AOPA has enlisted the help of the United Flying Octogenarians in its Aging Pilot Study, a three-pronged effort to learn more about what kinds of accidents older pilots are having, what causes them, and what actually happens to pilots' skills as they age.
Members of the United Flying Octogenarians, all of whom are at least 80 years of age and actively flying, have been asked to complete a questionnaire pertaining to their individual flight experience, claims record (if any), and insurance coverage and premiums.
"AOPA members tell us that the cost and safety of flying is very important to them," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This study is directly related to both of those issues. We want to know if the accident record for older pilots justifies the surcharges insurance companies are imposing on them."
AOPA's Aging Pilot Study was prompted, in part, by the escalating surcharges some insurance companies are charging pilots over the age of 60. One company, for example, charges 30 percent above its base rate for a 70-year-old pilot, 95 percent for a 75-year-old, and a whopping 160 percent for an octogenarian aviator.
The study is being overseen by James D. Deimler, who was the program manager for the FAA's Age 60 Rule Study. He also has co-authored several research reports for the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) and is an AOPA member, pilot, and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
The three parts of the study involve looking at the insurance claims of older pilots, probing the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's extensive accident database for the causes of accidents involving older pilots, and using an independent research organization to evaluate what happens to the cognitive and neuro-muscular skills of pilots as they age.
July 26, 2005