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18 August 2009

Comments

Sue writes:

"I was lucky to be instructed by a career instructor...."

"Sadly,many instructors are en route to the airlines and are intent on building hours rather than imparting lifelong knowledge to their students"
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No offence, but this creates an unjusfied negative impression of many fine instructors who have used a flying club as a 'stepping-stone' to greater things.

When I did my IMC and Night Ratings some years back, it was with instructors who were hours-building towards a career in aviation.

Although the gents in question were about 20 years younger than myself, I had no problem working with them because they were highly-focussed and motivated professionals who knew rather more than I did.

Most importantly, they produced the results--IMC in 2 weeks and Night Rating in 2 nights.

There was nothing 'sad' about them or their teaching methods.

As I understand it, most club instructors in France are ‘bénévole’ (voluntary) which suggests that they do it for the 'love of flying' which is no bad thing.

When I visited AC Limoges earlier in the year, I arrived just in time to attend a rather pleasant soirée to celebrate the attainments of several French students who had benefitted from the skills of unpaid club instructors.

Actually, I would welcome some clarification on the question of whether French Clubs may. or may not, charge for instruction.

Aeroclub de Limoges, for example, don't publish a rate for instruction but the Aeroclub du Limousin (next door) do.

I have been told that French clubs may not charge for instruction but there are clearly some that do.

What is the legal and insurance position if I hire a club aircraft and pay the instructor 'on the side'?

I totally agree with you there are many excellent instructors en route to the airlines-- I know several personally!

I reckon your article was nicely balanced, Sue. Seems to me that what matters is the attitude of the instuctor, not where he/she is heading. Not just passing on the mechanics of controlling a plane, but doing this effectively - i.e. "to teach each student differently according to his needs"

Several articles on this blog suggest that Sue's elevation to the sainthood in due course is a 'mere formality'.

However, she did seem to be having a 'pop' at non-career instructors which, to be fair, she has corrected.

She didn't answer my question on charges for instruction but perhaps somebody else has the relevant information.

I'm not qualified to comment on flying matters (or much else) but I get worried when I hear someone described as "career".

Since the 1960s we've suffered from career politicians - people in it solely for their personal advancement and pecuniary interest, with no experience of real life and never having had a proper job.

My feet are fixed firmly to the ground but I shudder at the thought of being taught to fly by anyone narrowly focussed on their own commercial interests.

Fragrant Flyer writes:

Sue didn't answer my question on charges for instruction but perhaps somebody else has the relevant information.
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I too found it difficult to get a written statement of prices from this 'career instructor' (as she describes herself).

As I understand it, the club enjoys some sort of tax-efficient 'non-profit' status and it's instructors cannot (in theory, at least) charge for their services.

This is apparently common in France and is designed to encourage more private flying by keeping the costs down.

I have no idea where charging for instruction under these circumstances would leave the matter of insurance cover or even the validity of the training.

If I am mistaken and the Chief Flying Instructor is allowed to charge, the club should publish the prices openly.

If the instruction is free, they should make that clear.

Don't get me wrong. I am happy to pay a reasonable price for instruction but I don't want to find myself 'on the wrong side of the law'.

Fragrant Flyer writes:

Aeroclub de Limoges, for example, don't publish a rate for instruction but the Aeroclub du Limousin (next door) do.


I have been told that French clubs may not charge for instruction but there are clearly some that do.

What is the legal and insurance position if I hire a club aircraft and pay the instructor 'on the side'?
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It must be a tricky one as both aeroclubs you mention are now operating under a common fleet agreement for their aircraft according the website. So is there a common insurance policy if one charges for instruction and one doesn't ?
Thinking out loud, I would have thought if an aircraft is insured for instruction by qualified instructors it wouldn't make a difference how much they were being paid.
I would have thought if an aeroclub decides not to publish it's fees on their website it's them who loses out on new clients as I am sure new pupils would carry on to another better presented one.

Stuart Morton writes:

Thinking out loud, I would have thought if an aircraft is insured for instruction by qualified instructors it wouldn't make a difference how much they were being paid.
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That's an entirely reasonable position but have you ever known an insurance company to pay-up if they can find an excuse not to?

And the potential claims arising from an aircraft accident could be quite large.

For example, if you drive a car in the UK without an MOT certificate or without a current driving licence, any current insurance would be invalidated (even if paid-up) so you might also be prosecuted for driving uninsured.

You might also find it difficult to obtain insurance cover in the future.

When I processed an insurance claim for a 'prop ding' for my old aircraft syndicate, I got a dozen-page form asking for such things as the pilot's medical certificate, recent log-book entries, pilot's certificate of revalidation, aircraft certificate of airworthiness and recent maintenance record.

Although this was a ground-based taxi accident where none of this seemed relevant, I imagine that the claim would have been refused if any of these items were not in 'apple-pie order'.

I think that the issue here is that the instructor is being paid at all, rather than how much, and whether that effectively invalidates their qualification.

Also, it's not unreasonable to expect that prices for anything are stated up-front.

If there is nothing to hide, why not publish the prices?

As I understand it, AC Limoges don't publish their charges for instruction because there aren't any, which is fair enough.

AC Limousin do publish their charges because they obviously have a different legal status but I am not clear that this allows charging for instruction on AC Limoges aircraft.

As a side-issue, I am not clear whether any JAR-licenced Instructor is allowed to give training on the AC Limoges N-registered Piper (unless they are also registered by the United States’ FAA).

I know of a high-profile helicopter instructor who was prosecuted by the Civil Aviation Authority for just such an offence.

What Fragrant Flyer seems to be asking is that the position is actually communicated to the customers.

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