Re: Aging Pilots - another problem


Hi, Sid, I am embarrassed to admit that I am an attorney (YLS ‘81). I conceal it when possible, having left the profession after test-driving four law firms either part time during law school or during my summers. I grew up as a mechanic in high school and could not imagine life in a quiet N.Y. office building. Why I went to law school is a longer conversation, but generally, how many college students do you know who have any brains? Well, I didn’t either.   

Your comments about the LLC are correct — it is of limited value if the owner is the pilot, because almost all crashes are “pilot error.” If you’re flying it, you’re probably liable!

Your point about liability from flying passengers is excellent. That IS the big risk for pilots. I perceive that there are waivers that are beneficial, albeit not iron-clad. Might be worth getting one for people who fly lots of others. A good aviation lawyer is Dennis Haber in Miami, and he knows about this. I confess I have not implemented his advice, but I don’t fly many people. 

I’d use an LLC anyway because it might help a little (basically if the error related to plane ownership vs piloting). But it is not like insurance, for sure. 

The best protections are either to have a lot of insurance, which basically no one has with an EAB — one million is a low number if someone gets killed — or alternatively, not to be financially worth suing. I was encouraging you to pursue the second strategy, by giving your assets away early vs via your will, if you have much, or putting them into a trust while you’re alive. I know some plaintiffs’ attorneys, and I am quite certain that you will not be sued (or it will be quickly dropped) if you don’t have significant assets, because they really like money.

By the way, not that I should “out” him here, but David Orr is an attorney, while also being a nice guy!  Maybe he will speak up and offer some insights. If he says something different than I said here, listen to him and not me. 

I am happy to discuss by phone if that would be helpful. 

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