Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

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D5GRVTY
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Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby D5GRVTY » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:54 am

Hi everyone, long time since I've posted here. I'm posting now because I've heard of something happening on the island which I thought was unfair and wanted to put it out to the general west coast flying community to see if I'm off base. Plus I think it's better if what's happening is subject to more public discussion, as there is some potentially dangerous precedents being set.

What am I talking about is the midair that occurred near Port Alberni on April 12th and in particular the aftermath. I won't rehash the accident, if you want a thorough description please take a moment to read the reports from the pilots involved here:

https://hpac.ca/pub/?pid=478#collision

The pilot who lost his gear in the mid-air collision is demanding that the other pilot reimburse him for the full retail cost of all the gear - an amount well over $10,000.

In my not so humble opinion, I think this is ridiculous. In my reading of the accident report I would not hold either pilot 100% at fault. In my view, neither party is clearly responsible. It takes two pilots to have a mid-air collision.....

Expecting an individual to pay full retail for brand new gear to replace your well-used gear is absurd. Even insurance companies will take depreciation into account.

The less-experienced pilot is under a significant amount of pressure to pay from both the other pilot and his acquaintances. I'm writing this post in part to see if others agree with me, and also in unsolicited support for the pilot who is being asked to pay.

I know that others in the community agree with me and I think it's important to set the right precedent on this.

I look forward to your thoughts.......


Also see post on PG forum.......

http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=96328

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GrumpySmurf
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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby GrumpySmurf » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:53 pm

"The less-experienced pilot is under a significant amount of pressure to pay from both the other pilot and his acquaintances."
I'd wish the pilot demanding payment good luck. If they are HPAC members, they have signed the waiver preventing, in part, this very situation.

"By signing this document I hereby voluntarily release, forever discharge and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Releasee for any loss or damage to any property or for personal injury that I may sustain while participating in or preparing for Hang Gliding programs or activities, whether or not such loss or injury is caused solely or partly by the negligence of Releasee;"


DEFINITION of “Releasee”:
The owners, lessors, and occupiers of land upon which Hang Gliding occurs, whether or not they have granted permission for the use of their property for Hang Gliding, and
The Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada aka Association Canadienne De Vol Libre (“HPAC” or “ACVL”), all clubs comprised primarily of HPAC members or Hang Gliding schools in which all instructors are certified by HPAC, The Aeroclub of Canada, The Federation Aeronautique Internationale and its Commission Internationale de Vol Libre, and their respective officers, directors, representatives, employees, volunteers and members, and any and all other persons, corporations, partnerships, societies, clubs or other forms of business organizations or entities, acting in any capacity whatsoever, in the provision, promotion, organization, production, facilitation, and operation of Hang Gliding, and
Meet Directors of HPAC/ACVL sanctioned competitions and their designated volunteers.
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tnankie
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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby tnankie » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:24 pm

you islanders are such a cohesive bunch aren't you? :D


My biggest concern in this case is the track record, I'm not sure if it should have a bearing on the current case or not. I think it takes two pilots to have a mid-air. There is no way I'd ask for compensation. I'd hope that if someone blatantly ran into me they'd offer something. I do strongly feel that the more experienced pilot should have been tracking both of the gliders he knew were in the air nearby.
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Martin
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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby Martin » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:15 am

Not really sure what "significant amount of pressure" means but I understand the emotion of the situation.

Several years back I experienced a mid air at Woodside where I ended up in the trees with equipment damage. I was fortunately not hurt but was out of pocket $1000 in repairs and loss of use. By our sports commonly accepted standards of "right of way" the other pilot was at fault. By my personal standards of accountability, I chalked it up to S### happens and I should have not gotten myself into the situation in the first place. Besides, as mentioned, it takes "Two to tangle".

That said, I do understand the emotion of the situation. Like any accident (auto or air), somebody will feel victimized, there will be consequences and some will seek out compensation. Our sport is high risk, I would hope the pilot seeking compensation "sucks it up" and accepts what has been said above and be thankful nobody died. Sure, if it was me I would be pissed but such is life.

Frankly, having read the incident report, I suggest that he lost track of his surrounding aircraft and ran into the other pilot by not keeping a proper lookout. Just like in my incident, I knowingly allowed a situation to occur solely based on "rights of way" ... way too much of an assumption that the other pilot was either aware or competent enough to put my life in their hands.

Given how lightly we take collision avoidance, it is amazing we do not see more incidents like this as we do tend to fly in ridiculously close quarters in unpredictable conditions with pilots ranging in skills from experts to bozos.... a little like commuting to work?

As to waivers and releases, they are good for the organizations that utilize them, they might protect the organization, they might protect the signed participants, they might give everybody a nice fuzzy feeling of being "protected". Most likely the "release" would not fare well in our legal system as there is nothing stopping the litigants from taking their grievances to the various courts of law and or hiring a guy named "Guido" to extract compensation. (Just from a legal banter perspective, it would be interesting to know if both were members of their national association and had valid releases on file).

Martin

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the other martin
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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby the other martin » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:48 am

Good morning everyone.

I agree with the opinions of the pilots who have responded to your inquiry about responsibility, etc. The fact of the matter is if the aggrieved party feels they are owed compensation due to some non binding 'right of way' law then they can address their case in front of a court of law. I have some familiarity with the court system and can't think of one court system that would have jurisdiction over such a case. Even small claims court has very limited, if any ability, to make a defendant pay if they in fact would ever be found guilty.

So...fight nicely and let's go flying.


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Rob Samplonius
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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby Rob Samplonius » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:12 pm

I honestly have no idea who was involved in the collision, so I'm pretty impartial.

I've never heard of anybody trying to get compensated for damage from a mid-air. I'd figure that Pilot#1 who lost his wing should be feeling pretty ashamed that with all his experience that he didn't avoid it. After all if you've been in the sport for any length of time, you have to realize that there is no safety in assuming that other pilots don't have a death wish or know where you are and know how to avoid flying into you.

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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby Amir » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:33 am

Rob Samplonius wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:12 pm
I honestly have no idea who was involved in the collision, so I'm pretty impartial.

I've never heard of anybody trying to get compensated for damage from a mid-air. I'd figure that Pilot#1 who lost his wing should be feeling pretty ashamed that with all his experience that he didn't avoid it. After all if you've been in the sport for any length of time, you have to realize that there is no safety in assuming that other pilots don't have a death wish or know where you are and know how to avoid flying into you.
Rob!! Where've you been mate??
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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby GrumpySmurf » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:15 pm

Waivers are quite enforceable in BC (with exceptions for gross negligence and minors) and defendants often have the opportunity to recover legal costs. Any lawyer in BC with half a clue would recommend their client think twice in pursuing a claim when a signed waiver is in place.

A few examples:

Australian snowboarder loses lawsuit alleging Grouse Mountain left him quadriplegic

https://globalnews.ca/news/5342439/aust ... n-lawsuit/

Justice Catherine Murray ruled Apps had signed the terms and conditions on a liability form at the time of the accident, waiving the mountain of responsibility.

[...]

Apps is now expected to pay all court costs to Grouse Mountain.


Zip-line crash victims lose lawsuit

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british- ... -1.1121267

But Justice Richard Goepel disagreed, writing that the waiver they signed provided the company with a complete defence from the lawsuit.

Goepel added that ziplining was a hazardous activity and by signing, Loychuk and Westgeest took the risk on themselves.
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Tyler G
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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby Tyler G » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:45 pm

Amir wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:33 am
Rob Samplonius wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:12 pm
I honestly have no idea who was involved in the collision, so I'm pretty impartial.

I've never heard of anybody trying to get compensated for damage from a mid-air. I'd figure that Pilot#1 who lost his wing should be feeling pretty ashamed that with all his experience that he didn't avoid it. After all if you've been in the sport for any length of time, you have to realize that there is no safety in assuming that other pilots don't have a death wish or know where you are and know how to avoid flying into you.
Rob!! Where've you been mate??
The flying community misses you!
Come back. PLEASE!
Rob, YES!

I 2nd Amir's statement. Come back Brohamski!

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Re: Mid air / Pilot Liability / Fairness

Postby Suntan » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:28 am

When I first heard of this I thought the same thing. If I am ever involved in a mid air I would never completely absolve myself of any responsibility regardless of how unexpected the other pilots actions were. Right of way rules give us a framework to operate in a safe and organized fashion. They are not legally binding rules. Or are they? I'm glad others agree with me.


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