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Never enough hours

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Well-known member
Nov 28, 2001
When I first started flying, I, like all other pilots, dreamed of moving up to bigger and faster airplanes. Purchase price, operational costs and other related costs are a huge part of this decision and most think that it ends there. But whoa nelly, wait until the insurance quotes start coming in.

We recently purchased a relatively new Conquest II, and are in the process of getting insurance. We have 4 pilots, 1 an ex- airline captain with ~39k hours, another ex-airline guy with ~15k hours, a corporate guy with 12k hours and me with 3k hours. All of this time includes airplanes like 767's, 737's, all ranges of King Airs, MU2's, Convair's and just about everything else under the sun except Conquest time.

Here's where the fun starts. We get our first insurance quote back from our company that we have been doing business with for quite awhile. The quote stipulates that all of us must go to an approved training course (FlightSafety, Simcom, etc). No big deal here. The next stipulation is that they require ALL of us to fly 50 hours dual with a pilot with over a 1000 hours of Conquest time. What, are you kidding me? Next stipulation says that for anyone to fly PIC, they must have a minimum of 5200 hours total time. Please give me a break.
Now here's the real kicker. The hull value is ~1.6 m with 1 mil per seat liability, which is pretty small in terms of turbine aircraft. So knowing that, how does $41,500 annual premium sound?

So let me get this straight, the Conquest has Garrett Dash 10 engines, no big deal, all the pilots mentioned above have flown with them. It's MTOW is under 10,000 and it's speed is 320 kts. What happened to all the time doing .80M, flying numerous small jets and turboprops into < 3000 ft strips, and everything else in between. Does it not have some value towards the all so valuable CE441 time?

I guess the ~69000 flight hours between the pilots just doesn't cut the mustard.

I'm no expert, but I have a couple of ideas.

Point out to your agent that you've been with them for X number of years and you have all these pilots with all this experience. Tell them you don't understand why they can't do better for you.

Look for another insurer.

Hope that helps even a little bit. Good luck with your efforts.
That is just your open pilot clause, you can get a waiver for anything and anybody it will just cost you a few extra bucks. If the airplane is on an approved Part 135 program you can get the Flight Safety waivered in lieu of. Otherwise it will be hard to get around the school thing, but the checkout can be waivered no problem. If they won't play go somewhere else.
Have those responsible very carefully explain each pilot's total time operating that particular series engine, landing gear system, aircraft speeds, and so on.
Any flight instructors in your bunch? Have they done anything special like become a Cessna Pilots Association course instructor or F.I.R.C. instructor? Can they instruct in any aircraft in the fleet?
Any of the pilots have Cessna twin time? Make sure the insurance company knows that.
The corporate fleet locally shares the consensus of the 30-50K for insuring one airplane. They found putting anairplane and the fleet on a 135 certificate lowered their rates. The insurance company did not insure the aircraft for charter operation, they just wanted maintenance required to be at the 135 level.
As for instructors, Cessna twin time, engine and systems experience, we've received various waivers to time requirements because of piecing together what the insurance company wanted to hear. A 50 hour in make/model requirement was waived because the instructor taught at CPA. Time in type goes away based on the person being known to the insurance carriers. I've received waivers to instruct in a P210 (requireing 100 in type)because of who my instructors were (are) and my history with the aircraft owner.
Good luck!
Jedi Nein
I know how you feel. Between Hank Aaron and me, we have 755 homers and I can't even get the Braves to look at me.
Actually kind of funny with the Hank Aaron reference. Well doesn't really matter if I fly or not because I own the joint. Anyway, when you get furloughed in the future, please send me your resume, I have a bunch of sparkling 152's you can fly.

In response to others who sincerely responded, we negotiated the premium down to 27k, but all the limits stay the same. Only 1 company responded to the quote, 13 declined.
We were looking at a Shrike Commander last year pre-9/11 and the insurance (not even a calculated quote, we just asked for a general idea before we went further) almost gave me a heart attack. I can just imagine what it would be now.

An alternative to High Insurance Costs

This option may not be for every operation out there, but it works well for us. Consider a Part 135 Piggyback deal.

I am the Chief Pilot of a 1 airplane operation flying a Citation 500. We have our airplane on a 135 Certificate with a big charter company located at our airport. Since we are associated with them, they allow us many many discounts that we could not get if on our own. Our insurance costs are $16,000 per year. We have $150M total liability and a hull value of $1.5M. In addition, their policy states that it is the Chief Pilot's discression who is allowed to fly the airplane. So we could have a guy with 1500TT in the left seat and 300TT in the right seat, if we wanted too...but we won't. On our own, our insurance would be over $40,000 per year with less liability and more restrictions.

In addition to our insurance costs being lower. We get Fuel for $0.75 below the normal price they charge, which comes out to about $1.75/gallon right now! On the road we get big volume discounts from larger FBO chains. We get our hangar at about 30% off what they would normally charge. Also, we get a huge discount from Simuflight. We do pay a management fee though, which is around $10k per year, but our savings in insurance alone far offsets this cost.

We are still our own corporate flight department, and we do fly charter trips too. But when we do fly those trips, we make money which offsets our costs even more.

We have found this to be a very beneficial way to reduce costs of operation. A one airplane operation by itself does not qualify for volume discounts, but including your department into a large organization does. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Good Luck,
We have a local flight school that will no longer rent planes to folks who are not training with an instructor. So if you have 1000 hours and want to rent a 172 you can't do it. Too many people flying by themselves have been wrecking the airplanes so their insurance went through the roof. I am sure your troubles are in part to a knee jerk reaction from 9/11.

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