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NavWorx says it expects agreement in “two to three weeks” with the FAA on the qualification of some of its ADS-B products for the $500 rebate the agency is offering early adopters of the technology. Aircraft operators who get the gear installed before next Sept. 19 or when 20,000 applications have been received (whichever comes first) will get the money but the agency has disqualified some NavWorx devices because it says its GPS receivers are not properly certified. That’s left some customers with certified aircraft without their $500 and potentially without a certified solution to meet the 2020 ADS-B mandate. NavWorx claims the FAA changed the rules for devices it had already certified in denying the rebates.

In a statement issued late Sunday, NavWorx says the Model 200-0012 and 200-0013 devices under the Unapproved Parts Notification issued by the FAA last month “are designed and were tested and manufactured to meet the 2020 rule.” The company also notes that the devices remain approved for light sport and other uncertified aircraft, which it says means the FAA is satisfied they work satisfactorily in those aircraft. It says the agency “changed their system to stop sending traffic to our products for reasons unconnected to the performance or integrity of our products” and the current discussions with the agency are aimed at addressing that.

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Some power in reserve and the pilot’s decision to use it may have prevented a disaster at Shanghai International Airport Oct. 11. The South China Morning Post reported that a China Eastern Airlines A320 at near takeoff speed came within 75 feet of T-boning a company A330 crossing the active runway. Both aircraft had been cleared. The A320 pilot saw the developing emergency and firewalled the throttles giving him the nudge he needed to take off prematurely over the A330. Authorities told the newspaper the smaller jet cleared the double-aisle airliner by 75 feet.

The number of passengers involved wasn’t immediately released but the two aircraft hold a combined total of about 500 people. The captain of the A320 spotted the crossing A330 at near V1 and increased power to get airborne faster. Two controllers have been suspended as authorities look into the exchanges that occurred before the incident. Chinese authorities put together a video simulation to illustrate what happened, below.

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Germany’s Matthias Dolderer was crowned the 2016 Red Bull Air Race champion Sunday after a weathered-out season finale in Las Vegas invalidated the day’s flying results. Dolderer and Australian Matt Hall had already clinched first and second places on the season. Hall could have theoretically claimed the championship but settled for second. Hannes Arch, of Austria, who died in an unrelated helicopter accident in September, had accumulated enough points in the season to claim third place posthumously. It was Dolderer’s first championship. “You never reach 100 percent: We have been trying to get better and better, race by race, and I hope we come back even stronger next year,” Dolderer said. “We won’t give up and will try to defend this trophy.” 

Winds topping 30 knots caused race officials to delay Sunday’s final. The wind subsided enough to allow racing to start but it picked up again before the last two racers could run so all the results were nullified. Final results for all pilots are as follows: 1. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 80.25 points, 2. Matt Hall (AUS) 55.75 pts, 3. Hannes Arch (AUT) 41.00 pts, 4. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 37.75 pts, 5. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 35.00 pts, 6. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 31.50 pts, 7. Pete McLeod (CAN) 30.50 pts, 8. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 30.25 pts, 9. Martin Šonka (CZE) 25.00 pts, 10. Michael Goulian (USA) 19.75 pts, 11. Juan Velarde (ESP) 14.25 pts, 12. François Le Vot (FRA) 10.00 pts, 13. Peter Podlunšek (SLO) 4.00 pts, 14. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 4.00 pts. 15. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 0.00.


Each week, we poll the savviest aviators on the World Wide Web (that's you) on a topic of interest to the flying community.

Visit to participate in our current poll.

Click here to view the results of past polls.

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A Cessna Citation carrying four people, including former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, crashed Thursday night in British Columbia. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said the jet dropped off radar after departing Kelowna bound for Springbank, Alberta, in the Calgary area, according to a CBC report. Rescue crews received a report of a crash about 9:40 p.m. after ATC lost radar contact with the Citation at about 8,000 feet. The wreckage, with debris strewn about a densely wooded area, was found near Winfield. Authorities said the crash was “unsurvivable” and confirmed all on board were killed, the CBC reported. 

Prentice, 60, who served as Alberta premier leading the Progressive Conservative Party from 2014-2015, was flying home with two friends from Calgary. Among them was a shareholder of the Citation. Flight data showed the jet in a rapid descent from 4800 feet and ATC lost contact soon after departure, the Calgary Sun reported. A Federal Transportation Safety Board official said the jet crashed into terrain "at a high speed." A former shareholder in the aircraft, owned by Norjet, told the Sun the pilot was “experienced” and had been flying for the business for three years. 

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A newly refurbished Reimagined Cessna 150 will go to the Nate Abel Flying Club in Texas, which won AOPA’s latest airplane giveaway. The Nate Abel club, based in Fort Worth, won the prize Thursday over a total of 57 eligible clubs that applied. Club officers received a Skype call from AOPA President Mark Baker, who told them they were the winners. “That’s awesome,” said James Smith, vice president of the club. “The family is going to be floored, they will not believe it.” This year’s giveaway promotes AOPA’s flying club initiative, which encourages pilots to share the costs of flying and aircraft ownership as part of the You Can Fly program. The eye-catching yellow Cessna is among a fleet of Reimagined 150s that underwent restorations by Aviat Aircraft to help promote affordable flying and flight training.

The Nate Abel club plans to bring more younger pilots into the fold by having older pilots serve as mentors. Promoting safety, fun and low-cost flying, and bringing pilots together, all helped the club stand out among the applicants, said Les Smith, AOPA senior director of pilot community development. “Their application scored vey highly in terms of hitting all the key points we were looking for,” Smith said. Meanwhile, the association will continue to support the other clubs in reaching their goals. “Those other 56 clubs have done everything thing there is to do short of obtaining an aircraft, and we want to work with them on that next step,” Smith said.

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Back in the 70's I was in the pattern at Palamar Airport, along with several other aircraft. One fellow was having issues with his radio. 

Tower: ”N1234 turn off your radio." 

After several long seconds.

Tower: ”OK turn it back on"

John Heiser



Mother Nature hasn’t been particularly kind to general aviation airplanes this year. Not every aircraft owner was able to get away from the winds and flooding of Hurricane Matthew and a lively tornado season did its share of recycling aircraft aluminum into beer cans.

The word on the street is that, in most cases, the aircraft owners who were insured had good experiences in dealing with their insurance companies when it came time for the insurers to step up and pay. All of the affected owners I spoke with said that the claims people they dealt with were pleasant to work with, did a lot to help them with the process of repairs and didn’t try to nickel and dime them on the cost of repairs or what was to be paid if the airplane was a total loss.

That was good to hear—and it’s in keeping with the current “soft” insurance market. Aircraft insurance rates are the lowest they’ve been in more than 50 years (corrected for inflation). There are so many companies writing aviation insurance and the competition between them is so strong that none can afford getting a reputation for being a jerk when it comes to paying claims.

While insurance is currently one of the few inexpensive things in general aviation right now (in May, our sister publication Aviation Consumer reported rates were down between 20 and 40 percent from 10 years ago), there are still some ways aircraft owners can shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to buying insurance for their steeds. It’s important to understand the types of coverage available and especially, the risks of buying a policy that has what are known as sublimits.

No Magic Bullet

First of all, there is no magic bullet for an owner/pilot to avoid potential liability if he fouls up and crashes, hurting or killing someone. Incorporating yourself or your airplane does not provide protection if you are the one flying when the mistake is made. Therefore, you face a risk in owning and operating an airplane. When facing a risk, either avoid the activity altogether or take actions to reduce the risk by taking recurrent training to diminish your chances of having an accident while you buy insurance for the risk you do face.

Most aviation insurance is sold through brokers. You, the owner, call up an aviation insurance broker. That person becomes your representative. He or she owes a fiduciary responsibility—a duty and obligation—to you, not to the insurance companies. Your broker will go into the insurance market and contact an underwriter at each insurance company (an underwriter is one of the people at the insurance company who evaluates the potential risk posed by the pilot/owner and decides if the company will quote insurance for that person/airplane—and, if so, at what price). If you and the broker have done your homework, the broker will know a lot about you. By the time your broker calls the first underwriter, your broker should know:

Your flying experience, including flying time flying under various conditions and types of airplanes you have flown. It is utterly essential that you do not not not not pad, or exaggerate your flying time; in many states, overstating your flying time on an insurance application means that the insurance company can refuse to pay if you have an accident. The reasoning of the courts that have made rulings in such cases is that the company was tricked into insuring a risk that was actually worse than they had agreed to insure.

Flying time in the type of airplane being insured.

Whether you take regular recurrent training (that's a big one) and how you go about it. The FAA Wings Program may help you here.

If you've ever had an accident (just one isn't bad, more than one accident will hurt you with insurers).

The ratings you have.

Anything else that the broker thinks will help influence an underwriter to give you the lowest possible premium price, so ask.

You want to sell yourself to your broker so he will be able to go out and pitch you as a very good risk to the insurance companies.

The broker will then contact you with the quotes he's obtained. They may be fairly close in price, or they may have a pretty big spread. The various insurance companies use different standards to set their premiums (there are those who assert that black magic is involved) and some specialize in certain types of risks that some others don't particularly want to insure. You may find that some companies will not quote you. You may have an airplane that is currently unpopular with underwriters. Like fads, the hot and cold airplanes come and go. The Bonanza had its period when it was tough to insure due to the in-flight breakup rate of the V-tail versions; Grumman-Americans were targeted for a while; and tailwheel airplanes can be tough to insure because of their high accident rate.

The Rules of Engagement

Once a broker has gone into the market for you, the market will not give any quotes for you to another broker. Aviation insurance is a small world; you will not get any benefit by attempting to play one broker off another for rates, and you risk aggravating the underwriters to the point they simply refuse to insure you at all. The broker is your agent, so if you want to go to another broker, you will probably have to notify the original one, in writing, that you are changing brokers, before the insurance underwriters will give a quote for you to a second broker. Chances are that it will be absolutely the same as the underwriter gave your original broker.

As an aside, it’s usually a good idea to stick with a broker you like over the years, especially if you are getting to an age where it may be difficult to get coverage. A broker who has had you as a long-time customer may be able to convince an underwriter to provide coverage—at its base, aviation insurance is a person-to-person business and good relationships are important.

The other method of selling insurance is by becoming a "direct writer," such as Avemco, and selling straight to the public without going through brokers. You, the owner/pilot, contact the company on the phone or via the internet; give it the numbers on your experience and it spits out a quote for coverage. It's pretty cut-and-dried, using established tables for flying time and type of airplane. The person you speak to on the phone is an agent of the insurance company and owes no duty of loyalty to you. That person's loyalty and duty are with the insurance company. It is a legal technicality to keep in mind.

There are two types of insurance that you (the aircraft owner) are going to need to consider for your airplane: hull and liability. They are generally sold as a package; and although most people buy both, it's not required unless you have a loan on the airplane—your lender will insist that you have both types of insurance.

Hull Coverage

Hull insurance is coverage for repair of the airplane itself, should it be damaged in an accident, gets pelted with hail while tied down or a 747 falls on it. The term "hull" comes from admiralty (marine) insurance. Admiralty insurance developed into a distinct and very well defined field over the centuries. When airplanes were invented and insurance was desired, rather than try to create a new world of insurance from scratch, the insurers went with something that was roughly analogous: Airplanes operate in a sea of air, boats in a sea of water. As you get into aviation insurance you'll keep stumbling across nautical terms.

Hull insurance premiums are usually some fraction of the value of the aircraft. You agree on a value of your airplane with your insurance company. That becomes the "stated value" and that is the sum that is paid (sometimes minus deductible) if the airplane is totally destroyed. Make sure the stated value is very near the actual value. Hull insurance is relatively inexpensive, so you don't save much by declaring a lower value, and you could really get yourself into a jam by doing so. I worked on a matter where a Cessna 206 was insured at a stated value that was almost exactly 50% of what it was worth. Yes, it was because the owner was cheap. The airplane was damaged during a tornado. The cost to repair was almost exactly the stated value under the policy. The owner was faced with a quandary because of his parsimony. He could pay for the repairs himself, without making a claim, and keep the airplane or he could make a claim to his insurance. If he made a claim to his insurer, the policy language said that because the cost to repair the airplane was more than 90 percent of the stated value, the airplane was considered a total loss. Therefore, he would be paid the stated value and the airplane would then belong to the insurance company. The owner thought it over, made the insurance claim, got paid the stated value he had set and the insurance company got the airplane. The insurance company had the airplane rebuilt and sold it, thus recovering the total cost it had paid the owner and paid to rebuild the airplane.

The moral is to insure for what it's worth.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage protects you if you hurt someone or something when you are operating your airplane. It pays for the injuries to that lineboy you clobbered with the wing tip as you whipped into the tiedown area; or for your passenger's massive hospital bills after you lose it in a crosswind and put your airplane into the airport restaurant. It also pays for reconstruction of the restaurant and for the lawsuits filed against you by the folks in the restaurant who had hot soup splash in their faces as you made your grand entrance through the picture window.

The nasty thing about liability coverage is something called "sublimits." They can bite you badly and, in my opinion, you should do a lot of soul searching and evaluation of your personal assets before you buy a policy that has sublimits. Sublimits mean that there is some limitation in the amount of money available to be paid out in the event you are sued.

Look at it this way: Most aircraft owners buy a $1 million liability policy, so they figure if they have an accident for which they are partially or wholly at fault, and someone is hurt or killed, they've got a million bucks available to pay the damages for the person or persons who were hurt. If you have a sublimits policy, there isn’t a million-dollar pool of money to settle the claims of each person who gets hurt. There’s only the dollar amount set out in the sublimit—usually $100,000.

A policy with a $1 million pool of money available to pay any and all liability claims, is called a "smooth" policy. That million bucks is available no matter how many or how few people are injured and make a claim against you.

The problem is that brokers and direct writers may not push smooth limits, because the policies are more expensive and insurers make more money on sublimit policies.

I’ll repeat it because a sublimit policy can be hazardous to your wealth. A sublimits policy means that while you have an overall pool of money in the policy, only a percentage of it—usually 10 percent—is available for the injuries suffered by any one person. So, if you have one passenger who has a few broken bones and hospitalization for a few weeks, and he or she sues you, you haven't got $1 million to pay off those damages. You only have $100,000. In my experience, that is not enough to protect you if there is a serious injury or death. You'd have to hurt 10 people before your insurer has a risk of paying out the million dollars of your policy. I've found that a significant number of pilots who think they have a million dollar policy are very surprised when they find out that it has $100,000 sublimits.

What is the reality? If you seriously injure or kill someone and you have a $100,000 sublimit policy, and there is no other defendant around to tap for money, your personal assets or your estate (if you're dead) are at risk. If you have the money to own an airplane, the odds are good that you have assets that can be reached.

Some years ago I worked a case involving a pilot who had a million dollar policy with $100,000 sublimits. It appeared he was doing something that might be considered less than safe while carrying one passenger. He crashed and was killed instantly. The passenger survived for a period of time, in hideous pain, before dying. The passenger's estate sued the pilot's estate. The pilot's insurance company put up the $100,000 sublimit; however, it was nowhere near enough to pay what was being demanded by the estate of the deceased passenger. Yes, the estate of the pilot got hit. The widow and children suffered financially. Now, one of the widow's memories of her husband is that he was too cheap to buy adequate insurance and it hurt her and the kids.

Yes, the $100,000 sublimit policy (as well as the smooth policy) does pay for your attorney fees if you are sued. The costs of your defense do not come out of the $100,000 (or $1 million) pool of money that is available to pay a person making a claim against you. If you have few assets beyond your airplane, a $100,000 sublimit policy is likely to be enough; the injured person will probably take it and go away. However, by the time you get up to ownership of a Cessna 182 or Cirrus SR20, the chances are pretty good that you have assets beyond that airplane; otherwise you could not have afforded it in the first place. So, to protect yourself, take a hard look at buying a "smooth" policy, with $1 million completely available. The chances are that if you screw up and hurt someone, it won't be a lot of people and each one will have damages of more than $100,000. You've spent a lot on your airplane—don't go cheap in protecting yourself and your family, especially now that insurance is inexpensive.

Sadly, in my experience, a majority of pilots who buy insurance don't know what a sublimits policy is or what the ramifications are; only that they are cheaper to buy than a smooth policy.

Do not let a broker or direct writer give you a sublimit policy when you want smooth coverage (some companies will not write smooth coverage). I have twice had to fight with an employee of a broker who ignored my statement that I wanted smooth coverage and got quotes for $100,000 sublimits. In one case the person tried to get me to buy the sublimit policy because it was so much cheaper, thinking, perhaps that she was doing me a favor, without discussing the coverage with me or the nature of my insurance needs.

In my experience, $1 to 2 million is adequate to settle the vast majority of potential events you as an aircraft owner might face. It's also not so much insurance that you make yourself an attractive "target" in the event of an accident.

If you regularly carry one or two or three passengers, a $1 or 2 million smooth policy will probably protect you for the huge majority of potential liability risks you face. However, talk to your broker or your attorney before you decide. You may want to carry $5 million in liability insurance. If you are well-off (however you define the term) you may want more coverage if you can get it. The question of how much insurance is right for you is personal and should be discussed with a professional in the field.


In looking at aviation blogs and forums, I still see some insurance myths that I thought were dead and buried. I'll go over them quickly:

Myth: If you violate an FAR when you crash, your insurance won't pay.

Reality: That has been untrue for many years. It's almost impossible to crash without violating an FAR. Those clauses proved unenforceable and are gone from most every policy I've seen in the last 20 years. (However, don't risk flying your airplane if it is out of annual; in that case it is very possible that the company may be able to avoid paying if you bend it.) Be sure and read your policy. Yeah, reading the policy is boring, but it won't take you long.

Myth: If you meet the "open pilot" warranty on a friend's policy when you fly her airplane, you're covered.

Reality: Sorry, you are not covered by the "open pilot warranty" (sometimes you hear it referred to as the "experience requirement"). The open pilot warranty sets out minimum experience for you and other users of your friend's airplane for her to be covered when you fly it. If she lets you fly her airplane and you have the requisite minimum experience set out in the open pilot warranty of her policy and, if you crash, her insurance will cover her. It will fix the airplane and defend her if she (not you) is sued. It may also turn around and sue you for what it paid out (that's called "subrogation"). To make sure you are covered on her policy, have her call her broker and add you as a "named" or "additional" insured on the policy.

Myth: You are covered by the FBO's insurance when you rent.

Reality: Almost never. The FBO is covered, but usually you are not. If you crash, you are going to be liable for the costs of repairs, usually more than just the deductible (so don't get suckered into buying "deductible" insurance -- it's expensive for the little coverage it provides). Buy renters insurance to cover yourself for the value of the airplanes you normally rent. (Sadly, it's almost impossible to get "smooth" renters insurance; all of it that I've seen comes with $100,000 sublimits.)

To recap: Insurance is a contract and only covers what is specifically set forth in the contract. Not all aviation insurance is alike—it’s not like auto insurance that is set by state law and pretty much identical no matter what company writes the insurance policy. Make sure you know what is covered and not covered in your policy.

To help keep your rates down, take regular recurrent training or stay current in the FAA Wings program.

Insure the hull of your airplane for its market value and be sure to review that amount each year when you renew your policy, because your airplane may be appreciating. It may also bump in value if you do an avionics upgrade or redo the interior or paint it. (If that happens in the middle of the insurance year, call your broker and nudge up the stated value.)

Buy a smooth policy if you have assets; don't put them at risk.

Finally, always read your policy, to make certain you got what you intended to buy.

Rick Durden is an aviation attorney, is a CFII and holds an ATP with type ratings in the Douglas DC-3 and Cessna Citation. He is the author of The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual or, How to Survive Flying Little Airplanes and Have a Ball Doing It, Vols 1 & 2.


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Last week, I attended a briefing at the local town hall where airport officials briefed a new arrival at the airport, a skydiving operation. As I figured it would, that ignited a minor freakout among the local pilot community, but they listened politely and asked good questions of the operator, who intends to start selling tandems later this month or early next.

At one point, someone asked how transient pilots running along the beach on the way to Key West will know they’re flying through an active drop zone. “Well,” said the airport representative, “there will be a NOTAM on it.” This elicited a dark laugh from several attendees and this take-it-to-bank constant truth: Nobody reads NOTAMs.

I beg to differ. I always read NOTAMs because I don’t want to be the derp who shows up at an airport to find the runway closed or that I’ve just barged into a TFR. I find that kind of thing simply indefensible. But pilots do it all the time. And truthfully, it’s hard to blame them much because despite the FAA’s tweaking of the NOTAMs system, it’s easier to grasp the tax code than it is some of these NOTAMs, so it’s no wonder pilots blow them off.

Early Saturday I was headed out to fly the Cub and as I always do, I checked NOTAMs, had a look at the METARs and TAF and clicked on the graphical TFR page expecting to see nothing in Florida other than that maddening permanent TFR over Disney’s Magic Kingdom. But whoa, what’s this? A TFR over Venice? Not quite, but it was close enough to send me into the weeds to find out exactly what the TFR was about.

Here’s an excerpt of the text:

1610211600 UTC UNTIL 1610212000 UTC,
1610212100 UTC UNTIL 1610220130 UTC,   
1610221600 UTC UNTIL 1610222100 UTC,
AND 1610231600 UTC UNTIL 1610232100 UTC.

Try to make sense of that at 6:30 a.m. before your first latte has kicked in. It took a few minutes of probing to figure out exactly where it was. The FAA actually has a pretty good graphical site for this that plots the TFR on a sectional and gives the active period in plain language. But you have to work to find it. If the notice was up Saturday morning, I couldn’t find the details. By Saturday evening, it was up.

I’m sure there’s some spec somewhere that explains why they describe this thing with lat/long or a radial/distance when in fact the stupid thing is centered on the Charlotte County Airport. Why not just say that? Too simple, I guess. Participating in aviation requires learning certain things, to be sure, including the arcane language of coded weather reports and diktats from the FAA. We’re long past due to revise the thinking that requires pilots to learn and retain these silly codes. Yeah, I know; they’re the stuff of international treaties. To be fair, websites like CSC DUATS do offer a plain language tab and that’s good. They just need to be a little easier to find. And when the revolution gets here, I'm going to personally remove that pull-down tab that offers a sort option to include "VIP TFRs." 

I am absolutely sure that when the snowbirds start arriving next month, I will hear this on the CTAF: “Hey, there’s skydiving here? When did that happen? Why don’t they announce this stuff?” The sad thing is that pilots who express such surprise probably won’t learn from it. Once a blunderer, always a blunderer. And I say that as a recovering blunderer.


Both Garmin and GoPro rolled out new action cameras this month and since aviation is a target market, our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, took a look at these new products.


The new organizers of the Flying Aviation Expo, led by Scheyden Precision Eyewear President Jeff Herold, hope to build on past successes and build the show into the premier GA event for the West Coast. Herold tells AVweb how this month's event came together. 

Picture of the Week <="227133">
Picture of the Week

Mark Robidoux caught this postcard-perfect image of a seaplane in National Geographic light. Nice shot Mark.


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