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Why even as a recreational pilot, you may want to carry liability insurance.

AMann

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They’re a-year-old, but a good reminder why if you’re flying recreationally or commercially in open spaces with a good potential for wildfire, you may want to have liability insurance. The unlucky pilots could have had to pay suppression costs and fines for this. They had home-built and modified racing drones with external batteries, which made it more risky, but it could happen to anyone:



This website has a bunch of other interesting articles related to the use of drones in firefighting too.
 
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brett8883

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It’s over a-year-old, but a good reminder why if you’re flying recreationally or commercially in open spaces with a good potential for wildfire, you may want to have liability insurance. The unlucky pilot had to pay suppression costs and fines for this. It looks like he had a modified drone (external battery?) which made it more risky, but it could happen to anyone. (March, 2018):


This website has a bunch of other interesting articles related to the use of drones in firefighting too.
It was a “hand built FPV race drone.” My question is why did he have to pay for the suppression costs and not the owner of the dogs that attacked him? If I rear end someone and their car runs into a gas tank causing a fire isn’t it my fault?
 

AMann

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It was a “hand built FPV race drone.” My question is why did he have to pay for the suppression costs and not the owner of the dogs that attacked him? If I rear end someone and their car runs into a gas tank causing a fire isn’t it my fault?
I updated the article a bit - the firat pilot was cited and the guy that was flying in restricted airspace was merely verbally warned. Fining someone for fire suppression costs would be a court case, in front of a Federal Magistrate or Superior Court Judge, and yes, a lawyer could makenthe case that the dogs’ owner was at fault if he had to have the dogs leashed and the drone flying was legal.
 

AMann

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I like the coverage (2.5 mil personal liability) AMA gives me free with my membership. Thumbswayup
Do you have the only fly in AMA Flying Club Fields for them to cover you? Just curious as I always fly mostly on BLM land.
 

tleedom

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Do you have the only fly in AMA Flying Club Fields for them to cover you? Just curious as I always fly mostly on BLM land.
You can fly anywhere as long as you follow their safety guidelines. By this summer the AMA will most likely be one of the FAA's recognized Community Based Organisations that we will need to follow the safety guidelines of. See the FAA web page below.

 

Olav van Gerven

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My very first drone (not a dji) crashed because I paniced, hit a tree and cam down just inches from someone walking down the footpath. That made me aware of how important the insurance can be. Never intended to hurt anybody or cause damage, but IF it happens, lucky be the one who is insured.
 

Byhead

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A sharp AMA lawyer will find your drone flight was illegal and not insurable.
2. AMA kicks in when and if your home owners insurance is exhausted.
3. As of June 2019, you cannot fly recreational EXCEPT at AMA fields according to
FAA Adv/circ 91...
At an AMA field in our state, years ago, a BIG rc plane lost control when someone
turned on a transmitter (Old time freqs) and the plane headed into the bleachers!
A baby was sleeping in the stroller which became the target for the plane, BUT
the baby woke up, cried, mom picked it up just PRIOR to the plane slamming
into the stroller! Oh My...
There is a God.
 

AMann

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A sharp AMA lawyer will find your drone flight was illegal and not insurable.
2. AMA kicks in when and if your home owners insurance is exhausted.
3. As of June 2019, you cannot fly recreational EXCEPT at AMA fields according to
FAA Adv/circ 91...
At an AMA field in our state, years ago, a BIG rc plane lost control when someone
turned on a transmitter (Old time freqs) and the plane headed into the bleachers!
A baby was sleeping in the stroller which became the target for the plane, BUT
the baby woke up, cried, mom picked it up just PRIOR to the plane slamming
into the stroller! Oh My...
There is a God.
In the US, you can fly anywhere that is Class G (uncontrolled airspace) as a recreational pilot (excluding all the usual like TFR’s, over prisons, and other places with notices to airmen).

The fixed site rule is only for recreational pilots wishing to fly in controlled airspace.

Note part 7.1.5.2- “recreational flyers may fly in controlled airspace only at fixed sites...”

 
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Paul2660

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You can still fly recreational in class G Airspace. As I understood the June 2019 FAA ruling. Lots of class G airspace.

AMann beat me to it. But folks need to read up on the FAA rulings. Anyone registered with FAA should have gotten an email in last few days summarizing new rules.

Paul C
 
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SandiSCE

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I updated the article a bit - the firat pilot was cited and the guy that was flying in restricted airspace was merely verbally warned. Fining someone for fire suppression costs would be a court case, in front of a Federal Magistrate or Superior Court Judge, and yes, a lawyer could makenthe case that the dogs’ owner was at fault if he had to have the dogs leashed and the drone flying was legal.
At the risk of digressing too far from the original liability insurance topic, I must say that the video footage shows some hefty liability for the dog owner. Call me paranoid about extreme negative reactions to drones and their pilots, but if you look closely at the video, it looks like the dog owner stopped, bent down and unleashed those dogs when he saw the pilot. No sound to confirm, but to my eye, it looks likely he gave a “get him” command of some sort. Leash law violation or not, it looked like aggression, and the fact that he just kept walking even though his dogs attacked the pilot seems to confirm his intent.
 
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SpitFire

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I have State farm insurance, which covers my aircraft.
There are exclusions in the policy.
AS long as I don't break any of the specific wording in the policy I am covered up to $300.000. The exclusion DOES NOT appy to unmanned aircraft for #1 receationl use. #2 Keep within line of sight. #3 Not above 55 lbs in weight. I am covered by my Personal Liability as long as I don't break any of those requirements. Don't have to pay any extra to cover flying my Bird. This coverage is something new with statefarm, he had to do a lot of homework to make this work for me.
 

AMann

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I have State farm insurance, which covers my aircraft.
There are exclusions in the policy.
AS long as I don't break any of the specific wording in the policy I am covered up to $300.000. The exclusion DOES NOT appy to unmanned aircraft for #1 receationl use. #2 Keep within line of sight. #3 Not above 55 lbs in weight. I am covered by my Personal Liability as long as I don't break any of those requirements. Don't have to pay any extra to cover flying my Bird. This coverage is something new with statefarm, he had to do a lot of homework to make this work for me.
Keep in mind that one accident could bring much higher damages than $300,000 but the risk is very low. How much is your premium for it?
 

Maviac

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A sharp AMA lawyer will find your drone flight was illegal and not insurable.
2. AMA kicks in when and if your home owners insurance is exhausted.
3. As of June 2019, you cannot fly recreational EXCEPT at AMA fields according to
FAA Adv/circ 91...
At an AMA field in our state, years ago, a BIG rc plane lost control when someone
turned on a transmitter (Old time freqs) and the plane headed into the bleachers!
A baby was sleeping in the stroller which became the target for the plane, BUT
the baby woke up, cried, mom picked it up just PRIOR to the plane slamming
into the stroller! Oh My...
There is a God.
As a former insurance attorney (and really a current one, since I largely deal with insurance policy interpretation but for claimants) I doubt that. As bad as laws are for claimants (at least in my state) the caselaw mostly supports upholding coverage and insurers aren’t usually able to get out of it. I understand AMA is not an insurer in the traditional sense (I don’t actually know how they’re set up though I’ve been meaning to join) but the same principles should apply.
 
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SpitFire

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My premium for liability coverage is $508.00 for the year.
With State Farm, property coverage Etc.