Oh deer...

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted DuPuis, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    Last night Laurie hit a deer when driving back to the house from dropping the girls off at dance class. She was driving the 2009 Mercedes GL550. She is fine other than being a bit shaken by it.

    I called my insurance company this morning. We've been with this company since moving to Kansas so it's been a few years, although this will be the first claim. We'll see how this goes.

    The damage doesn't look bad at first glance, however there are a lot of plastic bits that are damaged, I see one metal support that's pushed back a bit, the fender/hood alignment is off, things like that. Given that this is a Mercedes my thoughts on what the vehicle is worth it won't surprise me if they want to total the thing, or give me the option to repair or total. This is not something I've dealt with before. I've had to make insurance claims before, but it's only been for things that were either clearly repair or some sort of comprehensive where we get cut a check of some sort.

    I'm a bit conflicted on whether I'd want to total it, or how to negotiate if it comes up. This isn't a new car and not super low miles (has around 130k on it). It has some issues that I need to address on it. Laurie really likes driving it and while it's had its issues, we've had it for about 2.5 years and it's been reliable overall.

    Any tips or thoughts from people who've been down this road before? I'd rather be prepared before the insurance rep comes to me with the decision.
     
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  2. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was in a similar spot about 5-6 years ago. There's always room for negotiation. I think the problem with keeping the car and having a salvage title will come with trying to put any kind of insurance other than liability on it. Maybe re-selling will be a problem, too. In our case, I was surprised it wasn't totaled. They will generally go to 80% (?) of the value before they total it, so that's something to think about - ours came to just under that.
     
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  3. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    If they total it negotiate what they offer with the company as mentioned and then buy it back from them and fix it. Depending on the state the total can be based on a percentage of the value of the whole value.

    ETA: edited to add it looks like Kansas has a total loss threshold of 75%
     
  4. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    In recent years, insurance companies are refusing to settle for a lower amount in exchange for returning the car to you if they’re considered totaled. Probably due to financial interests or legal liability (financial in the end anyway). YMMV.
     
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  5. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    Value of your car is appx. 9-11k if sold private or 6-8k on trade in if it is considered to be in good condition. I was just involved in an accident where my 2018 F-150 was hit @ 10mph and the bill was over $5k. With the cost of parts for MB's + installation and perhaps some damage that is unseen, it is likely a write-off. Would you want to put thousands into a car that the dealer is only willing to give you 6k? Again, it all depends on the condition of your car.
     
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  6. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Always room for negotiation.... If the car is safe to drive on the road, you can take it to a few other repair shops and ask them to compute an estimate to repair. Keep that as some documentation.

    Then when the adjuster comes to you with his information, make sure it is detailed enough so you can compare apples to apples what you discovered.

    Most certainly make sure he is properly explaining how he got to his numbers. Adjusters do play "the customer is dumb" game in the often successful attempt at low balling. That unfortunately happens because the customers are dumb and don't know they can ask questions or challenge what this "authority" is saying.

    Keep in mind that the adjuster is trying to settle for the outcome that is least cost to the insurance carrier. If you don't like his numbers, you do have the right to challenge.

    One common outcome is that they offer you compensation to possibly repair the car and allow you to keep the car. The check is written to you, not the repair shop. Should this be a choice, make sure you find out what (if anything) they do to the title of your car. During my years at the salvage yard, I came across many who weren't aware this selection allowed the insurance company to "brand" their title (like branding a cow) so their ride is now a salvage title vehicle. In the long run, this doesn't mean much while you own the car. But when you go to sell it later, the stigma about salvage titled cars is real and will create challenges and barriers to sell.


    If the outcome you select is to accept the total loss number and surrender the vehicle to the insurance company, please PLEASE go through it with finer than fine tooth combs to look for anything that could be used to complicate or steal your identity. I have found all sorts of ID cards, health care records, invoices, and more that, if I was a dishonest black hat guy, would allow me to steal identities. And this was after the vehicle had been sitting at the auction site for a while. And at the auction site, who knows how many people might have looking closely at the car/truck including being inside it.


    Now the good news of this situation..... Go tell Laurie you're now thinking about purchasing a Model X
     
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  7. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    My daughter backed into a tree and dented her Mazda 3 wagon. The car was a 2006 and had in excess of 180K miles on it but was otherwise in decent shape. This transpired a couple of years ago. We have USAA insurance and live in Florida. Your situation will almost certainly be different in Kansa. The car was drivable and even the hatch was functional. USAA totaled the car before we had any say. Then told my daughter she could keep the money and the car (with a salvage title-in the end it didn't matter). Turns out, in Florida, you MUST repair the car and present it to the DMV for inspection before you can get a valid title back. We found a good body shop who cut her a deal and she wound up only spending a little more than USAA paid to repair the car. But it was real hassle and a lot of surprises before she was done.

    I have been very happy with USAA over the years and we are still insured with them, however we did learn they have a strong desire to total out marginal cars. And the agent she dealt with either did not know or didi not say that she had to have the car repaired.
     
  8. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    We had a car rear ended a couple years ago with 150k on the odometer, but otherwise in decent condition. The insurance company wanted to total it, but the shop we went to discussed with the insurance and came to an agreement on a cost to repair the car.

    It hasn’t driven as well since the accident, but we’ve had a few good years with it since. We’re now approaching 190k and hoping to make it well over 200.

    I guess the answer depends on how averse you are to spending money on a new or used car.
     
  9. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Saw her post elsewhere. Glad she’s ok.

    Frigging prairie rats...

    Take money, buy another faster one. LOL.
     
  10. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Ditto.
     
  11. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    The GL550 is second from the top in that regard, with the top being the GL63 (at least for that year).

    Problem is that while the GL450s are common, they mostly come with the "Old White Woman" trim package as my wife calls it, which is an automatic no. This one is black on black, the 550 looks a lot sharper than the 450. Oh, and the nearest one I saw for sale in comparable condition was about 450 miles away. They're not easy to find. The GL63 even harder. We really lucked out buying this one that it was right at a local dealership.

    As to @AggieMike88 's suggestion of a Tesla:

    No.
     
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  12. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Ted, tell her to use a .30-06 next time. Less expensive and doesn't tear up as much meat.
     
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  13. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    Talked to the person handling the claim earlier, who then said the appraiser will be contacting me to come look at the car. He said I could figure out where I wanted to take it for repairs and that the appraiser would end up discussing whether it would get totaled or not. Then they will send a check based on the initial appraisal, anything beyond that they'll pay directly to the shop.

    So it looks like my best negotiation time would be with the appraiser initially.
     
  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have a Subaru with a salvage title and have full coverage on it here in New Mexico.
     
  15. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I looked into it when we had a potential like this - I think the salvage title wouldn't let us put certain coverages on it. Maybe different policies, state regulations, and coverages are affected differently.
     
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  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Hey! Quit making fun of the new Subaru! LOL.

    It’s soooooo white. Both in real paint color and other ways... LOL.

    I noticed it has fake wood paneling inside. Subtle but it’s there. Hahahaha.

    Surprised it didn’t come with a new white pair of New Balance tennis shoes. LOL.
     
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  17. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    If you would have purchased through Costco Auto Program, you probably would have gotten those shoes! :)
     
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  18. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    Well so far, I'll say I'm impressed with the speed that the insurance company has handled things. Called them in the morning to report the claim. They said 1-2 days for the claim manager, he called me within 5 hours. Then he said 1-2 days for the appraiser, he called me in 3 hours. Came and looked at the car this morning.

    End result is that on a vehicle this old (2009), Kansas allows up to 100% of value before considering it a total loss. His estimate is around 60% of total value (although I think their value is a little on the low side, but not by much). I'm having them cut me a check, and then I can either:

    1) Keep the check, fix the car myself
    2) Take the car to a body shop, and then anything over his estimate the insurance then pays direct to the shop (I have to pay the value of the check)
    3) Keep the check, sell the car as-is, buy something different

    I definitely don't want to do 1. I have enough other stuff to do, and body work is something that I do not enjoy at all. So that's ruled out.

    I'm thinking about whether I want to do 2 or 3. Reality is we were not planning on selling this car anytime soon. It's still been reliable, does the job it needs to well, and my wife likes it. That said, it's about to turn over 130k miles, there's one exterior door handle I have to fix, and it's got a Check Engine Light for something, not sure what, but it's sometimes hard to start and won't idle great. So I've got some money I have to spend on it just to keep it on the road like I should.

    I think if I sell it as is, take the check, and then throw in some more money, I can replace this car with something else that'd be a bit newer and a lower miles, closer to or under 100k. Of course not saying something we'd buy would be trouble-free, especially given that we like these used upper luxury vehicles.
     
  19. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    without knowing all the specific numbers, I think this is a chance to put a few of your own bucks in and get something a little better. If the car was flawless before the wreck, maybe have them fix it.

    One other tactic would be if you get a true estimate to fix it that is at the value of the car, maybe they would total it? that would get you out of selling a broken vehicle, which is a major pain. Of course don't do anything dishonest, but I'd get a couple of body shop estimates immediately and if the numbers for a proper repair start getting close to the value of the thing, talk to the appraiser about just settling with you for a check in exchange for them taking the car, as is.
     
  20. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've used 2 different body shops in town, both times we were referred there by our insurance company. Both did good work, and both knew all the tricks on how to deal with insurance companies. I *think* I specified OEM parts on one - a rear bumper cover - and they worked it all out. It's been a long time now, so I don't know if they are still on the preferred list.
     
  21. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    In the past, I've always taken the $$ and did the work myself, or had a friend with a body shop do the heinous parts. I came out ahead on all counts. Now, at my age, I don't want to ever do any more bodywork, so I'd have a body shop fix it if I really wanted to keep it, or sell it as-is to someone who wants to add value to it.
     
  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    That's part of what I'm looking at. Right now the GL550 is the highest mileage, most "risky" vehicle we own.

    Frankly, the vehicles that meet the needs, wants, and price range are few. We need 3 rows (3 kids really screws that up), my wife hates minivans, and that really a "large" (mid-sized to me) SUV, i.e. not a Suburban or a Suburbillac (Escalade Suburban). Not a real fan of the Tahoe or Expedition. We have gotten an Escalade a few times (yes I realize that's just a Tahoe with a trim package) and liked that well enough, but they have absurdly high resale values.

    That's one thing I don't know about. I could drag the thing around to different body shops and try to get them to get estimates. Those could potentially be higher or lower than the value that this guy came up with. That also takes a lot of my time.

    One option I'm considering is putting it on CraigsList/Facebook for a few days and if it doesn't sell, then opt to have it fixed. If it does, then go buy the replacement.

    If I get something else for her, a Land Rover LR4 has my attention. An upgrade in terms of interior and exterior styling. Land Rover does a nicer job with interiors especially. Similar performance/mileage/etc. Still a 7 seater. Main downgrade is that the third row on the Land Rover looks pretty chintzy compared to the Mercedes. We will have people in the third row for the foreseeable future.

    There's one for sale locally and I might go check that out to help get an idea of what I think makes the most sense.
     
  23. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    If you choose this... be ready for some "interesting times" dealing with the scammers who use car sale ads as starting points. Nate (@denverpilot) has been dealing with them as he sells his Subaru
     
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  24. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I've sold many, many vehicles. I know the game and the scammers.
     
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  25. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    that's probably not a bad idea (half heatedly attempting to sell it as is). you might luck into someone instantly. I'd also go look at the one for sale to really assess their price/condition/options vs yours and get a little closer test of reality.

    I love the looks of land rovers but have heard they are MX nightmares.
     
  26. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I've found a local LR4 that I might go check out tomorrow, just to see what I think, and specifically what I think my wife would think. That will probably make the decision for me.

    As goes the lore regarding all British cars. I'll agree they're higher maintenance, but far better than BMWs are in my experience.
     
  27. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Really? Otherwise, I'd consider an owner maintained Range Rover. However, looking around, I don't consider 5K plus per year in unexpected mx to be minimal.

    Granted, I haven't studied it
     
  28. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    I haven’t really. Since I haven’t attempted to sell the old Subaru yet... :)

    But I do know the games of the online car buying scammers also. Some are very sneaky with fake cashiers checks and such.

    For a vehicle as old as mine, bring cash... :)

    Thinking through it, every Craigslist car deal I’ve done was cash, either direction. The most nerve wracking was the dude with the thick Russian accent who said he needed to meet late (10 pm) at Walmart (my choice).

    Then three huge guys show up in a pickup. I was on high alert to be mugged/robbed of the keys/whatever.

    Turns out his teenagers came with him after a long work day for all of them and the 16 year old wanted his first “American truck”.

    Dad handed me the cash after they all went over the old Suburban in the light of a lamp post, and kept saying “We love Chevy trucks”.

    Was one of the more fun car selling experiences I’ve had, really. The kid clearly loved the thing. Hope he didn’t mind 8 MPG!!! LOL.
     
  29. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I've seen it done a couple of different ways. Sometimes the adjuster comes out, looks at it, and cuts a check. Other times they will just give you a list of approved body shops in your area that you can take it to and they'll pay whatever the shop charges to take care of it. Third thing I've not had to do myself is sometimes they want you to get estimates on your own and will base their payout on that.
     
  30. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I've thought about this some more and decided the thing to do for now is to let the body shop fix the car. With the check the insurance is cutting, if I were to sell it as-is I don't think I'd end up coming out much ahead financially, and then it'll be harder to find the right buyer for it this way (especially given that it's in "messy kid" trim currently and people can't test drive it).

    While I have to spend the money to fix the door handle and the check engine light by keeping it, if we bought something new I'd have to pay sales tax on it, and trading this car in as-is I doubt they'd give me more than a grand or two of value, so there's nothing to be saved there. So financially, I think I come out neutral at worst if not a bit better. The MU-2 goes in for a quadruple inspection at the end of this month and while that's a Cloud Nine expense, Cloud Nine isn't going to have the money in the bank account to cover the full cost, so I'll have to write a check to cover the difference.

    However in this exercise, the LR4 is a really appealing vehicle, and I think might be a good option for the replacement when it comes time to get rid of the GL550. I do think we can get some more life out of this before the reliability goes downhill too much (at least another year or two), but it also gives me something to look for locally to see if the "right deal" comes along like what happened with the XKR. So it's still a useful exercise.
     
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  31. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    I live in deer central. Hit 5 deer in 4 years. It is unavoidable if you travel a lot in these parts. Animal collisions do not count against your future insurance rates(at least not in NY), so there is no reason to not fix everything up like new. My insurance co. works with my preferred shop so all is easy. They make the final estimate, and fix it up as required minus deductible.
     
  32. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    May want to invest in grill guard/roo bars for the GL?
     
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  33. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    LOL. Custom ARB bar on the car! Yassssss! LOL.
     
  34. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I'd pointed out to Laurie that a deuce-and-a-half would not only be a suitable mom mobile with room for all the groceries, but that it would handle any impact with a deer similarly to running over a Prius. That is to say, a speed bump. But as much as she's not a girly girl and didn't respond negatively, even I know that'd be too much for her.

    Reality is in 30 years of driving for her this is the first time that she's actually hit a deer or any other animal. She almost hit a cow once in high school (that was a common thing in rural Nebraska). I've come close enough to hitting a deer a couple times (including on a motorcycle - that would've ended badly) to see their heads up close. One a deer stumbled into the side of my Town Car, but that was no damage.

    So where I'm going with that is that I don't see the point in investing in something like that. Yeah, if one hit my Ram I would go ahead and buy a Ranch Hand front bumper or the like, but that's because I kinda want one anyway and it's a truck. On the GL550 it would look very wrong and make the thing impossible to sell.

    I called the body shop this morning and am on the list. I told them it would probably be Monday before I got the thing to them because my trailer got stuck in the mud, so I have to fire up one of the tractors (and maybe the bulldozer) to get the thing unstuck. Not happening tonight.
     
  35. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    LOL. I wasn’t serious about the bar on the car.

    Only Subaru owners can get away with that and only look half retarded. LOL.

    “It’s a rally car!”

    Sure kid. Sure it is. Hahaha.
     
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  36. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I got a lot of people saying I should add a deer guard. It's funny how that works.

    Drive for hundreds of thousands of miles, don't hit a deer with any of the 50-100 vehicles owned.

    Hit one deer.

    "You should buy a grill guard!"

    No, we should continue to try to not hit deer like has been happening other than on Monday.
     
  37. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    It’s PoA. You also got told you were gonna die in your MU-2. Lol lol lol.
     
  38. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I got told I was going to die in my Aztec, too. Seeing as the Aztec will never fly again, I think I've proven those people wrong. :rofl:

    Actually, even Bruce was initially not supportive of the Aztec. But at the time I was a 200 hour young kid pilot buying a de-iced twin with radar coming up from the Mooney I'd been flying, and he didn't know me. Can't blame him there.

    Funny thing on the MU-2 - for Christmas Laurie gave me an ad from the 70s that Mitsubishi put out. The ad touted all of the features that make it faster and more efficient than the King Air. Those features are also all of the same things that cause it to not fly like a normal airplane and resulted in the high crash rate and then the SFAR to fix it (basically - don't fly it like a normal airplane, because it's not). So, that ad didn't age well.
     
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  39. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    DenverPilot
    Heh. Bruce is a numbers guy. All low timers either have to beat the numbers or perish... eventually becoming high timers. It’s one of the more inevitable things in aviation.

    Time in the seat, you see things. Things nobody thought to teach you or you didn’t have time to ponder much.

    I still remember the time I figured out I could hold an altitude on an XC buy leaning forward and backward in my seat. LOL.

    Of course we all leave training knowing about W&B but it’s different than moving the altimeter 20’ up and down by nodding your head on an ultra calm winter day. Hahaha.
     
  40. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    Gives a new meaning to nodding off!

    -Skip
     
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