Student Pilot/PIC Question

aifiji

New Member
A good friend came to me for advice to get her pilots license a couple weeks ago and I recommended the FBO I am at. So she started taking lessons a couple weeks ago, and is progressing nicely. On Friday, she was doing her first lesson on landings, and on her fourth and final landing of the day, the plane veered off the runway. Her instructor did not have her hands on the controls at all and didn't take control of the plane until it started moving off the runway. They didn't think they hit anything and taxied back and parked. She got a call from the owner of the FBO yesterday saying there is a dent in the bottom of the plane and repairs will be around $1000 and is expecting her to pay for it.
My question is, who is responsible for any damage? Would it be the instructor and the FBO, since the instructor was the PIC? Being the 4th landing the student has ever done, the instructor should have been helping a bit more with the landing, and should have taken the controls sooner as this is something that could have been avoided.
 

SFCC/UND

Well-Known Member
As a flight instructor I always have my hands on my lap and my feet on the rudder. When I was a private pilot, training for my instrument my instructor always annoyed me because when we were coming in for landing I always felt his feet move from the floor to the rudder, made me think, does he think that I can't land the plane or something? But I realize now why! See what happened in your case, not quick to act. But it will usually come back to the instructor, unless he is very popular instructor and blames the student for the dent. I curious to see where this will go.
 

aifiji

New Member
Exactly. When I did my BFR a couple of months ago, even with the hours and landings I have, the instructor still grabbed the controls on one landing when I didn't correct the ailerons for crosswind correction on landing. For a student pilot, the instructor should be a little more active, especially on the students 4th landing.
 

b3181981

Well-Known Member
she shouldn't be responsible as the schools instructor should have been in total control, the fbo should have fleet insurance and the student ends up paying for that insurance threw rental rates of the aircraft. If they try to force her to pay tell them to take her to court and go to another fbo for training because what they are doing is bad for business.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
As a student pilot, you are responsible for pretty much nothing. Even when you solo that responsibility is on the instructor.

I would tell that FBO to:
1. shove it
2. go talk to the CFI that let it happen
3. call the insurance company, that is why they have coverage in the first place.

Then unless they placed the blame where due, I would go elsewhere.
 

moxiepilot

Well-Known Member
sounds like the FBO owner is trying to pass the buck. instead of having to pay the deductable, it appears that he/she is trying the get the customer to pay.

there is nothing the FBO can do to enforce a payment from the renter
 

PGT

Well-Known Member
That depends on

1) what the customer signed when starting flight lessons, and
2) whether or not the FBO is willing to sue.
You think they can sue?

It's in the FAR's that the PIC is responsible for the airplane so what do they have on the student?
 

Maurus

The Great Gazoo
I tell my students why I am ready at the controls before I fly with them. Just to remind them that it isn't their flying as to why I have the controls. I have my hands on the controls to save not just my butt, but my student's as well. Last thing I need is a liability suit because I wasn't on the controls.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
You think they can sue?

It's in the FAR's that the PIC is responsible for the airplane so what do they have on the student?
The FARs are irelevant in this scenerio. It dosen't matter who the PIC was.

What matters is the rental/training contract that your friend signed. If it says that the renter is responsible for the 1K deductible, then pay up.


In reality, I would tell the school to piss off. If they did in fact sue for the deductible, then I would just pay it. A lawyer will cost you 1,000$ really fast. This is why you need renters insurance.
 

Joni

New Member
No matter what the student does (unless it's ludicrous) it will always be the instructor problem, because he is the pilot in command!
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
As a student pilot, you are responsible for pretty much nothing. Even when you solo that responsibility is on the instructor.
I have to disagree with this statement. It is the responsibility of the CFI to train and endorse you properly up to solo, but once you are flying solo, YOU are the PIC and are responsible for the flight.

Like others said, what did the rental agreement say? It is pretty petty of them to try to get you to cough up $100, especially with the instructor aboard.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
You think they can sue?

It's in the FAR's that the PIC is responsible for the airplane so what do they have on the student?
Perhaps a contract. The FAR is not the be all and end all when it comes to responsibility for a flight. And that the PIC is ultimately responsible for a flight doesn't mean hes the =only= one responsible.

That said, even with a contract, I think its am iffy situation for a flight school to sue a student pilot for an accident that occurred during a primary training dual flight. If I were the renter, I would look at the question very closely, go over it with an attorney, and not rely on "some guy on the Internet" for an answer.
 

JoelT

Well-Known Member
Was there an NTSB report? If not, the FBO has to PROVE that the damage occurred on the student's flight. Also, I have never heard of an FBO that requires a renter to pay for damages. Especially when there is an employee of said FBO seated at the controls. There is no way in hell that I would pay it.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
I have to disagree with this statement. It is the responsibility of the CFI to train and endorse you properly up to solo, but once you are flying solo, YOU are the PIC and are responsible for the flight.

Like others said, what did the rental agreement say? It is pretty petty of them to try to get you to cough up $100, especially with the instructor aboard.
I was meaning from an enforcement action perspective. If a student pilot screws up, it will most likely be viewed as improper training from the instructor; and it is the instructor that has a certificate to lose, that has spent the time and money to get that certificate. A student pilot might have a dream shattered and what money they have spent up to that point lost, but they won't lose the certificate with which they feed their family.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
Also, I have never heard of an FBO that requires a renter to pay for damages.
I've never heard of an FBO that didn't.

Aside from a contract, the renter is responsible for damage he causes. With a contract, many FBOs (just like Hertz and Avis) make the renter responsible for hull damage that occurs while the aircraft is checked out to the renter.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
I was meaning from an enforcement action perspective. If a student pilot screws up, it will most likely be viewed as improper training from the instructor;
Can you give us specific examples why you feel that it will "most likely" be viewed as improper training?

I'm always interested in collecting data on CFI legal responsibility issues.
 
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