AVmail: April 17, 2003

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Reader mail this week about flying with babies and the cost of liability insurance for flight schools.


Flight School Liability Insurance

Twenty years ago, the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering Department had an airplane and a flight testing course. Western Michigan, Embry Riddle, etc., still do. We sold ours, as "it was too expensive." Now, we can get the funding for another aircraft, but the administrators tell us that no way will we be able to afford the liability insurance. How do others address this problem?

Bill Kauffman
Professor, Aerospace Engineering
University of Michigan


Infant Ear Protection

I have a question that Sporty's, David Clark, AOPA, and my pediatrician did not have an answer for. I have a Cessna 210 and a five month old baby. I'd love to take my child flying, but I'm having a hard time finding adequate ear protection. Surely other people have taken their babies flying. Do you have any suggestions on what to use for ear protection? Would you believe my pediatrician's nurse suggested cotton balls!

Thanks for any suggestions.

Debra Bohachevsky

AVweb responds ...

Your desire to protect your child's hearing is exemplary but does present practical problems. As they get more dexterous and even mobile, most children aren't going to wear anything they don't want to for very long, unless it's on quite securely. How long will your baby keep on that cute little cap?

When my children were very young, I just accepted that noise-induced hearing loss would not occur from the relatively few hours of exposure in GA aircraft they would get before they were old enough for effective hearing protection. I tried splitting foam plugs lengthwise for toddlers and can't say it was a great success, but your infant may tolerate that until old enough to yank them out. I did sometimes get an adult or juvenile headset over their relatively big heads while they were asleep, but they never fit very well.

As they get older it is imperative to get them accustomed to using either proper-size headsets or ear plugs as a part of the "safety aspect of flying," just like seat belts.

p.s. Even more important, make sure you have an infant seat that mates securely with your Centurion.