I grew up wanting to fly. I flew model aircraft, read aircraft stories, and anything to do with flying. I loved “Jona­thon Livingston Seagull” and “Il­lusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” both written by Richard Bach, who was also one of my insurance customers years ago.

I also watched as many aircraft shows on TV as I could. “Sky King” was one of the early ones. Later there was “The Great Waldo Pepper”, and later “Bat 21”.

There were a couple movies which had a connection to my business. I insured the Cessna 337 Skymaster used in the Stephen King story “The Night Flier” and also the Skymaster flown by chimpanzees in the movie “Project X” with Matthew Broderick.

Aviation, movies, and TV have had my attention for years. And still do. I couldn’t wait to see the new “Top Gun: Mav­erick” movie when it hit the big screen. Got to say, I really enjoyed the first “Top Gun”. Mostly because of the quotes. Quotes like: “Sorry Goose, time to buzz the tower.” Or “I feel the need… the need for speed!” And who can forget the quote, “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

That’s probably my favorite quote from that movie. I have used that quote in my buy­ing seminars for years. It’s not meant to make anyone feel bad, but it’s meant as a reminder that sometimes we make buying decisions on aircraft (and cars, boats, etc.) based on something other than our abilities. I believe that our egos are a big part of being a pilot. Think about it. There are only a few hundred thousand pilots in the FAA records. There are only a couple hundred thousand aircraft in the records. Compared to say, boats, where there are millions, aviation is a small, unique section of the population.

It takes a certain type of person that wants to be a pilot. I am an “ego” personality. My wife says that’s because I am a Leo in the astrological signs. I like planes (cars, boats, and motor­cycles) that are unique, special, different, and more. Can you say attention-getting?

Anyway, my ego often times leads my search for a new air­craft. Since my ego leads the search, my common sense is often left behind, initially. I have bought all kinds of vehicles that I probably shouldn’t have, but I was driven to own them. In most cases if there were any issues, I was able to get around them. Cars can coast to the side of the road, boats can be towed to shore, but aircraft…

Another quote I use is, “Flying is not inher­ently dangerous, but crashing is!” Aviation is one of those areas that has a higher risk if you are in over your head.

Don’t Buy Before You Insure

Which brings me back around to my topic. Recently we have had a large number of pilots and want-to-be pilots shopping, and even buying aircraft, that they are unable to get insur­ance on. Let me clarify, you can have the highest ratings and lots of hours and still not be able to get a quote. So, it’s not necessarily your ego that is the issue. It all comes down to the type of plane and the experience you have. Underwriters are getting more particular as to who and what they will insure. Surprisingly, it is not just in aviation. All the other types of insurance (like homeowners, auto, mo­torcycle and boats) are being scrutinized by the underwrit­ers. I have heard of companies retreating from markets all around the country. Homeowner insur­ance companies are not insuring in Florida. Collec­tor car insurance companies are no longer insuring collector cars in California and boat insurance companies are not insuring boats in the gulf coast. I can only guess these changes are due to losses, crime, replacement costs, supply chain difficulty, and labor. It’s a tough market.

But this issue is very important if you need to buy insur­ance. Let’s review the need for insurance for a minute. Only 12 states require financial responsibility or insurance. Your airport might require insurance. If you borrow money your bank will require insurance. Other than that, you might not need to buy insurance. Again, it’s up to you, your state, and your financial and legal advisors.

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