Perhaps another sign that it’s a buyer’s market for aircraft insurance, New Jersey-based insurer Global Aerospace is offering policyholders a breakdown assistance program as standard for piston-powered singles and twins. It’s called the Global Aircraft Breakdown Assistance program, partnering with Savvy Aircraft Maintenance. According to Global Aerospace, the program is the same one offered by Sporty’s, which charges $149 to $249 per year for the service.
It’s a simple concept that initially works like AAA and other breakdown assistance programs offered by some automotive and motorcycle insurers. Instead of getting towed, you get maintenance coordination. For example, if you find yourself grounded halfway across the country because the starter in your Mooney crumped, pull out your membership card and phone the program’s 24/7 hotline. Enter your information and within 15 minutes you’ll get a call from an A&P and IA who is looking at the file on your airplane and will start the process of troubleshooting the problem.
Owned by Mike Busch, Savvy Aircraft Maintenance Management Inc. (SAMM) has been providing professional aircraft maintenance management for owner-flown piston singles, twins and single-engine turboprops for nearly 10 years. Savvy has built up a database of reputable shops around the country and uses an approach to AOG situations that focuses on troubleshooting the situation carefully before putting a wrench on the airplane.
Troubleshooting is at the heart of the program because Savvy’s experience is that over 50 percent of the time the problem is something that can be solved without opening up the airplane. Moreover, Savvy says it can help make a determination of whether the problem is not a safety-of-flight issue and recommend that the pilot fly the aircraft back to its home base for repairs or to another location where there are better services. However, in our view the best case scenario is to still have a qualified tech eyeball the aircraft before you fly it.
If the problem requires getting a hands-on mechanic, Savvy will contact a shop—even if there’s not one on the field—and get help on the way. It will also brief the mechanic on the results of troubleshooting to date and suggest what part the mechanic bring to the airplane. Savvy stays in touch with the shop/mechanic to manage the needed repairs until they are complete.
We asked Global Aerospace if there are hidden charges tacked on to a policy, but it said that qualified Global policyholders enroll for free. Eligible aircraft include certified piston singles and twins, as well as Van’s RV-series homebuilts currently insured through Global Aerospace, with a policy inception date on or after Jan. 1, 2018. For more details, contact Global Aerospace and Savvy Aviation.