New pilot questions

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I am a 61 yr old new Private pilot with 62 hours including 4 of those for the start of my IFR
training. Hey I gotta start somewhere.

I have several general questions.
Term life insurance for a private pilot. Best companies for rates and service?
Aircraft insurance ie liability,etc. Same as above.
Renter's insurance: How much? Same as above.

I am a member of AOPA, but I would appreciate some real pilot knowledge and

Like all new pilots, I would like a plane and I must admit the Diamond DA40XL is the plane
that got me back into flight training. I have a few problems with it though due to the wing
length, hot canopy issue, severe cross winds and turbulance at my airport in the summer,
and the price tag. I have flown in one and found it very easy to fly, and the view is great.
Really if anyone wants to give me one, I would take it off your hands.

I am also looking at a used Socata TB-20(as seen in the Controller) with new interior,
newly overhauled engine and prop. These planes are at my airport and I have sat in one
and checked out the work done so far and it looks great. I have not flown in one yet, but
plan to this week. If I get this plane I can configure the avionics/radio stack to anything I
want. If anyone has a thought about what I should effectively put in this for equipment, I
am all ears. I really don't like the sound of crushing metal and rapid decelerations from
great heights, so safety and effectiveness is high on my priority list. The down side is that
it is a complex aircraft and a '95 model Socata that will probably be hard to sell when I
am ready to get that DA50. Ok that's just a wish list, but a guy can dream.

My immediate goal is to get my VFR cross country hours, and in June (hopefully) get my
instrument ticket at Mickey Russell's accelerated cross country IFR program. He uses a
Diamond DA40 G1000. That is unless I get the Socata and hire Phillip to do the same

Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I have already taken a hike and I have
already jumped off a mountain so those suggestions won't work.


Joe Allen DDS

-- Joe Allen, February 26, 2008


AOPA would be delighted to sell you term life insurance, I think. I assume that their rates are competitive. Most of my friends don't need term life insurance. If they died, their relatives would benefit financially because the dead guy wouldn't be able to spend all of the family's money on airplanes and fuel anymore.

The one company worth checking for airplane insurance other than the AOPA agency's roster is AVEMCO. They are often cheaper than the standard choices and their service is excellent. If you own an airplane, your policy will often cover you in rental aircraft. I think that is true of my USAIG policy.

I think the Socata TB-20 is probably a nice plane, but I have never flown one. I think it will be a lot more difficult to get parts and service for a Socata than for a standard Cessna or Piper.

-- Philip Greenspun, March 4, 2008

As I've got about 120 hours in my TB-20, I thought I'd throw my two cents in here. Compared to similar airplanes (eg. Piper Comanche), the Trinidad is a very manageable, forgiving airplane. When I shopped insurance, the checkout requirement varied from 2 hours to 'checkout'. I did 1.5 hours, then got in the plane and flew it from California to New York (home), with no unpleasant surprises. The engine and avionics are conventional, and I haven't had any issues with parts availability yet. Sure, part are expensive, but so are parts for 'C', 'P', and the rest. The plane has a bit of a heavy, ponderous feel, but this is a plus if you in turbulence and/or IMC. In contrast, my previous plane (a Grumman Tiger), was probably more fun to fly from a pure stick-and-rudder perspective. But in the Trinidad, I can have four fat people on board and climb through 10,000 feet - no chance of that in the Tiger. WRT resale value, if you get in at the right price, getting out shouldn't be a problem. OTOH, if you've got your heart set on stepping up to something fancier soon, and you're going to do less than 200 hours or so per year, it might well be cheaper to rent, and also avoid the hassle of selling (and the sales tax hit).

If you want to talk Trinidads, drop me an email.

Larry Rachman

-- Larry Rachman, March 18, 2008