Reply To: Winch Update

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John DeRosaJohn DeRosa

Please excuse a few typos in the previous email.  Corrected below.


Winch Update January 24, 2021


Sky Soaring Members,


Please take the time to read this email in its entirety.


Below are some updates from your Sky Soaring Board on the topic of winch towing here at Sky Soaring.


This last week I spoke with the owner of Costello Insurance Associates, who handles the SSA group insurance policy for nearly all glider organizations in the US including for Sky Soaring.  Lately Pat Costello (owner) has sent two messages to the Board on his concerns about our insurability.  When I spoke with Pat we talked about the status of our safety committee’s report on initiatives, past, present, and future, to enhance our insurability.  During this conversation the topic of winching came up and Pat gave me his perspective on how winching is doing across the nation.


Pat mentioned that about five years ago he worked to convince the insurance underwriters to cover winch towing liability as part of the SSA group policy at a premium rate which is considered to be in the “low risk” category by the underwriters.  Pat told me that, while there have been some winching related claims, thus far winch use and premiums continues to be considered “low risk” by the underwriters.  For reference the winch adds $413 to our total liability insurance costs of $1,561 (26%).


The Sky Soaring Board has weighed the comments of our membership who have voiced their pros, cons, and concerns of winch usage at Sky Soaring.  The Board has also taken into consideration Pat Costello’s views of the risk associated with winch towing.  The bottom line is that the Board feels that winch operations for the 2021 season can continue and can be safely operated.


The Board’s safety initiatives are ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to our continued safe operations and insurability – and without insurance we simply cannot continue to operate.  Having the safest possible operations is the primary driver towards this insurability goal and the policies and procedures that govern our operation must be followed by every member.  So, on all fronts, for both winch and aero towing, there will be an increased safety drive by the Flight Committee and with the Board in general.


Over the course of the next 60 days – leading up to our mandatory membership Spring Safety Meeting on March 20th – the board will do several things: work to increase every member’s awareness of the policies and procedures that we all must follow – survey the membership about our operations – and help everyone commit to the enhanced safety culture of our club.


Thank you,

John DeRosa


Sky Soaring Glider Club