Top Letters And Comments, September 22, 2023


Beware Of Low-Pressure Open Door Policies

Great yarn Paul, brilliantly penned. Thank you.

It reminds me of an old mate, now long departed.

40 years ago, I was a young shearer working in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. One old bloke whose sheep we shore had a Jodel D11 he’d built. It was customary in those days for the farmer to put on a “cutout” at the conclusion of the annual shearing job. A “cutout” was a carton (or two) of beer and several hours drinking and believing we were all feeling far better than out aching bodies told us we were.

Old Don had a different approach. After we’d finished, the shed was cleaned up and the last bale of wool pressed, he’d get the plane out and he’d take anyone who was interested for a rip around the surrounding farmland, usually at about 500 ft. Beer wasn’t even thought of!

It started a dream that one day I would do the same.

Don was a beautiful man; humble and unassuming and of modest means. He shared of himself and his resources in many ways and when he passed away at a 64, I lost a mentor I looked up to with immense respect. Many years later as a sheep farmer myself I was able to carry on Don’s legacy for the declining few who actually wanted to go flying.

Anderson D.

Back at the beginning of the century I was lucky enough to go on a fly-yourself GOANA tour out of Redcliffe. After I returned from it, all my flying buddies wanted to do it too. When Mal Shipton announced that he was closing the business due to his wife’s illness, three other pilot couples joined us on his last tour of the Outback. These days, Air Safaris International is offering a similar service. Different outfit, but their “Outback&Reef” offering is essentially the same tour I took. All you need is a US pilot license and a checkout in a Cessna 172 when you arrive.

Those tours were by far the best travel experience of my life, the source of my most interesting stories, and the origin of an enduring fascination with all things Aussie. There’s a photo on my wall of my wife and I standing in front of “our” C172, with the big “Redcliffe” sign on the roof of the FBO. I’ll be back as soon as I can afford it.


Well done Paul. The reason I have a rag in hand during my walk-around, besides cleaning off bird/hangar detritus as I go, is to drop it on the plane when I am interrupted by someone sucked into my open hangar door. That way, after finishing my happy chat with the interloper, I can pick up my walk-around starting one station back from where I left off. I always enjoy the interruption.


Who’s Who In The Tower

Thank you, Elim.

This is a very good explanation of what’s going on the other side of the radio. Most of us know clearance, ground, tower, and departure on the way out and approach, tower, and ground on the way in. Now we know more about their workings and responsibilities.

Bill B.

Thank you for an excellent primer on who’s doing what in the cab. You are most appreciated.

Gayle M.

Poll: Do You Consider Your Aircraft Insurance Still Affordable?

  • Heck no!! But I’m paying it anyhow. The value of my airplane has gone up so much of late I can’t afford not to. But I hate myself for doing it.
  • No, but with little reliable data to set reasonable rates and/or limited number of insurers in the market, in the current market there appears to be no alternative to paying the high rates. Sad.
  • Airplane and aircraft business insurance are about to drive me out of the business!
  • Insurance won’t accept age 70+. They will take premiums, but zero coverage.
  • No, but its pay or don’t fly.
  • Your question assumes that I ever thought it WAS affordable. It wasn’t. It is much less so recently but it never has been. When my airplane was $20 – 30 thousand, I self-insured. Now that same airplane is $200 thousand and I have to “sell out to the man” and feed the beast. It is currently unreasonable.
  • Insurance and hanger costs are both deal killers for me.
  • No but it hasn’t driven me out yet because I don’t pay ramp or hangar costs, but it soon could.
  • Insurance is not available for older pilots. i.e. no quotes.
  • Affordable after I wrote a passenger exclusion making my aircraft effectively a single seater.
  • I own a flight school. Obvs we have insurance, but the cost is astronomical…
  • No, but I’m still paying so I can stay in the flying business and having to past the increases to my customers.
  • I don’t have a choice but to pay it. But so far, I don’t have to choose between flying and selling.
  • Drove me to liability only.
  • I’m too old to get insurance, so I self-insure.
  • No, and it’s getting more ridiculously expensive each year.
  • I reduced the coverage.
  • Hasn’t been affordable for a while. (I’m a normal American person.)
  • No, but I make enough to be able to pay for it.
  • As a 25K hour pilot flying a 1959 Cessna 172, rate for insurance is okay.
  • We have significantly increased the hull value because of the increases in value and sales prices of planes. WE value our 172 (with an IO-370, GPS and two GI-275s) at $47,000.
  • No, in spite of paying the premium anyway.
  • Age discrimination is the excuse for huge increases.
  • My renter’s insurance hasn’t gone up.
  • Nowhere near, but with the amount of money I’ve got tied up in that airplane, I kinda gotta pay it. I hate myself for paying it though. Does that help?
  • No, self-insuring hull. Insurance for liability only.
  • They won’t even quote me a price!
  • Paying too much for too little coverage but there’s nothing better available in “wild west” market.
  • No, in spite of paying the premium anyway.
  • 73. Mooney. Unavailable at any price.
  • Now that you are 80 and have 3700 hours, you need a safety pilot with 25 hours of tailwheel time if you want to fly the Cub.
  • I’d have to have been able to afford and aircraft to need insurance…
  • No. While it hasn’t driven me out of flying, it may in the future.
  • As long as people sue the guys who made the bolts on a Cessna for a CFIT accident, rates ain’t gonna change. There needs to be a line drawn and cases need to be disregarded for things like that. Easy to say, not so easy to do, what with proving to someone that logic is logical.
  • Not affordable, but gotta have it.
  • What insurance…
  • No, but you have to have it.
  • No … barely able to afford it and keep flying.
  • Price has not gone up that much but coverage has gone down for same price. Now I get 1M/100,000 for the same price as I used to get 5M smooth.
  • No, I just bite the bullet.
  • Got too old and they won’t write coverage.
  • Affordable, but insufficient liability limits drove me out.
  • No. Barely hanging in there!
  • Unreasonable expensive, but have no choice but to get. Considering terminating renting airplanes.
  • You guys can afford an airplane?

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