Insurance For Sport Pilots Is Here...

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Advice: Check Before Flight...

Since Sept. 1, it's been legal to fly as a Sport Pilot, but if you do, are you insured? "Don't assume that because you have coverage to fly as a Private Pilot, you'll be insured if you fly as a Sport Pilot," Bob Mackey, a vice president with Falcon Insurance Agency, in Oshkosh, Wis., told AVweb on Tuesday. "Check with your agent first." For example, if you let your medical expire, that might be OK with the FAA (with regard to Sport Pilots) but some insurers won't like it -- nor will they like the lack of Sport Pilot history. "There are going to be some adjustments to be made," Mackey said. "It's all still evolving." Mackey, whose company provides insurance for EAA members and others, said Falcon already has policies available for Sport Pilots, for fixed-wing Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), and for Sport Pilots who rent airplanes. Also, Avemco Insurance Company announced yesterday that it is ready to insure Sport Pilots in "Standard Certificated" and "Experimental Amateur-Built" aircraft that meet the definition of Light Sport Aircraft. Avemco expects it will also insure both the Special LSA and Experimental LSA airplanes as they become available to Sport Pilots, said Jim Lauerman, executive vice president and chief underwriting officer, in a news release. In addition, Avemco's non-owner policies will be available to Sport Pilots. "We will have an endorsement to permit non-owner coverage for the Special and Experimental Light Sport Aircraft as well," Lauerman said.

Although Sport Pilots can fly with reduced medical examination requirements and fewer hours of instruction than Recreational or Private Pilots, they also must operate under restrictions regarding aircraft weight, speed, seating capacity and more that other pilots do not face. "These factors should balance out," said Lauerman. He is optimistic that the differences in premiums in the early years of LSA coverage will diminish as data are collected, so eventually there will be little difference in price for the pilot who obtains LSA insurance. Right now, he stressed, Avemco is prepared to insure pilots who will be joining today's pilot ranks as new Sport Pilots. Avemco is based in Frederick, Md.