Have you ever thought of jumping from an airplane just for fun? There are lots of folks who do this; I am not one of them. In fact, I don’t think jumping from an airborne aircraft for any reason sounds like a good idea. However, there are times when it is absolutely necessary in order to preserve the lives of the aircraft occupants, but this should be the very last option at the bottom of a VERY long list of to-do’s prior to ANY aerobatic flight.
Leaving an aircraft in flight should be a choice. It should be a “yes” or “no” sort of decision. If we choose “no” then we have no risk. If we choose “yes” then we have many things to consider. In the case of voluntary or recreational skydiving where we choose “no” then we have no chance of loss. If we choose “yes” then we have infinite possibilities for loss; to ourselves and to other people. If we choose “no” then we have prevented all chances of loss, if we choose “yes” then we have to work to mitigate or lessen those chances of loss. Skydiving normally requires a parachute… an excellent option to lessen the chance of loss for you. Tandem training, using a reputable skydiving operation that performs good aircraft maintenance, and lots of dual jump instruction, all can help lessen the chance of your own injuries or injuries that you might cause to others during your experiences. These are all good ways to help your skydiving experience be one of few or no injuries to you or others and your due diligence is paramount to making the experience loss free.
So why should flying aerobatic aircraft be any different from skydiving for the first time? Selection of an aircraft, deciding that the weather is appropriate to fly in, identifying that you are physically fit to fly, feeling comfortable that your current level of training is adequate for your chosen maneuvers, and finally that the condition of your aircraft is beyond your flight expectations; these are all considerations in your personal loss prevention program. Have you contemplated every scenario? Have you done everything you can to make sure a loss does not happen? Probably not…
So you buy insurance for those times when you missed something or a loss takes place for which you have no control. Once you have decided to participate in any risky activity, and you have done all that you can do to minimize your chances of losses, insurance is often the next component of any personal risk management program. Here is where you make sure you that your losses are covered by someone else; you pay a known premium in advance to someone else in order to transfer the risk of financial responsibility of your loss to them, i.e. and insurance company. It could be in the form of health insurance for your injuries, or disability insurance for your future inability to work, or life insurance for your death, it could also be in the form of hull insurance for damage to your aircraft after you jumped out, or it could be in the form of liability insurance for damages or injuries you do to other people. The fact is, insurance is a conscience decision to move your financial risk or chance of loss to someone else, and subsequently there is a cost to do so. You can choose to personally absorb all chances of loss by dealing with your injuries and paying all those that you might owe because you crashed your aircraft inadvertently and affected others, or you can purchase a wide array of insurance products to protect you financially and pay those that you are responsible to. If you purchase Insurance then those companies are gambling that you have done everything possible to lessen your (and their) chances of loss. If they can profit, then they can continue to gamble, but if they lose then they can no longer participate.
It’s all tied together; you must make the good decisions from the moment you decide to fly. You must do everything you can to minimize the chance of loss at the exact moment you decide to go fly. Transferring your financial responsibility to an insurance company should absolutely be your last option for loss mitigation, just as jumping out of an aircraft in controlled flight should be…. So please, don’t do anything stupid 😉