Sunday 19 May 2013 00:47 UTC
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Nor does it need it. The "mate who happens to be a pilot" holds no legal role on board. The legal commander is the PPL "mentee". The "mate who happens to be a pilot" cannot log the time either.
Unless the law has changed recently....
The reason for the insurance requirement is simply because it is not strictly "a mate who happens to be a pilot". A third-party has put the mentor and mentee together - a service usually provided by a flying club bar....
This leads me to believe that the insurance requirement is to protect AOPA as much as the mentor (probably rightly so).
Yakkist & Bus Driver
I don't fully understand this.
This year, I asked Haywards whether they thought a mentor would be liable, in a situation where the mentee is legally PIC (which by definition is the AOPA scheme). The man said he cannot see any liability.
FWIW I can't see any liability either. A PIC is a PIC. If a PIC makes an error or judgement because a more experienced person is sitting in the RHS, or because a woman with nice legs and a short skirt is sitting in the RHS, that's the PIC's fault entirely.
It is true that if you ask a lawyer "is there a liability" he will practically always say Yes. Maybe this is what happened.
I also asked the man whether AOPA ever contacted them about this; he said No. Odd, since Haywards own at least 90% of the UK GA insurance market.
Much more likely IMHO there is a real legal issue arising from AOPA's self-enforced position as an introducer for the mentor, and the membership requirement. The scheme (which I do support BTW, in principle; having argued for years that the best way to revitalise GA is through extensive pre- and post-PPL mentoring) looks and smells every bit like a revenue raising scheme for AOPA. It may well be that AOPA had absolutely no such intention whatsoever, and that their requirement for both mentor and mentee to be paid up members of AOPA is wholly incidental, but IMHO that would not last 5 minutes in a court. If AOPA did not require both to be members, but perhaps just hosted a free website where mentors and mentees could meet up, that would look very different and probably similar to the many "seat sharing" websites through which a low-hour PIC is highly likely to pick up a passenger who has more hours than himself.
Otherwise, there is no known precedent for the estate of a PIC going after a passenger on the grounds that the passenger was also a pilot and had more hours than the PIC. There have been thousands of relevant crashes where the RHS had more hours - basically almost any case of any post-PPL instructional flight - yet I have never heard of a successful action along these lines, in the UK, USA, or anywhere, where the PIC was already legal to be PIC. With the vast # of instructional hours flown, if this was happening, we would hear about it.
I can understand one needs some kind of "quality control" on the mentor, which is kind of tricky since a PPL is a PPL and everybody with a PPL is by definition equally good. But it is probably AOPA's membership requirement that is the problem here. If they (for example) required a mentor to have completed ten x/c flights of at least 500nm distance, or whatever other thing one chooses, or have a CRI, etc, but with no AOPA membership required, the picture would be very different.
"Has reached at least a minimum standard" is probably more accurate than "equally good".
Yakkist & Bus Driver
I wish I had left Peter to do it. I didn't have all the answers, so took advice and soundings from a wide variety of people and organisations over an 18 month period.
It would have been so much easier had I had all the answers at the beginning as Peter does.
Peter, can we rely on you to do the IFR scheme?
Great, thanks, over to you.
Not sent from my iPad.
I thought you were a magistrate, Timothy. Why not dig out a lawyer (you must bump into 1 or 2 reasonable ones at work) and then get him to rubbish what I actually wrote. We could all learn from that.
I am not a lawyer but have been in business for 32+ years and the application of a bit of common sense does suggest that AOPA UK have dug themselves a bit of a hole on this one.
Otherwise, a PIC is a PIC and it will take some effort to pierce that concept.
or because a woman with nice legs and a short skirt is sitting in the RHS, that's the PIC's fault entirely
This is an interesting angle. Can we develop this theme further? Is there any legal precedent? Is this really the PIC's fault? Many of us have been in a similar situation.
Can AWWNLASS be done for contributory negligence? Do we have a lawyer in the audience?
Eurofox taildragger group forming - West Sussex
I'm still at a bit of a loss here. Firstly, I wholeheartedly agree that any form of personal development is a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, as soon as any organisation attempts to formalise such activity we run into the liability question. AOPA has, with the bets of intention, fought its way through lots of sticky stuff and almost got past the holding point; I'm sure things will come to fruition.
However, am I the only one who finds it a pity that AOPA have had to take the scheme forward in such a formalised manner? My point is that many clubs/individuals already mentor on an informal basis and we do not see lists of liability claims hitting the courts. Wouldn't it be nice if our representative bodies could focus on developing/maintaining an ethos rather than a set of procedures?
Maybe I need to take my rose-tinted spectacles off
Dave, that was my original wish, but unfortunately AOPA does not work in a vacuum, and if there are liability issues they cannot control that and must face up to them.
I do have to say that I offered to set up the scheme within another organisation and they turned it down for liability reasons, so AOPA should actually be congratulated for making it happen.
Not sent from my iPad.
"Do you think for a moment that we didn't consult a specialist aviation lawyer?"
What did he say?
(details, please, if possible)
"I do have to say that I offered to set up the scheme within another organisation and they turned it down for liability reasons"
Why am I not suprised?
Like Dave Philips suggests, as soon as you become a formal introducer of the mentors, and also appear to perform some vetting of the mentors, you are looking at a liability for the mentor's behaviour in the cockpit.
One doesn't need to be a lawyer to work that out. Look no further than your credit card company's liability, and that arrangement is a good deal more "at arm's length" than what AOPA is doing (the CC company hasn't got a clue what you are buying, etc).
If I run a brothel (let's assume for now it is legal to do so) and you walk in, and I formally size you up and introduce you to a "suitable" girl (or a boy, perhaps; one must never forget the rich tapestry of our diverse society), and this girl (or boy) causes you to have a heart attack, then you can sue me for not having done due diligence on your health beforehand. Such responsibility could be discharged with a medical examination...
The real problem is that one cannot have one's cake and eat it. One cannot run a scheme which appears to vet and introduce mentors, without being liable for the mentor's actions. There is simply no way to do that - especially as there is no contractual way to limit liability for injury or death. And if the mentor gets killed, the mentee (or his estate if he got killed too) is free to make up any **** and bull story about what happened.
Like I say I am no lawyer but the only way I see of doing mentoring is a scheme whereby you have (in the modern age) a website, from which nobody makes money, which nobody moderates for the competence of the people on it, and interested mentors post their details on it.
Like internet dating really, except somebody does make money from that, and they could probably be sued (but since they are raking it in very nicely all the big players will have insurance)
There you are. I have now written 19 lines, not counting blank lines or this line. I am sure a lawyer will find enough meat in this to have a go.
As Timothy has said, considerable vountary effort has gone into the development of the AOPA Mentor Scheme. This has involved the Members' Working Group and, to a minor extent, other AOPA committes. In addition, advice from regulators, senior members of the insurance industry and the legal profession has been sought and freely given.
The result is a sound scheme which provides members and their insurers with adequate assurance concerning liability and regulatory aspects. The scheme is not 'back door instruction'. The aim is to encourage self-development with the benefit of a more experienced pilot in the passenger seat who is available to provide advice and help the PIC to gain confidence. The PIC will emphatically not be coerced into attempting something for which he/she is wholly unprepared.
Once the VFR scheme has developed, it is intended that an IFR scheme will quickly follow.
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