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Just after some advice on insurance on our private strip , 800 m long 50 m wide with trees lining both sides , got some mates who hangar  their planes here , l don’t charge them , but was just informed by a pilot, that they might not be covered by their comprehensive insurance if they spear off and end up in the shrubbery because the strip doesn’t meet certain standards, or is it a matter of  notifying the insurance company of the added risk to see where we stand 

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Not an expert, but If you don't declare/ disclose certain issues that  might be considered relevent,  you should have, as they bear on the risk,  and your cover  may not be assured. It's like if you are insuring a T/W type you may be asked how much experience you or anyone likely to fly it have on T/W  aircraft...I've operated in strips such as you describe and particularly under strong wind conditions they require  more skill than a normal strip does. You might voluntarily exempt your group from cover  (and save money) for that situation, if it's an insuperable problem. there should always be ways around these things. I believe in disclosure and in writing as noted on documents.. Nev

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It seem to me that in the first instance you should ask yourself - why am I interested in insuring (against) incidents on your strip ??

 

Insurerence has never been and never will be cheap. Insurers are not in the business of looking after clients, their business is making money out of premiums that reflect risk ie they (actuary's) statistically assess risk , this then used to set the premium (to you the client) the insurance company is unlikely to lose money (over time & policy numbers) - its a license to print money.

 

So if insurance is not a legal requirement - what are/is the alternative.

 

Insurance is unlikely to totally remove the risk to you,the land owner and will almost certainly be prohibitively high. So what can you do. It seem to me the most cost effective approach is to ask the pilots to formally the risk by signing a document (waver) to that effect ( see points below) 

 

You sound like you are operating a strip that is well below official standards (much like my home strip). So you have an increased risk of an aircraft incident.

 

Mitagating against this should be

You only allow operations by proven experienced pilots (in short field opps).

Restricted to recognised STOL aircraft

You may also have restrictions on weather conditions - wind speed/direction

Single pilot opp   (no passengers)

Other factors peculiar to your strip

You may ask every user pilot to sign a document recognising all of the risks and stating he/she use the strip at their own risk - only good if you do not do something to cause the accident eg drive  cattle onto the strip just befor a departure.

 

Documentation is key to minimising your exposure,to being held accountable in whole or part,to an incident where there is an action brought against you.

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2 hours ago, skippydiesel said:

It seem to me that in the first instance you should ask yourself - why am I interested in insuring (against) incidents on your strip ??

 

Insurerence has never been and never will be cheap. Insurers are not in the business of looking after clients, their business is making money out of premiums that reflect risk ie they (actuary's) statistically assess risk , this then used to set the premium (to you the client) the insurance company is unlikely to lose money (over time & policy numbers) - its a license to print money.

 

So if insurance is not a legal requirement - what are/is the alternative.

 

Insurance is unlikely to totally remove the risk to you,the land owner and will almost certainly be prohibitively high. So what can you do. It seem to me the most cost effective approach is to ask the pilots to formally the risk by signing a document (waver) to that effect ( see points below) 

 

You sound like you are operating a strip that is well below official standards (much like my home strip). So you have an increased risk of an aircraft incident.

 

Mitagating against this should be

You only allow operations by proven experienced pilots (in short field opps).

Restricted to recognised STOL aircraft

You may also have restrictions on weather conditions - wind speed/direction

Single pilot opp   (no passengers)

Other factors peculiar to your strip

You may ask every user pilot to sign a document recognising all of the risks and stating he/she use the strip at their own risk - only good if you do not do something to cause the accident eg drive  cattle onto the strip just befor a departure.

 

Documentation is key to minimising your exposure,to being held accountable in whole or part,to an incident where there is an action brought against you.

I would suggest the owner talks to a Public Liability Insurer and gets the legal facts, and usually an inspection, photos, discussions, removing some trees, shifting some fences, etc. We used to do this regularly when clubs wanted to build new speedways, and it usually involved a half day visit to look at the site now; a letter back from the insurer asking for any changes necessary to ensure an acceptable risk level, and a second visit and policy agreement to make sure the work requested has been done. I can't remember any huge premiums after that process.

 

CASA has specifications for an ALA, so there are good guidelines to follow.'

 

The owner of the and and operator of the airfield still have a duty of care to anyone using the strip, and some  mitigations such as you suggested can reduce your risk, but others are likely to cause questions to be asked if there is an incident.

 

You have to be very careful of the waivers, because they will not absolve you from a breach of duty of care, and it's your duty of care to ensure there are no stock on the strip at all times it's not marked by white crosses, no crab holes or wombat burrows etc., an operating windsock and all the specifications of an ALA.

 

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 STOL aircaft are generally harder to control in gusty conditions. They only excel at Short Take Off and Landings. Narrow strips with trees get some interesting wind effects that aircraft with a bit more penetration do better at handling. Nev

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Been operating for about 15 years with no incidents ,  have farm public liability insurance to cover anything  personnel injury wise ,discussed all the risks with our broker , providing there was no negligence and  pilots understood  they needed to be competent it was okay, l was more worried about damage to an aircraft and the insurance company reneging on a claim and if that turns out to be the case it’s hardly worth the insurance in the first place, l think the next move will be contacting them and seeing where we stand , thanks everyone for the advice, Greg 

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3 hours ago, turboplanner said:

I would suggest the owner talks to a Public Liability Insurer and gets the legal facts, and usually an inspection, photos, discussions, removing some trees, shifting some fences, etc. We used to do this regularly when clubs wanted to build new speedways, and it usually involved a half day visit to look at the site now; a letter back from the insurer asking for any changes necessary to ensure an acceptable risk level, and a second visit and policy agreement to make sure the work requested has been done. I can't remember any huge premiums after that process.

 

CASA has specifications for an ALA, so there are good guidelines to follow.'

 

The owner of the and and operator of the airfield still have a duty of care to anyone using the strip, and some  mitigations such as you suggested can reduce your risk, but others are likely to cause questions to be asked if there is an incident.

 

You have to be very careful of the waivers, because they will not absolve you from a breach of duty of care, and it's your duty of care to ensure there are no stock on the strip at all times it's not marked by white crosses, no crab holes or wombat burrows etc., an operating windsock and all the specifications of an ALA.

 

 

 

Just my opinion:

 

First of all - It does not sound as if this landing ground could meet the ALA specifications or that the owner (not an operator) has any intention of  making it into one.

 

Second - we all live/work under the duty of care considerations HOWEVER when consenting informed adults make a decision to operate in a potentially higher risk or unregulated environment, duty of care considerations are reduced (never completely eliminated)

 

Third - duty  of care will be applied (even where wavers have been signed) where a person wilfully, negligently or deceitfully causes in part or whole an incident to occur- the statement "to ensure there are no stock on the strip at all times it's not marked by white crosses, no crab holes or wombat burrows etc., an operating windsock" can not be correct, as long as these risks are well documented and brought to the attention of the pilots concerned. In effect the now known risk becomes the responsibility of the pilots. This would not be the case if the owner of the ground deliberately/negligently drove cattle/wombats/ whatever onto the strip when an aircraft was taking off/landing.

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The owner could copy the  warning placard from a recreational aircraft and just change the word aircraft to airstrip, problem solved. 😶

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2 hours ago, Thruster88 said:

The owner could copy the  warning placard from a recreational aircraft and just change the word aircraft to airstrip, problem solved. 😶

Very good !

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2 hours ago, Blueadventures said:

50 meters is a nice width.

From memory (always suspect) 60 m is the minimum but there is a great deal more to it than just width & length.

 

Certainly the local council would require planning permission to be lodged and we know that most councils have very strange concerns about aircraft & air strips, let alone the cost of putting it up for consideration.

 

My opinion - let sleeping landing ground lie

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8 hours ago, skippydiesel said:

My opinion - let sleeping landing ground lie

That hasn't worked since the 1980s when governments started offloading public liability on to users.

It seems about 90% of people are confused about the "Reverse" nature of the situation today.

In the prescriptive era prior to the 1980s that advice would have worked. Public liability laws had been in existence since 1932, but since Governments "inspected" and "Licensed" risky operations, and if they missed one and something happened they payed out. On  "inspection day" factories wold be rearranged, cleaned up, guards fitted to all machines, etc. and as soon as the inspector walked out the door it all reverted back. It became a cat and mouse game with surprise inspections etc, but when anything went wrong it was always the government which paid out.

When the governments offloaded risk to us, a reversal ocurred. The ONLY time safety standards cost us was when someone was lying injured or dead on the ground, and then WE paid if we had made a mistake or left a guard off a machine etc.

So there was no need for any government supervision, inspections etc, and if there were Council Rules or Australian Standards that had not been complied with they became evidence for the plaintiff.

So the above piece of advice is not very good at all, and worse, it drags in the person who gave it.

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1 hour ago, turboplanner said:

That hasn't worked since the 1980s when governments started offloading public liability on to users.

It seems about 90% of people are confused about the "Reverse" nature of the situation today.

In the prescriptive era prior to the 1980s that advice would have worked. Public liability laws had been in existence since 1932, but since Governments "inspected" and "Licensed" risky operations, and if they missed one and something happened they payed out. On  "inspection day" factories wold be rearranged, cleaned up, guards fitted to all machines, etc. and as soon as the inspector walked out the door it all reverted back. It became a cat and mouse game with surprise inspections etc, but when anything went wrong it was always the government which paid out.

When the governments offloaded risk to us, a reversal ocurred. The ONLY time safety standards cost us was when someone was lying injured or dead on the ground, and then WE paid if we had made a mistake or left a guard off a machine etc.

So there was no need for any government supervision, inspections etc, and if there were Council Rules or Australian Standards that had not been complied with they became evidence for the plaintiff.

So the above piece of advice is not very good at all, and worse, it drags in the person who gave it.

Hi Turbo - obviously I am not in a position to know the precise environment that Rhtudder is describing, however I do not get the impression that it is an industrial one (which is very much the one that you are referring too). As long as the landing ground is only open to invited "friends" (not the public) does not claim to be anything approaching an ALA,, all users are demonstrably fully briefed on the conditions prevailing and of use and I suspect there is no profit being made, this landing ground is just a nice long strait paddock - the authorities (of which there are a legion) are not interested. 

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Sorry Skippy, I probably confused it by referring to a factory; public liability applies to all actions, and it doesn't matter where you are.

If we were hunters, and were out in the bush, and I'd been making a practice of reloading overloads, and the breach blew and injured you, I'd be paying out.

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Thanks skip ,  basically that’s all my strip is , got 3 mates that hanger their planes here and have plenty that fly in but know the risks also had the odd plane come in who has contacted me asking to use the strip as the local strip has closed down , Kyabram, l point out the what’s involved  and leave it up to them to make that call , maybe l should stick to people l know. Greg 

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Just now, turboplanner said:

Sorry Skippy, I probably confused it by referring to a factory; public liability applies to all actions, and it doesn't matter where you are.

If we were hunters, and were out in the bush, and I'd been making a practice of reloading overloads, and the breach blew and injured you, I'd be paying out.

No apology required, we are all entitled to our opinion - its a valuable learning tool.

Yep if you injure someone through negligence or deceit you are likely to be liable - so in the scenario you pose - you routinely overload your casings - importantly you fail to inform me of this practice and I am injured - I am in a strong position to sue. The outcome would be very different if I  knew of your practice and condoned it. So the key is being able to demonstrate for knowledge and acceptance.

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2 minutes ago, skippydiesel said:

No apology required, we are all entitled to our opinion - its a valuable learning tool.

Yep if you injure someone through negligence or deceit you are likely to be liable - so in the scenario you pose - you routinely overload your casings - importantly you fail to inform me of this practice and I am injured - I am in a strong position to sue. The outcome would be very different if I  knew of your practice and condoned it. So the key is being able to demonstrate for knowledge and acceptance.

We're getting too specific without legal qualifications, but all I would be doing is giving you and idea of the risk. From a personal experience we lost a case where we had issued a warning, but failed to advise the plaintiff that he had the right to sue us if we were negligent, which we were found to be.

To avoid stepping over the mark on legal advice, I would suggest anyone contemplating using a paddock for an airfield, even for family members and yourself spend a couple of hundred dollars for an interview with a PL law firm, and write out all those questions before hand

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6 minutes ago, rhtrudder said:

Thanks skip ,  basically that’s all my strip is , got 3 mates that hanger their planes here and have plenty that fly in but know the risks also had the odd plane come in who has contacted me asking to use the strip as the local strip has closed down , Kyabram, l point out the what’s involved  and leave it up to them to make that call , maybe l should stick to people l know. Greg 

Hi Rh - I hope I am largely correct but remember, we are all just airing our opinions on this site.

I think your exposure to litigation is probably very low WITH YOUR INVITED FRIENDS but goes up exponentially with the blow ins.

Fiends may not sue - it may be surviving relatives/dependents - so its important to be able to show that your friends are all aware of the risks and have accepted them. DOCUMENT agreements.

If not already done I would suggest convening a meeting of the friends (record attendance & salient points discussed)- thrashing out a dot point document that conveys the environment at your landing ground - eg mention of HAZZARD  - domestic, feral and native fauna - is sufficient without going into species detail (if you start detailing, everything must be detailed) Same goes for weather do not try to cover every situation just a general statement about hazards that may be encountered (eg  rain may make ground  soft).

Draw up a "members list" with a space for signatures with the heading  something like - In signing this members list you acknowledge and accept the attached list of hazards that may be encountered when you fly in/out of this private field and that managing these are the pilots responsibility .

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18 hours ago, skippydiesel said:

From memory (always suspect) 60 m is the minimum but there is a great deal more to it than just width & length.

 

Certainly the local council would require planning permission to be lodged and we know that most councils have very strange concerns about aircraft & air strips, let alone the cost of putting it up for consideration.

 

My opinion - let sleeping landing ground lie

Thanks Skippy.

 

The airstrip where I was last hangared until March 2018 was 36/18 400m x 25m and 27/09 700m x 25mm. (I did ground loop my skyfox tail dragger once; so wider would have been better)

 

From memory glider strips (winch ops) were 1200m x 3 times wing span minimum. (Blanik 18m x 3 = 54m)

 

Therefore for a non ALA I thought 50 width would  be nice. Cheers and thanks for 60m info.

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Insurance only protects you from claims that can be sheeted home to your negligence - such as failing to address a known problem, or not maintaining the airstrip to an expected standard.

IMO, a lot also hinges on whether your airstrip is approved by the authorities, such as your local council.

You may be in a rural or agricultural zoned area, but you still need council approval to install and operate an airstrip, because an airstrip is not an agricultural or rural pursuit, per se, and other nearby landowners may suffer adverse impact from the installation and use of an airstrip. There could be a fear by neighbours of an aircraft crashing into their property or buildings. Of course, if you are really remote, with distant neighbours, then that makes everything a lot easier.

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29 minutes ago, onetrack said:

Insurance only protects you from claims that can be sheeted home to your negligence - such as failing to address a known problem, or not maintaining the airstrip to an expected standard.

IMO, a lot also hinges on whether your airstrip is approved by the authorities, such as your local council.

You may be in a rural or agricultural zoned area, but you still need council approval to install and operate an airstrip, because an airstrip is not an agricultural or rural pursuit, per se, and other nearby landowners may suffer adverse impact from the installation and use of an airstrip. There could be a fear by neighbours of an aircraft crashing into their property or buildings. Of course, if you are really remote, with distant neighbours, then that makes everything a lot easier.

Every jurisdiction will have a slightly  different approach, however I believe, that in general, you as the owner  have a right to responsible enjoyment of your property. This means if you use a paddock  (do not call it as an airstrip) to come & go by aircraft, ride motor bikes or horses, take off your clothes or whatever and that you do not derive a profit from such activity and that such activity is limited to a small group of friends you will be left in piece. Be mindful of  your neighbours concerns, minimise noise & low flight - if you can avoid overflying neighbours homes, do so. 

 

I hesitate to refer to my home paddock but it has existed as a landing ground for about 25 years now, surrounded by semi rural holdings, on the edge of a large city - no planning permission, no problem or issues of any nature whatsoever - just be sensible and considerate  and you will probably be just fine.

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Unfortunately Skippy, the majority of Councils in Australia don't agree with you. In virtually all local Council jurisdictions in my State, you cannot gather up a heap of mates and family with numerous motorbikes, on a regular basis, to enjoy hooning around on them - activities such as this are treated as being the equivalent of a commercial motorbike track operation, and can be shut down.

There are dozens and dozens of "hobby farm" properties here in W.A., where owners have purchased farmland and gone to great lengths to build motorbike tracks and jumps - only to have the local Council shut them down.

The Councils state that the use is "non-agricultural" and against the land use zoning, it is impacting on soil quality with erosion and excessive runoff, it affects adjoining property owners levels of enjoyment, and only encourages "hoons" to cut up local gravel roads in the area.

A lot of these hobby farms are now for sale, and they pose a problem for the owners and agents to sell, as genuine farmers don't want to be slugged with the major cost of dismantling tracks and jumps, and returning the land to agricultural use.

Edited by onetrack

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Of course, CASA gives no advice and little encouragement as regards setting up an airstrip, the relevant advice is to pilots, who are constantly reminded that they hold the greatest responsibility when choosing a spot to land.

 

https://www.casa.gov.au/file/105066/download?token=aMdVb6EO

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59 minutes ago, onetrack said:

Unfortunately Skippy, the majority of Councils in Australia don't agree with you. In virtually all local Council jurisdictions in my State, you cannot gather up a heap of mates and family with numerous motorbikes, on a regular basis, to enjoy hooning around on them - activities such as this are treated as being the equivalent of a commercial motorbike track operation, and can be shut down.

There are dozens and dozens of "hobby farm" properties here in W.A., where owners have purchased farmland and gone to great lengths to build motorbike tracks and jumps - only to have the local Council shut them down.

The Councils state that the use is "non-agricultural" and against the land use zoning, it is impacting on soil quality with erosion and excessive runoff, it affects adjoining property owners levels of enjoyment, and only encourages "hoons" to cut up local gravel roads in the area.

A lot of these hobby farms are now for sale, and they pose a problem for the owners and agents to sell, as genuine farmers don't want to be slugged with the major cost of dismantling tracks and jumps, and returning the land to agricultural use.

I dont think you understood the thrust of my statement - (I have underlined the key words you appear to have missed) "have a right to responsible enjoyment of your property." and "you do not derive a profit from such activity and that such activity is limited to a small group of friends" and again "Be mindful of  your neighbours concerns, minimise noise & low flight "

 

I have clearly articulated  -  the right/principal to enjoy your property but not at the disadvantage/negative impact on your neighbours. Your neighbour's right to enjoy their property, free from undue noise/dust/exposure to your activity must also be respected. Do I need to underline the salient words/phrases?

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I fully understood the thrust of your statement. The problems centre around the fact that Councils do not leave the decisions as to what is regarded as responsible behaviour, to individuals, and their choice of what they think is responsible.

 

The Councils set regulations, rules, and by-laws that have to be obeyed. In W.A., zoning regulations are overseen by the State Planning Commission, the local Councils only have a moderate level of control over zoning.

As regards the "derive a profit" angle, local Councils have decreed that you do not need to be charging fees or making a profit, if your operation is in excessive numbers, produces some form of pollution, and is against zoning regulations.

If the numbers are up there, above normal family numbers, and you are creating any form of pollution that has control regulations (such as noise, dust, noxious smells, erosion, etc) - your operation is then classified as "commercial activity".

 

A right to "responsible enjoyment of your property" does not actually appear in any legislation, by-law, rule, or regulation, in Australia - bar one slightly similar wording, that I know of.

Neither does it appear in our Constitution, despite some people thinking we have a copy of the American Constitution, as our Constitution.

 

The one and only law that I know of, that gives one party a right, to "quiet enjoyment of their premises" is the Residential Tenancies Act of W.A., Section 44 - which is designed to prevent landlords from unduly annoying tenants of their properties. No doubt other States have similar tenancy laws. This is not the same definition, as "responsible enjoyment" of your property.

 

http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/rta1987207/s44.html

 

 

Edited by onetrack

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