Implications of Renting a Privately Owned Plane
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Hi,

I'm considering the possibility of renting a friends privately owned plane for the purposes of flight training.  Is this possible without the complexity of creating a partnership, co-ownership or other legal entity and if so, how would insurance best be handled?  If this could be handled with a custom legal agreement between two private parties, would AOPA PPS be able to assist?

Thank You!
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Thanks for the feedback!  This gives me a framework to start with and items to consider.
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Yes, it's possible, just like renting from a flight school.  Insurance would definitely be an issue because the standard "Personal/Business Use" policy most owners have does NOT cover renting the plane out to others.  The owner can let others fly it, and the coverage remains in force, as long as the other pilot meets the "open pilot waiver" clause requirements.  However, when a charge for the use is made, then the owner needs "Limited Commercial" coverage, and that costs significantly more than "Personal/Business".  BTW, "Business" in this context means flying the plane on the owner's non-aviation business activities, such as making a business trip for your regular job, NOT using the plane in an aviation business such as flight training or rental.  If you go this route, the owner will probably want you to pay the extra insurance premium.

However, just doing that will only provide coverage for the owner, not you.  IOW, if you wreck the plane, the insurer will pay the owner for the damage and defend/pay for any liability claims by third parties against the owner.  However, the insurer may then subrogate against you to recover whatever they paid to the owner and third parties.  In addition, the owner's insurer would not provide a defense for you from third party liability suits.  To protect yourself, you would need your own non-owned ("renter's") insurance policy, available from a wide range of aircraft providers, including both hull (to cover the damage to the plane) and liability (to cover any claims against you by third parties).

And yes, you would definitely want a solid, customized rental contract between you and the owner, which your AOPA PPS Legal Services Plan can help prepare.  Beware of "boilerplate" contracts taken from others on the internet.  The laws covering these issues vary from state to state, and the details of the arrangement vary from individual to individual.  Consider doing this yourself to be about the same as do-it-yourself brain surgery -- at a knowledgeable pro who knows both aviation law and the contract laws of your state.

For a lot more on these insurance and contract issues (as well as things like dealing with FAA legal issues and a host of other pilot-centered legal concerns), including an enumeration of the issues such a contract should address, read aviation attorney/pilot J. Scott Hamilton's "Practical Aviation Law," now in its 7th edition, available in both print and e-book versions, and written for pilots, not lawyers.
Practical Aviation & Aerospace Law - 7th Edition (eBook EB) (asa2fly.com)

And no, I'm not a lawyer, so this is NOT legal advice, just 50 years of pilot/aircraft owner/renter experience talking.