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Would you worry about auctioning helicopter rides?

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Would you worry about auctioning helicopter rides?

A question just came up about our charitable organization's liability for an auction item sold at our annual fund raising event.  We have two pilots who fly privately and are willing to donate their time to give helicopter rides.  They have done this before to raise money for others.  They said they will get all of the necessary permits.  Any concerns?

If their helicopter goes down and people get hurt, your nonprofit will almost undoubtedly be sued.  You want to do some due diligence on the pilots to be sure that they are licensed and qualified, have no bad history, and will have insurance for what they will be doing.  You might want to see if they can name your organization on the insurance.

You also want to be sure that your own insurance covers you if you get sued.  You can be pretty sure that the plaintiffs will claim that you endorsed bad guys when you should have known better (for which your due diligence may be a defense), or that you violated some other theory of negligence.  It is definitely worth checking with your broker to be sure that you are covered if something bad happens.  Your carrier may have its own requirements for the pilots. Even if you have to pay more for the insurance, it may be worth it.  Helicopter rides are cool.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Virtually all general liability policies contain a full aircraft exclusion. This would exclude the helicopter rides as well as hot air balloons and the like. Even receiving proof of insurance including the organization as additional insured could be a problem if, for example, the helicopter is a crop duster and has a passenger exclusion. Yes they are cool but the non-profit needs to be very cautious.

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