In regard to Morrie Caudill’s letter in the Jan. 6 issue (Third class medical is no parachute): Apparently you didn’t understand my letter. First, you are incorrect in that agents and brokers have no profit-loss responsibility to any insurer. That is the insurer’s responsibility. I am an insurance broker and work for my customer to find the best deal I can for him. If an insurance company isn’t making money on a particular segment of the market they might increase their rates or, worse yet, they might get out of that market entirely.
That is the exact reason for my concern. If sport pilots fly without correctly and fully self certifying themselves medically and cause the accident rate for insured sport pilot planes to increase, then the rates could increase for all sport pilots, or we could lose one or more of the three markets that are really supporting that segment of the market currently. Having fewer markets competing on Sport Pilot risks will in and of itself increase the rates. Or the markets could all decide to stop insuring planes flying under the Sport Pilot rule.
You say that self certification is something that every pilot does before he goes flying. I’d say that you and many others are only doing part of that self certification.
I just reread section 8-1-1 in the AIM and Part 67 of the FARs in their entirety. They both say, basically, “a pilot who has a history of or increase in the severity of the following conditions…must not operate a plane” and goes on to list several things which you seem to think are unimportant. I contest that the FAA (and the insurance companies) do think that those conditions are disqualifying medically under any level of pilot rules and privileges and should be considered when self certifying yourself prior to flight whether or not the FAA knows about the condition.
Following the logic of the article in question (Pilots still frustrated by Sport Pilot medical, Oct. 21 issue), a pilot shouldn’t even report a loss of consciousness or concussion as long as the pilot feels OK, then he’s the judge. You seem to be saying that you are evaluating whether or not you “feel OK” and “won’t drop dead in the next one or two hours,” but you are completely ignoring the list of conditions which the FAA says that you cannot have and safely operate a plane under ANY medical rules/privileges from Sport Pilot through ATP. Why else would they publish that list? If they only wanted AMEs to be disqualifying you for those conditions, then why publish it to you (and require that you be familiar with it to get your pilot’s license)?
So, if you want to fly around without truly self certifying yourself, let that be between you and the FAA. Please do the rest of the folks who want to fly under the Sport Pilot Rule (and get insurance) a favor and don’t insure your plane. Because if there are losses for which an insurance company denies coverage, that is not a good thing. The insurance companies don’t like it because it makes them look bad to their customers. However, if there are losses which an insurance company would like to deny coverage but goes ahead and pays out anyway because they feel that is in their best interest (i.e. they feel they’d be forced to pay after an expensive legal battle), that is worse. The legal battle itself might be enough of a reason to just pay it. Either way, increased losses in that segment would not be a good thing. I’m interested in coverage remaining available to my current and future Sport Pilot customers at reasonable rates. I feel that the attitude expressed in the article in question in the Oct. 21st edition of this paper, and now in Mr. Caudill’s letter, puts Sport Pilot insurance rates at risk for becoming more expensive for my customers, or it could even make insurance for Sport Pilots completely unavailable to all who might want it.
John “JT” Helms
NationAir Insurance Agencies, Inc.