thinking of making a change. Many
modifications are available for your aircraft, but one of the most expensive
(and some claim “most valuable”) is a new larger engine!
Before you run
out and borrow the money for that fantastic conversion, check with your
aviation insurance agent and see what will happen to your insurance rates. Typically, they will probably say “I don’t
know!” Engine conversions have not
always been a regular thing. Conversions
were always popular with homebuilders, but not with certified aircraft. Today, more and more people are adding a
different sized engine to their aircraft, hoping to increase the performance.
The first and
most important question to consider is “is there an STC or will my aircraft be
listed as an experimental. If you are
putting an engine in your aircraft that has not been certified or has not went
through the FAA supplemental type certification (STC) process you’re asking for
an increase in premiums, sometimes substantial.
In my experience, the premiums have increased anywhere from 10 to 25
Examples? There have been a number of companies that
have put automotive engines into certified aircraft. V-8 Chevy engines in a Skymaster, Subaru
engines in 150’s and even the Camair engine in a Piper Arrow. None of these conversions used certified
aircraft engines and had their airworthiness certificates modified. They were reclassified in the experimental
In other cases
where the aircraft was using certified aircraft engine and the aircraft was
listed in the experimental category, the rate again increased between 10 - 25%.
But what happens
if you decide to put a new, bigger engine in your aircraft by way of the STC
program? Numerous companies have engine
conversions available that provide increased horsepower without making the
aircraft an experimental. I contacted a
few underwriters, in those cases, most said that the premiums would probably
not change significantly if at all. The
key here is “as long as it was an FAA approved STC conversion”.
If there were
changes, what would they change? The
open pilot warranty might be more restrictive. The deductibles might be
higher. And definitely the value would
be different! But other than that...not
much would change. Of course all of this
hinges on the insurance company and underwriter.
What will you
need to do, insurance wise, if you make the conversion? Whether you convert to a bigger engine or
just install a new engine, you need to re-evaluate the aircraft value on your
policy. Most companies will increase the
value of your aircraft IF they can prove the higher value based on the aircraft
So what does this
all mean? Simply, if you decide to
change the engine in your aircraft, whether it is the same or different
horsepower, the insurance rates should not change if the conversion is done
using an FAA approved STC. The value of
the aircraft will change, which in turn will increase the premium you pay. Besides that, go for it! The performance should be worth it.
Labels: aircraft maintenance, aircraft ownership, Aviation, aviation insurance, aviation market, aviation theme, EAA, experimental aircraft, FAA, STC