, being sued as it won’t impact them. The FBO will have hull coverage to cover the aircraft and more than likely your $5,000 will simply cover their deductible. That way, the flight school or FBO has no out-of-pocket expenses.

When it comes to liability, you have a range of price points when selecting coverage. AOPA Insurance believes you should buy what you’re comfortable with, but really as much as you can reasonably afford to cover not only the airplane but also bodily injury for your passengers along with property damage.

When you buy insurance as a renter, you are buying an amount of insurance for the “occurrence,” which includes property damage and bodily injury with a passenger sublimit, meaning how much of the insurance money is provided for health care for the passenger. For example, if you have an insurance policy paying $250,000 as an occurrence limit, the passenger sublimit will be $25,000. No surprise that amount could easily be used up in the first hour in a hospital emergency room.

In the case of an accident when you are renting an airplane, any number of things may happen, but one factor remains true: No one is protecting your interests but you.

When you buy renter’s insurance for yourself from AOPA Insurance, you are buying protection for the entire year. AOPA Insurance makes it easy. In fact, you can buy renter’s insurance online, charge it to a credit card, and download proof of insurance within minutes. In addition to buying online, you can call AOPA Insurance from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday. Or you can buy renter’s insurance the "old school" way: Send a check and the application through the mail. Once you purchase a policy, you’re good to go, whether you rent once a year or dozens of times a year. It’s the same price.

Buying renter’s insurance really is quick and easy: The only information you are required to give is your name, address, email address, date of birth, occupation, the type of aircraft you typically fly, your licenses and ratings, total time, total time in the past 12 months, and answers to four questions. That’s it. Renter’s insurance ranges from $250,000/$25,000 to $1,000,000/$100,000 for liability coverage and optional physical damage liability, all for an affordable price that makes protecting yourself and your assets the logical choice. For more information or to apply for a policy, visit the AOPA Insurance Services website or call us at 800/622-2672. Don’t forget: You earn a 5-percent discount just for being an AOPA member.

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B-29 navigator, bombardier, radar officer flies a Starduster

Oct 01, 2013

Marvin Rosenberg: Still flying at 91.

Marvin Rosenberg: Still flying at 91. The Rosenbergs

Like many boys of his generation, Rosenberg’s interest in aviation came from models introduced to him by a neighbor. “He had some models of biplanes, and we played with those. He was very careful with them and he only let me handle them once in a while,” Rosenberg recalls. Rosenberg then went on to build model airplanes out of paper and balsa wood with rubber bands attached to the propellers.

Marvin was drafted in March 1943 while in college at UCLA. He stated his preference to the draft board to become a navigator. He was placed in a heavy weapons company instead. Rosenberg recalls, “After seven or eight months, I saw a notice asking if anyone wanted to transfer to the Army Air Corps and I said yes and passed the physical.” It was in gunnery school in Fort Myers, Fla., where he learned trap shooting skills he still retains. “I can hit 23 clay birds out of 25 and people want to know how this old geezer does it,” he jokes.

Eventually Rosenberg became a radar, navigator, and bombardier on a B-29 Superfortress based Guam with missions over Japan. When the war ended he came home and started his family and his business, a ladies’ blouse manufacturing company, LeeMar of California. He bought his first airplane, a Cessna 182 in 1963, even before had earned his private certificate. A year later he upgraded to a Cessna 205 and then to a Cessna 206 in 1969, which he owned for 33 years, selling it in 2012. “I had 4,000 hours in the airplane,” he says. “We flew it across the country three times, twice to Florida and Canada, and many times to Mexico.” He also flew for the Coast Guard Auxiliary for more than 20 years and the Palm Springs Police Aero Squadron for 17 years.

He missed owning an airplane, so last year he purchased a Starduster Too in Indiana. With a ferry pilot in the back seat, they flew 2,100 miles in an open cockpit to Palm Springs in four days. Rosenberg once again turned to AOPA Insurance and Carol Thompson for help. Thompson found a policy for him. He has been a member of AOPA for more than 50 years and a 20-year customer of AOPA Insurance. He says, “Unfortunately the policy calls for a qualified check pilot that is not so easy to find. So the airplane has not flown as much as I would like.”

In addition to flying and enjoying life with Leah, his wife of 70 years, Rosenberg has been a lifelong sailor. The highlight of his sailing came when he sailed his Morgan 46 from Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, down the California and Mexico coast, through the Panama Canal, through the Caribbean, north up the intracoastal waterway to Maine and then shipped the boat back to Marina Del Rey. He took three years to make the trip, taking time out for hurricane seasons.

These days, Rosenberg belongs to the United Fly Octogenarians and keeps busy with daily games of golf and tennis. He also belongs to a group called Old Bold Pilots which has monthly meetings with speakers.

As for Thompson, his renewal manager at AOPA Insurance, Rosenberg says “She’s wonderful. She has always been honest with me. She has always come through for me.” As AOPA Insurance’s oldest insured, he appreciates the care and service Thompson has provided. AOPA Insurance offers knowledgeable agents who can understand aviation and the kind of flying each individual does. That personal touch is what makes AOPA Insurance such a valuable resource for members.

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best deal on aviation and life insurance.

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What you need to know about insurance when you become a pilot

Oct 01, 2013

You dreamed about becoming a pilot and are taking the steps to make that a reality. Insurance, although not on the top of the fun list, is an important piece of joining the ranks of pilots.

You dreamed about becoming a pilot and are taking the steps to make that a reality. Often as we chase our dreams we don’t think about what might change based on that becoming a reality. Insurance, although not on the top of the fun list, is an important piece of joining the ranks of aviators.

You may have an existing life and/or accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policy that you bought years ago or through your employer. If so, take time to pull it out and read the exclusions thoroughly. Many life and accident policies will not cover you as a pilot flying for recreation or as a passenger in a general aviation aircraft, or they may pay a reduced amount should there be a claim. Read the fine print carefully. Similar to other activities like riding a motorcycle or mountain climbing, aviation is included as a high-risk activity, and many times the policy is written to decrease the exposure of the underwriter. AOPA Insurance Services has worked carefully with our underwriters to create pilot-friendly policies.

As a new pilot, you may not realize when you rent or borrow an aircraft you could be personally liable for tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs and legal defense fees should damage occur, because FBO policies rarely provide adequate coverage for pilots. Renter’s insurance and liability insurance are critical to protect you against claims arising from bodily injury and property damage for which you are legally liable, caused by an occurrence arising from your use of a nonowned (rented or borrowed) aircraft. Nonowned liability coverage does not apply to damage to the aircraft you have borrowed or rented. However, physical damage coverage for your nonowned aircraft may be added to your liability policy for an additional premium.

When you own your aircraft, you will still want to consider a life or AD&D policy. Often we speak with members who think that is covered under their aircraft owner’s insurance but that is not the case, there is no coverage for you or your life in an aircraft insurance policy.

AOPA Insurance Services insurance experts are able to answer your specific questions. Visit aopainsurance.org to learn more.

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