August 1, 2011
By Kathy Dondzila
It’s August and we’re right in the middle of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially began in June. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts a 65% chance of an above normal season. Of course, while the weather experts can forecast probable activity, they can’t predict the location of landfall until the storm track has been established, and even then, storms have been known to deviate from their projected path. So, for those aircraft owners who live on or near the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Caribbean Sea, having a hurricane plan for your aircraft is essential.
Undoubtedly, the best protection you can provide is to purchase hurricane insurance for your aircraft. Make sure your policy covers relocation expenses, should you need to fly your aircraft out of a storm’s path. The AOPA Insurance Agency provides coverage for individual owners as well as for flying clubs. Some policies cover the cost of hiring an evacuation pilot, relocating and storing an aircraft. Others will reimburse policyholders for relocating their aircraft outside of a hurricane watch or warning area.
Should you need to relocate your aircraft, here are some tips from the AOPA Insurance Agency to make the process go more smoothly:
Those aircraft owners who decide to stay and face the storm should have supplies on hand and a plan that can be implemented on short notice to help minimize possible damage to their aircraft.
According to Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of aviation services, "You want to do everything you can to make sure your airplane is immobilized and that there's nothing loose that could blow into your airplane." Cahall says that most likely your airplane will fare better inside a hangar than out in the elements. But consider how solid the hangar is.
For those aircraft battened down outside:
There are more tips online in AOPA’s subject report on Hurricanes. Questions? Give the aviation experts in AOPA’s Pilot Information a call, 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday 8:30 to 6 p.m. ET.
Technical Communications Manager, Kathy Dondzila, joined AOPA in 1990 and is an instrument-rated private pilot.
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