Tag Archives: Airplanes

Title Insurance And Flying: It’s Not All Burritos And Love

Title Insurance & Flying: It’s Not All Burritos And Love

Walking From Money Requires a Walk!

Walking From Money Requires a Walk!

Walking from a multi million dollar deal isn’t easy when you’re paid on commission. But I did it today.

I’ll tell you why, then you tell me if you would’ve done the same.

Flying

Years ago I gave a few flying lessons to a student who seemed heavy on the confidence side. Unusually confident. Most students walking into a flight school for the first time are demure. This guy was cocky and demanding. Loudly he announced that he pretty much knew how to fly an airplane; he just needed a good instructor. By “good” he meant an instructor good enough to recognize his extraordinary talents and after maybe one or two flights would sign him off for a final FAA checkride.

When we got in the airplane I realized Mr. Confident had a perspective rich with fantasy. Someone had given him a few lessons but he had a long way to go before becoming a pilot.

When Mr. Confident  asked if he could buzz the school where his sister worked as a teacher, I became suspicious. Before 9-11 I would’ve been concerned about his judgment but post 9-11, as this was, I had several concerns. Is he just an idiot or could he be dangerous?

No Shoes No Service

You’ve seen the sign, No Shoes No Service? There should be a sign at flight schools, no common sense, no flying lessons!

I wasn’t making much in those days and I hated the idea of losing a student/client. On the other hand, I didn’t want to wake up to find CNN on my front lawn!

I talked with Mr. Confident over a delicious burrito lunch. Sometimes it’s best to interview students on the ground in a common environment.  They’ll open up and give you insight.  About half way through my burrito I determined he was surely an  idiot but not intentionally dangerous. In fact in my estimation I deemed him too stupid to be dangerous.

About a year later I got a call from the FBI. But first…

Title Insurance And $xMM

There’s a lot of energy around any high value Real Estate transaction. Emotions and ego’s can ratchet up as the stakes get higher. A multi million dollar deal can sometimes get exciting.

In this case the listing agent was yelling at me.

Not always but often I’ve noticed when voices get loud facts get soft.

Mr. Loud was trying to bully his way through the transaction, a common old-school tactic. But in today’s world there are checks and balances in place to protect the consumer. There’s no room for old school tactics.

I held my ground

Stepping back and assessing the situation, here’s what troubled me:

The seller was well past 80 years old and a much younger relative stepped in to handle his affairs.

Red flag #1.

Anytime a party to a transaction is elderly there is concern about potential elder abuse. There are laws to protect the elderly because, believe it or not, there are bad people who prey on them!

Next: The buying agent stopped communicating.

Red flag #2.

Why would an agent stop communicating days before closing? Why wouldn’t the selling agent issue a notice to perform?

Next: The selling agent said it was an all cash deal. Escrow said there was a lender.

Red flag #3.

Why is there a breakdown on the most basic components of a transaction days before closing?

Next: The Title Unit asked for a copy of the appraisal. Common on high value deals because a property value has to be established in order for Title to issue a policy. Simply put, the insurer needs to know for certain how much risk they are incurring.

The buyer had an appraisal done but in this transaction no one except the lender is talking to the buyer, not even the buyers agent!

Of course the lender has a copy of the appraisal but the lender can’t provide it to anyone without the buyers permission. But remember the buyers agent is MIA!

So: The request for the appraisal somehow goes to the sellers younger relative who refuses to provide it because, well, without having a Real Estate License, unilaterally decides providing a copy of the appraisal just isn’t necessary.

Red flag #4.

Who’s controlling this transaction anyway? And why can’t we see the appraisal?

Three Strikes Your Out. Four Strikes I’m Out

I decided there was too much rick in this transaction and when I stood firm with my request for the appraisal the seller’s agent threatened to pull the deal and take it to another Title company. I surprised him by agreeing.  I suggested he do just that.

Most Title Reps would sell-out before walking from a deal this big. In my less experienced days I would’ve done anything to keep this deal alive. But as you mature, you begin to see that shortcuts don’t necessarily bring  you to success. Doing the right thing – counts.

In a previous post, Seduce Your Wicked Imagination / Reduce The Risk I wrote: Insurance company’s are in the business of managing risk, not taking on risk.

The selling agent continued to yell. He told me he’d have the deal closed in two days with another Title company. I told him to do it.

Flying And Mr. Confident

A year after asking Mr. Confident to find another flight school,  I got a call from the FBI.  Mr. Confident was being investigated for suspicious activity consistent with possible terrorist planning. I’m not at liberty to give up the details but I can tell you this much. My statement to the FBI suggested that if Mr. Confident were doing the things they were investigating him for in order to impress girls in a bar I’d say they were on right on track. But knowing how utterly incompetent he is I figured he’s not much of a threat to anyone other than himself. I never heard from the FBI again so I’ll pretend they came to the same conclusion.

What Would You Have Done?

Pick your area of interest:

Real Estate or Flying

Tell me below in the comments section what you would have done. Would you have closed the Real Estate transaction in-spite of the red flags? Would you have continued to give Mr. Confident flying lessons?

 

Epilogue

Mr. Loud came back a few days later and asked to keep the deal open. He would provide the appraisal. After three weeks he did provide the appraisal and we closed the deal successfully with all boxes properly checked. I can only presume the other Title company asked for the same documentation.

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Two Sure Times To Round-Up

Enjoy Peace of Mind

Enjoy Peace of Mind

There are two sure times to round-up. When calculating takeoff and landing distances and when deciding on insurance coverage.

Things are happening quickly. It’s nearly midnight. A medical team is climbing onboard and we need to get them 300 miles away-fast. Someone’s life depends on it. The fuel truck pulls away from the Citation 560 and the ground crew pulls the chocks. The cabin door is closed and a little light automatically goes off in the cockpit indicating the door is properly sealed. I’m working up the take-off numbers, setting radio frequencies on the six different radios, setting the altitude alerter, programming our route in the FMS (Flight Management System) and bugging our airspeed indicators.

Our takeoff distance, the amount of runway we’ll need to get in the air and clear all obstacles on the ground, is determined by a number of variables. Primarily by the weight of the airplane, a given power setting, and outside air temperature. Airplanes perform better in colder air. As pilots we use charts to help us calculate the proper engine power setting for our weight and outside air temperature. Of course the exact weight and temperature never seem to match what the chart gives us. The chart might have a column for 20 degrees celsius and 30 degrees but the outside air temperature might be 27 degrees. The weight column might offer us 14,500 pounds and 15,500 pounds when the actual wight is 14,735 lbs. So we extrapolate. And if there’s a remainder? I always Round Up! Why? Because I like having the peace of mind knowing there’s a little margin of safety.

INSURANCE OFFERS PEACE OF MIND

I like having the same margin of safety when buying insurance. From my perspective, it’s always better to have and not need, then to need and not have.  My car is insured by a large, reputable insurance company. So is my home. I always buy the best medical insurance I can afford. I skimp on things that aren’t necessary but I never skimp when it comes to feeling assured the necessities in life are secured.

TITLE INSURANCE

Recently I was asked about the difference between an ALTA/Home Owners Policy and a CLTA policy. These policies are referring to Title Insurance.  It’s a common question and I’ve written about it before. Read: Realtor’s And Pilot’s It’s Your Teacher Not You  For a printed table of differences click here:  Homeowners Policy/ALTA vs. CLTA

Lets keep things simple. Realtors: Your Title Insurance company will always default to the ALTA Homeowners Policy. Because in California the C.A.R. contract calls for the best coverage. Easy. You don’t really need to do anything!

Having said this; be wise and always check. Why? Because unless your client is only buying land the Title Insurance Company offers a CLTA policy when a residence doesn’t qualify for an ALTA HOP.  As the Realtor you’d probably have some questions. So check. What the Title Insurance Company is offering, either an ALTA HOP or a CLTA policy is usually on the second page of the prelim.

QUESTION

Does the ALTA HOP cost more than the CLTA policy?

Yes it does. About 10% more.  Think of it this way. For ten percent more you’re buying about 50% more peace of mind.

READY FOR TAKEOFF

“Medivac Charlie Victor Romeo cleared for takeoff runway two five right.” We taxi onto the runway and the engines start to scream. I know we’re going to takeoff safely because we’ve run the numbers and left a margin of safety.  Likewise, you know your clients are going to have the proper coverage they need on what’s undoubtedly their largest personal investment. The ALTA HOP offers a little margin of safety.

Please feel free to leave comments. And Remember, Sharing is Caring. Thank you.

Note:  Besides being a Title Company Account Executive I’m also a Charter Pilot.  Comments made here are my own and do not necessarily belong to my employer; Chicago Title & Escrow or Chrysler Aviation.

Chicago Title has been in business for more than 160 years. It’s a company you can trust.

For more information about Title Insurance contact me directly at:
Ric Lippincott or leave a comment below

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If A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings, Or, Zero Demand

Landing

One Degree Off Here Makes A Difference

When you pay-off a lien holder on your home make certain you record a reconveyance and save the zero demand! Let me explain.

Pop Culture loves the “butterfly effect”.  You’ve heard the catch phrase, “If a butterfly flaps it’s wings…” Edward Lorenz, an American mathematician and meteorologist pioneered the chaos theory. In simplest terms, in a deterministic nonlinear system, a very small change in one location can have a very large dramatic effect in another location. I’ll tell you why this is relevant in a moment.

One Degree Off Course

The cool air held our wings seemingly motionless even as we were being pulled through the failing light toward evening by the forgiving single engine Cessna 172 Superhawk. Twilight infiltrated the San Fernando Valley like a quite ghost, colors drained from objects on the ground making the trees, buildings, homes, and roads monochromatic in grays and black. I settled back in my seat and watched Dan (pseudonym) spin dials on the control panel.

Dan punched in locations on the GPS, set the heading bug on the HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) and promised Air Route Traffic Control that he’d fly directly to our next expected location.  Only I knew he wouldn’t. Dan was my student. I’m a CFII (Certified Flight Instructor). Oh I know Dan can fly to his next destination. I taught him well. But I also know he won’t fly a straight line. Flying a straight line takes more than a hundred or so hours of practice.

Here’s An Interesting Flying Fact

For every one degree you fly off course you’ll miss your intended destination by 92 feet per mile flown, or about one mile off course for every sixty miles flown.  For example, if you took off from LA and wanted to fly to New York, but flew one degree off, you’d be 40 miles off course before you reached the East Coast!

One degree doesn’t seem like much. But over time it can make a very big change in your life. How about a Real Estate example?

Zero Demand

I got a call from a home owner yesterday. She wants to refinance her home and take advantage of these historically low interest rates.  I reassured her with sincere enthusiasm, “Great idea!”  There’s just one problem. Cynthia (another pseudonym) explained she had borrowed money from a private lender more than 20 years ago.  She insists she never used the money and returned it to the lender. Loan paid in full. No problem, right?

Wrong.  Cynthia may have paid that loan in full but she never recorded a reconveyance some 20 years ago.  A simple one page form that lets the world know she paid her loan in full and no longer owes the debt.  The lender would have then issued a zero demand meaning, nothing else owed. Recording the recon, that one degree, a one page form, literally takes a minute to fill out and less than $20 to record with the County.

If A Butterfly Flaps It’s Wings

Or should I say, if only the butterfly had flapped it’s wings 20 years ago?  Today, Cynthia has a problem. The person who loaned her the money and recorded a lien on her home, back in the day, is now 20 years later; dead.  And there are no apparent survivors who can attest to Cynthia’s claim the money was returned.  Getting that streamlined refinance just got complicated. Cynthia could buy a bond to insure against any claims that she owes money– but who wants to do that? She has a few other options, there always are, but none of them as smooth as a butterfly’s wings. If only she hadn’t strayed that one degree off – 20 years ago.

Stay On Course

In your life, in your relationships, in your marriage, in your personal affairs and finances, isn’t it easier to stay on course than deal with the ramifications later?  Stay focused. Remember, one degree off course today may seem inconsequential but if the chaos theory is correct, and physics proves it is, one degree off course is going to change something big in your future.

Please feel free to leave comments. And Remember, Sharing is Caring. Thank you.

Note:  Besides being a Flight Instructor, I’m a Title Company Account Executive. In other words, I sell Title Insurance. Comments made here are my own and do not necessarily belong to my employer; Chicago Title & Escrow.

Chicago Title has been in business for more than 160 years. It’s a company you can trust.

For more information about Title Insurance contact me directly at:
Ric Lippincott or leave a comment below

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Stats Be Damned. The Fear of Flying & Real Estate

Adored When Needed For Immediate Rescue

I’m standing within arms reach of a fully equipped, reasonably self-sufficient, mostly educated, all faculties operable, grown man with a full-time job and a car, who is telling me he’s afraid of flying. I’m a Certified Flight Instructor. I get this a lot.  And I understand.

“You’ve got a better chance of being struck by lightning than of crashing in a jet. In fact, you’ve got a better chance of being struck twice by lightning than of going down with one of the big commercial operators.”  The Unfriendly Skies by Willie Stern, The Weekly Standard.

The stats be damned. Math isn’t a subject most of us grasped in school. How can we be expected to embrace it later in life?  Few of us have any trouble driving our cars yet nearly 33,000 people were killed in 2010, one of the best years on our nations roads according to the NHTSA, (National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration). There were no, none, zero airline fatalities in 2010. None. See USA Today Travel. Does knowing this chase away the fear of flying? Hell no.

Real Estate is scary too, until you’ve traversed it a few times and start to understand what makes it fly. I remember buying my first condo. I knew nothing. Didn’t understand a single thing. I was told to sign here, and here, and here… and the next thing I knew I was a homeowner. I blindly bought a home.

Most of the non-pilot population will do the same thing with flying. You’re told to get onboard, fasten your seatbelt, put your stuff under the seat or in the overhead bin and turn off your phone. The next thing you know you’re in Kansas!

In Real Estate transactions I try to explain what’s going on in the simplest terms. But sometimes what I have to say isn’t what the person wants to hear. That’s when ego’s step up and logic runs for cover. Besides flight Instructing, I’m in Title, so I get to work with all sides of a Real Estate transaction. Not just the buyers and sellers, but mostly the Realtors and Lenders.

Title guys like me are similar to lifeguards on the beach. We’re hated when we’re telling people they can’t swim because the water is too rough but adored when someone is drowning and needs immediate rescue.  An astute Realtor once told me, “I don’t even think about Title unless the $*** hits the fan. Then Title suddenly becomes the most important aspect of the Real Estate transaction.” Well said.

When teaching people to overcome their fear of flying I start by showing how and why airplanes fly. And, once we get in the air, I let students take the controls and actually fly the airplane themselves. We conclude with looking out the window and enjoying the perspective few people have the privilege of experiencing. If you’ve ever flown an airplane, even if for a few short minutes, you are one of the elite. Most people in the world will never have that story to share.

There hasn’t been a nicer time to buy Real Estate than right now. Home prices are low and money is cheap. If you need someone to walk  you through it, contact me. If I can’t walk you through to your goals, I have many experts in every area of Real Estate I can refer to you. See, “Does Your Realtor / Lender Know What You Drive“.  Once you’ve signed here, here and here, look out of the window in your new home and enjoy the view. You’re now part of the American Dream.

Flying airplanes, buying a home; scary at first. But once you understand the basics it’ll become second nature. It might even become enjoyable.

Please feel free to leave comments.  And Remember, Sharing is Caring.  Thank you.

Note: Besides being a CFII, MEI, Pilot, I’m a Title Rep.  In other words, I sell Title Insurance. Comments made here are my own and do not necessarily belong to my employer; Chicago Title & Escrow.

Chicago Title has been in business for more than 160 years. It’s a company you can trust.

For more information about Title Insurance or flying airplanes, contact me directly at ric.Lippincott@ctt.com.

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‘Damn it! We’re going to crash. It can’t be true!’

“We’re below the glide slope and slow.” I could hear my own voice in the headset as the airplane continued to sink below where it should be on final approach to landing. My student, learning to fly a bigger twin-engine airplane, made no changes.

Don't Slip Into Denial Here

“We’re on the centerline but still below glide slope.  Our speed is critically slow.”

Nothing changed.

I looked over at my student. His eyes were fixed on the runway ahead of us, one hand on the throttle controls and the other on the yoke. He seemed frozen.

“We’re too slow.  Add power.”   Still no response.  I’m not one to inject stress or drama into a situation, preferring instead to remain level and logical.  Calmly I spoke again,  “We’re now below blue line, add power.” Another two seconds passed.  “Add power,”  I repeated myself for the third time.

Still no action from the pilot flying.  Flying slower than blue-line  at this phase of the approach means we could lose control of the airplane if something unplanned suddenly occurred.

I’m going to admit something.  The pilots lack of action fascinated me. I thought, wow, he’s in complete “denial of impact”!

Denial is one of our minds most interesting defense mechanisms.  As humans we use denial in a large variety of situations.  For example: denial of addictions.  We could go on and on about addictions but I’ll spare you.

Then there are subsets of denial, like, minimization; where one admits the problem but denies its seriousness.

And then there’s projection; admits the problem and its seriousness but denies responsibility. Children use this one a lot along with DARVO.  *DARVO is an acronym that means:

Deny, then

Attack the victim, thereby

Reversing

Victim and

Offender

*(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

It’s fascinating to see a pilot in denial but not shocking.  Denial has been cited as a contributing factor in more than a few aviation crashes. Some well documented. The following excerpt is from a book:

‘Damn it! We’re going to crash. It can’t be true!’: pilots’ chilling last few moments of confusion and denial before plane crash.

The book, Rio-Paris Crash: A Collection of Pilot Errors, written by French aviation author Jean-Pierre Otelli.

Aviation isn’t the only profession where denial causes damage.  Recently I had a conversation with a Realtor who buys properties at auction and then flips them for profit. Lets call the Realtor John.  John wanted to know about an exclusion on the Preliminary Title Report he’d never noticed before.  The Title company (not Chicago Title) indemnified itself from potential tax liens.

John. “But that’s what I want Title Insurance for, to protect me from tax liens!”

Me.  “Well John, the indemnity clause is removing that option from their offer to insure. Frankly those tax liens, especially the IRS liens, are the reason Chicago Title doesn’t always offer a policy for properties bought at auction unless we can get an SI from the foreclosed owner. There’s just too much exposure.”

John went into denial. “But they said…”

Me.  “True but they are excluding the very things that can bite you inside the redemption window. That’s why I recommend avoiding those one-off  Title Insurance companies John.”

Chicago Title has been in business for more than 160 years. It’s a publicly traded Fortune 500 company. If we offer a policy we’ll tell you up front exactly what that means. If we can’t insure we’ll tell you why before you buy.

While other come-and-go companies say they’ll insure, you’ll need to read the fine print to see what they’re really offering.

When I told John we couldn’t insure the property he was interested in out of auction, and then explained the reasons why, he found a company that said they would insure it.  I didn’t see how they could.  Turns out they were taking out the real meat of the policy in the fine print.  Thankfully John read the fine print this time and called me. I wondered if he also reads the iTunes Agreement?

Once safely on the ground we talked about the importance of flying a stabilized approach and managing airspeed. Both co-related. We also discussed the tendency for people to easily slip into denial.  “If the airplane is flying toward the runway nothing’s wrong”.  Or, “if a Title company says they’ll insure then what could go wrong”?

There are a lot of old adages but in business this one seems to offer the soundest advice. “If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true.”

Flying has it’s share of old adages too.  One of them I like says, “A ‘good’ landing is one you can walk away from. A ‘great’ landing is when they can use the plane again”.  No matter how you land the plane… don’t go into denial about what’s going on while you’re in the air – or when you’re buying Real Estate!

Note:  Besides being a CFII, MEI, Pilot, I’m a Title Rep.  Comments made here are my own and do not necessarily belong to my employer; Chicago Title & Escrow.

For more information about Title Insurance or flying airplanes, contact me directly at ric.Lippincott@ctt.com.

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Whiskey & Guns / Risk Management In Flying and Title Insurance

Flying

Flying With Minimum Risk

The continuous stream of radio chatter crackled in my headsets. On hyper-multi-task I mentally ran the cockpit flows. Altitude indicator set, barometric pressure two niner niner two, turn coordinator checked, HSI bug set to wind direction for taxi, VOR set to localizer, frequency checked, code cross-checked.

The next radio call was for me, “Shuttle one, there are four ahead of you for take-off, would you like an intersection departure?”

Ground Control was making me an offer.

Should I take the intersection departure and reduce my hold time on the ground? Or should I reject the offer, take the twelve-minute penalty, and improve my odds of being able to handle an emergency should one come up during the take-off roll?

There’s a lot to consider.

Am I on time? Am I in a hurry? Is there someone on-board that has a time critical issue? How much fuel am I carrying? The engine is still burning fuel on the ground. Twelve minutes on the ground is twelve minutes I don’t have in the air. Is the cost of fuel an issue?
In the late 90’s I flew traffic watch. There were more than a few times when the radio traffic reporter would show up late. They’d jump in the airplane with only a few minutes before their first report was due for broadcast. We’d have no time to spare on the ground. An intersection departure might be a welcomed job saver under those circumstances.

Let’s look at the other side.

If the airplane fails during the take-off roll, having less runway means less time and distance to assess the problem and stop the airplane before running out of runway, or worse, having no other choice but to execute the take-off and carrying the problem airborne.

How much risk are you willing to accept?

I tell my flight students, “Life is all about the odds.” What are the odds you’ll be struck by lightning?  (Your Odds) Considering your age, appearance, socioeconomic status and place of residence (meaning how many available potential partners live within ten miles of you), what are the odds you’ll marry? Divorce? Get hit by a car? Catch a cold? Most importantly right now, while taxiing an airplane for take-off, what are the odds you’ll encounter a problem during the take-off phase of this flight? (crash stats)

I’m in the business of risk management. But so are you – everyday!

After leaving the airline I migrated to Title Insurance. In a lot of respects the two enterprises are similar. An airlines primary responsibility is the safe carriage of passengers and cargo. That’s – safety. Comfort and being on time, in-flight movies and wifi, are all secondary to safety.
A Title Insurance Company’s primary responsibility is the assurance there won’t be any defendable claims against a property. Most people don’t understand this but a Title company’s greatest expense goes into making sure there won’t be an issue against the Title of a property before agreeing to insure it. It’s only after doing extensive Title searches and making corrections to a property Title will a Title company insure the property.
It makes sense. If you’re going to insure against something, in other words if you’re going to accept those odds, why not do your due diligence to mitigate the risk of having to pay out on a claim? In other words, why not improve your odds of being right?
Both of my jobs are steeped in risk management. But you manage your own risk everyday. What’s your personal level of risk? Do you drink whiskey and then shoot guns?  No?  But you might speed in a car? Do you jump off cliff’s into unknown waters? Do you smoke? Sometimes we have to take risks in life in order to live. Do you think about the risks you take when you take them?

Back to the cockpit.

If I take the full length of the runway I’m going to experience a twelve-minute ground delay, accepting all the bad stuff that goes with it.   If I take the intersection departure I’ll cut that bad stuff out but I’ll also decrease the odds of getting the aircraft stopped on the runway should something go wrong. The airport is surrounded by houses. There just aren’t a lot of places to land once the runway is behind you in the big city. And I’m afraid of fire.
I cracked the mic switch open and made my decision, “Shuttle one: we’ll accept the wait for the full length.”
I’m one of those guys who will accept a manageable risk but I won’t take on a risk I could easily mitigate. I want to set the odds in my favor whenever possible. I want the full length of the runway when it’s available to me. And I want my Title Insurance to come from a reputable company, because my house is the largest investment I have, second only to my own life and the lives of those who trust me to fly them in an airplane.

Note: Besides being a CFII, MEI, Pilot, I’m a Title Rep.  In other words, I sell Title Insurance. Comments made here are my own and do not necessarily belong to my employer; Chicago Title & Escrow.

For more information about Title Insurance or flying airplanes, contact me directly at ric.Lippincott@ctt.com.

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When Friends Can Kill

Walking across the tarmac I suspiciously eyed the airplane in front of me. It looked old, like it’s owner. Not letting on; I was disappointed. I had hoped for a new airplane with all the latest toys, like GPS, weather radar and maybe even a flight director. But not tonight. Tonight I was flying in an airplane older than the touch tone telephone. (True).

I’m a Flight Instructor by night and a Title Insurance Rep for Chicago Title by day. It’s night.

I’ve done IPC’s (Instrument Proficiency Checks) with this aircraft owner and very qualified pilot several times before but never in his airplane. He’s experienced and conscientious. Let’s call him Jack.

The Flight Review

The Flight Review

The FAA requires every pilot to undergo a Flight Review every 24 months. Statistically speaking the extra review and training the Flight Review offers has been affective in reducing aviation accidents that are classified as skill-based. If nothing else the mandated Flight Review is a chance for pilots to get caught up on recent changes and receive instruction in areas where rust might be creeping in.

Let’s start.  “Jack, let me see all the documents required to be onboard the aircraft.”  Suddenly abashed Jack stared at me for a moment. “Well, like what do you want to see?”

Jack was obviously feeling tested. He shouldn’t. The Flight Review isn’t a test, it’s a recurrent training event that you have to complete satisfactorily but there is no grade and an unsatisfactory result only means you keep training until your instructor gives you the endorsement. If you believe your instructor isn’t being fair you have recourse. You are free to get another instructor.

Not wanting Jack to feel tense I softened my voice and replied, “Well, I kinda need to see all the paperwork the FAA says we need to have onboard the airplane before we can legally take off, you know like the Airworthyness Certificate.” Jack got happy and produced that document.

“How about the Aircraft Registration?” Jack pulled out a large envelope and started going through pages of stuff. When it became painfully obvious he didn’t have the proper registration I said, “Listen, I can’t fly in this airplane without an Aircraft Registration, so let’s reschedule for another day when you can find it.”

What Jack said next shocked me. “No one’s ever asked me for that before. Can we do the flight if I promise to go home and look for it later?”

What I wanted to say is you’ve got to be kidding me!  But what came out of my mouth was, “Well Jack I’m a Flight Instructor. Even though you’re qualified to act as PIC (Pilot In Command) if the FAA ramp checked us they’d have more than a few legitimate questions for me, not to mention a nasty fine. And if the worst happened, I’m sure the insurance company would void the coverage.”

Driving home that night I considered the possibility that no Flight Instructor before me had asked Jack to see the documents required for a legal take-off.  Did a friendly Flight Instructor really say, “Hey that’s ok Jack. Let’s fly this thing and you can find the paperwork later.”  Sometimes the good-old-boy network works to your benefit. But when it comes to flying airplanes, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) often finds airplane crashes are a result of many small errors leading up to disaster. Crashes are rarely a result of one perilous mistake.

While flying without proper registration won’t bring down an airplane, knowingly flying without one, or worse, not knowing you need one (It’s one of the first things taught when learning to fly) might be indicative of other more serious lapses in memory or judgment.  There are times when friends can kill.

Note: Besides being a CFII, MEI, Pilot, I’m a Title Rep.  (Tie-tél Rep; a person or reptile that scurries through Real Estate Offices and Lending institutions in search of food, stopping at nothing, including stepping on other Title Reps in its pursuit.)  In other words, I sell Title Insurance. Comments made here are my own and do not necessarily belong to Chicago Title.

For more information about Title Insurance or flying airplanes, contact me at ric.Lippincott@ctt.com.

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