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On Approach Avemco Policyholder News


Ditching P2

Do I Tell Avemco? P4

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Fuel Exhaustion P6

DITCHING By Michael Adams | VP of Underwriting Avemco Insurance Company


Ditching is perhaps the least-prepared-for scenario we focus on in flight training. We practice power-off, engine fire procedures, off airport landings, and a host of other emergency and abnormal procedures. But when it comes to landing an airplane in water, all we can do is discuss it … and there is a lot to discuss. As with any emergency, some have good outcomes, all things considered. Unfortunately, others don’t. Between safety seminars, hangar tales and YouTube videos, most pilots have an idea of what to do and what the results might be. What is your airplane going to do when you land it on water? There is a lot of uncertainty here so let’s start with what may happen. It will almost certainly sink and you don’t want to be inside when it does. If you are planning a long leg over open water, part of your pre-flight preparation

What is your airplane going to do when you land it on water?

should include personal flotation devices (PFDs) e.g. life jackets and a raft if you are going to be flying over any significant body of water. The inflatable type of vests that you see the flight attendants wearing during their safety demos are available from several aviation supply companies. They’re convenient to wear deflated and quickly inflate when needed. Many pilots involved in low-level operations over water (fish spotting) don a deflated life vest as part of their flight wardrobe. A floating Personal Locator Beacon in addition to the plane’s ELT can be a great assist should rescuers ever be looking for you.

If you are carrying a life raft, keep the locator beacon with the raft and store the whole package where it is easily accessible and where it won’t block your egress from the cabin. Just like you secure your luggage, secure your raft so it doesn’t end up where it shouldn’t. The last thing you want is your life raft crashing into the back of your head as your plane rapidly decelerates when it hits the water. Most life rafts come equipped with a tether so you won’t have to swim frantically after the raft once you’ve exited the plane. Make sure your raft does have a tether. If it does not, attach a lightweight rope before you leave the ground. In either case, make sure the tether is tied to a seat or other part of the airframe near the door. If your life raft doesn’t have a knife, you’ll need some means to cut the tether so the raft won’t go down with the ship. When flying over large bodies of water in a single-engine airplane, note the position of surface vessels so you can ditch close to one if at all possible. Is there anything positive about ditching? Well, there probably won’t be a post-crash fire. Hopefully ditching will never be something you’ll have to haul out of your bag of pilot tricks. But even if you never have to go to the bag of tricks labeled “ditching,” it never hurts to be prepared for a water event.

Mike Adams, an instrument rated private pilot, is Avemco’s Vice President of Underwriting. Mike holds a property/casualty insurance license in all 50 states and combines his knowledge of both aviation and insurance to help pilots understand how Avemco’s coverage decisions are designed to keep them safe.


By Marci Veronie, VP of Sales, Avemco Insurance Company



None of us expect to have a loss. Yet, it happens to even the best pilots. After all, that’s why you buy insurance. But what if you feel the damage is minor and want to pay for the repairs yourself? You wonder, “Do I need to report this to Avemco? If I do, then what happens?” Of course, when you have a loss, you probably have more questions than just “Should I report it?” One of the advantages of being insured by Avemco is that you are dealing directly with the people who insured you, not a middleman. You can always pick up the phone and call us for answers. And the first answer is: By all means, report the loss. Even if you intend to pay for it yourself. When we sell you a policy we have made a promise to protect you and your assets according to the policy, but we can’t do that if you don’t inform us. So, let us know what happened and that you intend to take care of it yourself. If you end up paying for the repairs yourself, we simply close the file without taking further action on the claim. But, sometimes, what appears to be a minor loss can actually turn out to be very expensive. What if the loss turns out to be more than you initially thought? If you didn’t notify us when the loss occurred and are now just reporting it several weeks afterward or after repairs have been started, we may not be able to manage the repair costs as we would have if we had handled the claim in the first place. Late reporting may increase the total expense of the claim and claim payments do affect the amount of premium charged. One scenario we’ve seen several times over the years is when a friend damages our customer’s aircraft and agrees to pay for the damages. Our customer decides not to report the claim. Over time, the friend’s mechanic runs up some pretty sizable bills or doesn’t actually repair the aircraft to our customer’s satisfaction, or the “friend” fails to pay the bill. Then, many months later, the customer calls to get our help in resolving the issue. You can see how involving us from the beginning would have been better for all concerned. Another situation that is more troubling is an unseen injury. For example, let’s say you’re flying with a couple of friends to a pancake breakfast at an unfamiliar airport. Something goes wrong with the landing and you end up going off the side of the runway. Once the dust has settled, you realize you didn’t hit anything, the airplane didn’t suffer any damage, and all three of you, after being tossed around in the aircraft, decide you are OK and carry

on with the day. You thought that since everyone said they were fine and the plane wasn’t damaged, there was no need to call Avemco. Fast forward six months. You receive a notice that the passenger in the back seat of the plane is filing a claim against you for expenses related to doctor’s visits, treatments, and lost income because of the landing “accident” six months ago. A call to us shortly after the landing would have put us on notice. Most likely

Sometimes what appears to be a minor loss can actually turn out to be very expensive. What if the loss turns out to be more than you initially thought?

we would have obtained statements from everyone while the event was still fresh in their minds, witnesses could have been questioned, and any doctor visits and treatments could have been monitored. Whether you think it may be nothing or serious or big, call us. We’re here to protect you when something happens. Our simple, direct process for handling our customers’ claims is one of the many benefits of insuring with Avemco.

Marci Veronie, Avemco’s Vice President, Sales, has been with Avemco for 25 years where she has gained extensive knowledge of aviation insurance and the aircraft Avemco covers. She is a student pilot and an active member of Women in Aviation at the local Washington DC Chapter.


Running on By Michael Adams | VP of Underwriting Avemco Insurance Company You’d think that running out of fuel would be one of the most easily avoidable of all accidents. Simply knowing how much gas you took off with, how much you burn per hour and how long you’ve been in the air seems like a given. Yet according to the latest NTSB statistics, fuel exhaustion is among the top five causes of accidents, right up there with takeoff and landing mishaps and low-level maneuvering. And those are just the ones where people fess up to the embarrassment of running out of fuel or the adjustor reports there was no fuel in the aircraft or no sign of fuel spilled on the ground.

There are many causes of fuel exhaustion, some predictable and others more insidious. Several factors can impact fuel flow including weight, temperature, cruise altitude and turbulence. Not to mention stronger-than-predicted headwinds that keep you in the air longer. And, perhaps one of the most common causes of fuel exhaustion accidents—pilots who believe they know how much fuel is in their tanks and what their burn rate is, but really don’t. Here are some things that could decrease the chances of ever reaching the ground without fuel. First, know—really know—how much fuel is in your tanks. Did you fuel the airplane on a level surface? Did you personally check to see that the gas reached the top of the tank? Are you basing your fuel projection on useable fuel vs. full tanks? Are you sure there has never been damage to your tanks to cause dents or wrinkling of the bladder that would decrease fuel capacity from what the POH says it should be? Next, do you know how much fuel you actually burn per hour? It’s probably not what the book says it is. Like every other aspect of aircraft performance, those figures were calculated under ideal conditions when your airplane was new. Check for yourself. Fill the tanks on a level surface, checking the amount with a dipstick calibrated for your aircraft, climb to a low cruising altitude, lean like you usually do and fly at your normal cruise power setting for a specified time. Then land, measure the remaining fuel level with the dipstick and re-fill. Measure once again as a double check against


1 What is the largest single engine biplane ever built? 2 What is the smallest jet aircraft ever built? 3 What is the oldest military aircraft still in production? 4 What is an emesis container? 5 What airport has a 4-lane highway running

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across the main runway? 6 What is an isogonic line?

One of the most common causes of fuel exhaustion accidents... pilots who believe they know how much fuel is in their tanks and what their burn rate is, but really don’t.

the pump. You will probably be surprised at your real fuel consumption during climb and low-level cruise. But, if anything, this will help you build a margin of error into your fuel burn. And if there’s any place you want a margin of error in your favor, its fuel usage. Finally, think about all the things that could go wrong with your plans during your flight and after you land. Of course, unforeseen headwinds will lengthen your

trip and unforecast bad weather can cause you to divert. It’s always good to plan your fuel stop before you really need it, giving yourself plenty of cushion in case things don’t work out. But what happens if even Plan B goes bad and you arrive at your intended fuelstop to find the pump is broken, empty or the FBO is closed? Suppose the runway is shut down because of an accident or something else that didn’t show up in a NOTAM? Then what? Either make sure your planned fuel stop provides plenty of margin to make it to an alternate that you’ve located before your flight or, even better, commit to the following practice: When you stop to get gas, don’t take off without getting gas. Even if it means paying a premium to have the line attendant come out after hours or spending the night somewhere you hadn’t planned. You might even consider carrying a small bag with some cash, toiletries and other necessities just in case. After all, some of the most fun you can have as a pilot comes when you look at flying as an adventure. There are worse things than meeting new people at a friendly restaurant in a new town. One of them is not having enough gas to get there.

Mike Adams, an instrument rated private pilot, is Avemco’s Vice President, Underwriting. Mike holds a property/casualty insurance license in all 50 states and combines his knowledge of both aviation and insurance to help pilots understand how Avemco’s coverage decisions are designed to keep them safe.



Having been with Avemco for over 22 years, Kim says there’s nothing she can’t handle. “I love the fact that my experience combined with being a direct underwriter allows me to deliver immediate answers to the customers. Plus, I get to develop a one-on-one relationship with many of them. For me, it’s like talking to your best buddy.” During Kim’s tenure with Avemco she spent nights and weekends earning the designation of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), the insurance industry’s highest achievement. When Kim isn’t helping Avemco customers, she’s helping the needy by knitting and crocheting items for donation through Project Linus.


On Approach Avemco Policyholder News



“Aviation is my career.” Since 1981, Gayle has been

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it has served me well for all of these years.” In addition

around. “I really enjoy what I do. My main goal is to be a good listener and try to provide people with exactly what they want. My motto is ‘Be quiet and listen,’ and to being a great listener, Gayle has a knack for fluently explaining to pilots the value of Avemco in comparison to other insurance offerings. And pilots have heeded


her advice for nearly three decades.

Claims: 800 874 9124 Publisher Avemco Insurance Company

GAYLE TRIVIA ANSWERS Q1 The Russian Antontov, still in service today: AN-2 Wingspan: 59 feet 8 inches. Maximum Takeoff Weight 12,125lbs. Q2 Yves Rossy “Jetman.” Wingspan: 6.56 feet. Weight 121.5 lbs. Q3 Lockheed C-130 Hercules. First Flight: August 23, 1947. Q4 An airsickness bag. Q5 Gibraltar. A busy highway cuts through the middle of the runway. Pedestrians and cars are held behind crossing gates while aircraft land and depart, then must scurry across in-between operations. Q6 A line on a map showing magnetic variation.

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On Approach Avemco Policyholder News FALL/WINTER 2012 On Approach is distributed free of charge by Avemco Insurance Company, 411 Aviation Way, Suite 100, Frederick, MD 21701. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. The articles contained herein may be reproduced in full only, provided that proper credit is given to Avemco Insurance Company. Requests for additional copies should be directed to Avemco at the address noted above, by calling 800 638 8440 or sending an email to IMPORTANT NOTICE: Avemco® does not provide technical or legal advice, and is not affiliated with companies whose products and services are highlighted, advertised, or discussed in content contained herein. Content is for general information and discussion only, and is not a full analysis of the matters presented. The information provided may not be applicable in all situations, and readers should always seek specific advice from the FAA and/or appropriate technical and legal experts (including the most current applicable guidelines) before taking any action with respect to any matters discussed herein. In addition, columns and articles solely reflect the views of their respective authors, and should also not be regarded as technical or legal advice. Avemco Insurance Company and Avemco Insurance Agency, Inc., collectively market under the service mark Avemco. Avemco Insurance Company insures general aircraft and pilots and does not underwrite insurance products offered by Avemco Insurance Agency, Inc. Insurance products offered through Avemco Insurance Agency, Inc., are underwritten by non-affiliated carriers who specialize in those types of insurance. Avemco Insurance Agency, Inc., Arkansas Insurance Producer License # 274909 and California License # 0E634.

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