Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

Would you accept this condition from your maintenance company?

The other option is to add another £5/h on your bill.

They actually said that?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Where you contract on the other person's standard written terms then any clause excluding or limiting liability has to pass the test of "reasonableness". What that means in any particular context depends on the relative bargaining position of the parties and what they are excluding liability for. There are many cases on this issue. Certainly you should not accept a clause like that at face value!

I think SnRm has it right.

My gut feeling is that insurance companies, offering airfield insurance, hull insurance, hangar insurance, business liability insurance and whatnot, have carefully drafted their policies so that they complement each other without overlap.

Your hull insurance, I think, will insure the hull against anything coming from the outside. It doesn't matter whether your aircraft is parked in your own hangar, outside on an airfield, or in someone else's hangar. This means that the maintenance organization, hangar owner or airfield owner doesn't need to pay for additional insurance for the airframes that happen to be located in their facilities or on their premises to cover, say, damage due to fire. Because that's covered in the hull insurance of the individual airframes already.

The exception of course is the case where clear liability exists, hence the "wilful act" exception.

If you want the definitive answer, then I think it's best to talk to your hull insurer to see if they have a problem with this. But my feeling is that they will be fine with it, and will cover any damage that the airframe sustained while at the maintenance organizations facilities, and which are not directly or indirectly attributable to actions or inactions of the maintenance organization.

My concern with that clause was that accidental damage is hardly uncommon.

I have had €10k's worth of it a few years ago. The company paid for it without a problem, but it happened in my presence and it happened really easily. A second's inattention when moving aircraft in a hangar and BANG. Here we call it "hangar rash" and most cases of it happen without anybody else seeing it and thus the person causing it has no reason to own up to it...

I was lucky in that it could be repaired (with a car body filler) for the 6 months it took to buy a new airframe part, buy the correct paint (from France so ~6 months), spray it, and fit it.

Hangar rash is a really big problem in some hangars. In most cases the recipient is in a poor position to get it paid for because of the risk of getting kicked off the airport. For example I know of a case where somebody got a negligent avionics job done (GS indication wired backwards) and upon making a complaint to the CAA he got kicked off the airport. There is a hangar I know of where it happens all the time and nobody ever gets paid for it despite all aircraft movements made by a paid crew working for the hangar owner. If they sued they would just get kicked out (so one assumes).

In most GA owner scenarios the owner is in such a very poor position (basically because - as in most of UK life - the property owner has all the power) and has to fall back on his own ground risks insurance.

This incidentally is one reason why so many people do not use a local firm for their maintenance...

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The clause is fine. All it's doing is re-stating the UK law position, presumably for the avoidance of doubt. If someone is holding your property they are only liable for it's loss if it was due to their negligence. Maintenance firms are insured, but normally only for their legal liability.

Of course some firms would repair to avoid losing a customer. But insurers would not pay unless there was proven negligence.

This is why we insure our aircraft.

They aren't excluding damage due to an accident, just things not done by them. If they damage your plane, that clause won't limit their liability.

EGTK Oxford

If someone is holding your property they are only liable for it's loss if it was due to their negligence

"Negligence" is not the same as "wilful act". If your roof falls in, because you have let the hangar fall to pieces, that is probably negligence. If they push another plane into yours, that is also negligence.

If the hangar gets hit by a meteor and the roof falls in, that isn't their negligence and you would have to claim from your own ground risks policy.

A wilful act, if I understand it right, is somebody in there smashing your plane up because you shagged his wife (etc). A wilful act is extremely unlikely to happen, and if somebody did that, then unless they were really stupid (and e.g. chopped up your plane with a chainsaw, so it's obvious it was done on purpose) you would never be able to prove it was wilful.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Does the 'willful act' exclude such acts done by 3rd parties. For example, if you push your aircraft into a wall in order to make a claim, that would clearly be a good reason for the insurers to not pay out. But if someone independent with a grievance against the airfield broke in and smashed up all the planes - which has hit the news a few times that I can recall - I would ordinarily expect an insurer to pay out.

I'm not in the legal profession so my thoughts are pretty meaningless. I wanted to share them anyway :)

"such loss or damage be caused by the wilful act" - If we're talking about a ground-handling accident, I'd argue that 'wilful act' referred to the maneuvering of the aircraft. The damage was caused by that wilful act. I don't think 'wilful act' refers to deliberately colliding one aircraft with another. Likewise with leaving a tool in the engine bay. I think that would be a wilful act that resulted in damage. I don't think 'wilful' refers to deliberately causing damage.

It seems to me that they're trying to exclude from their liability things like vandalism and "acts of god". That sounds reasonable to me.

It might require precedent though to define those terms and what does/does not constitute a 'wilful act'.

Fairoaks, United Kingdom

/?wilf?l/ Adjective

1) (of an immoral or illegal act or omission) Intentional; deliberate. 2) Having or showing a stubborn and determined intention to do as one wants, regardless of the consequences or effects.

Sign in to add your message

Back to Top