I just had the pleasure of a nice long chat with Mike Adams, the always-helpful V.P. of Underwriting for Avemco Insurance, who updated me on the accident picture for Light Sport flying this past year or so.
There's good news and bad news:
Bad news first - "The results are still not what we'd like them to be," says Mike. He's talking about Avemco's payouts to insured customers for repairs and total losses to SLSA.
"But the good news is, the picture is improving."
The bottom line: LSA accidents continue to cost, on average, between 100% and 200% more than similar accidents in the General Aviation fleet.
That's primarily due to the average cost of SLSA: around $100,000 equipped.
"The other factor is the accident rate, which still averages about twice that of GA."
Mike explains though that the 2X rate includes the first four years of LSA flight - during which the ratio was four times the accident rate of GA!
"Through 2008 and 2009, the accident rate dropped considerably. Changes we incorporated into our coverage, calling for five hours transition time even for rated GA pilots, flight reviews for pilots with a Sport Pilot license or 10 hours for students with 15 or less takeoffs and landings, cut down our landing losses considerably. And landings are where the majority of claims come from."
Landing mishaps in fact comprise 45 to 55% of all GA accidents, including SLSA stats.
"Apparently", he says, "we can takeoff; we can get where we're going safely; we just can't land once we get there!"
I'll cover our entire conversation in the May issue of dead tree P&P.
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