The Organization of Flying Adjusters is a 60+-year-old organization that is not that well known in the aviation community. I think it’s time we change that. We have a whole alphabet soup in the aviation industry. Some of these organizations are helpful. Others are just out to make some money. But the OFA is one that needs to be considered very closely.

Looking at this organization is worth it for several reasons that can be very profitable for inspectors, insurance adjusters, other insurance professionals, appraisers, and those in the aviation industry. I came to OFA when I combined my experience in aviation publishing with my newfound love of inspection work. I started inspecting as a side hustle, and it grew into another business for me. My journey began with simple gig apps such as Crawford & Company’s WeGoLook and iVueIt. I then moved onto more complicated inspection work through companies such as National Home Inspections, JMI, and Preferred Reports.

One day when I was looking at some information from my marketing colleagues who help with my magazines’ social media profiles, I found an organization called OFA, which caters to inspectors, appraisers, and adjusters in the aviation and marine industries. The professionals in this organization inspect aircraft, but more importantly, some of these insurance adjusters and appraisers use their own aircraft to travel to various inspections sites, Most members of the OFA are All-Lines insurance adjusters and appraisers within their respective States, with the corresponding licensure and certifications. Therefore, each member may also do residential and commercial property insurance adjusting as well as other specialty vehicles, machinery, equipment, and tooling of all types, automotive, and marine.

As a gig entrepreneur, I found this rather appealing; as an aviation publisher and aircraft broker it was right up my alley. It is not every day when you find an organization that speaks to both of your businesses. Before stumbling upon OFA, I did not think that my magazines/aviation experience and my inspection work had anything to do with each other. I could only hope that I would find some pathway to bring them together. OFA was my opportunity to do just that.

After looking into OFA, I came across a familiar name of a previous advertiser in one of my magazines. I called him, and he told me that he would be happy to sponsor me for membership in the OFA. He shared some names with me and told me that I would find some wonderful inspection work through these connections. He also warned me that I needed to be careful because the organization leaders had PhDs and adjuster licenses, and I am a “Looker” with WeGoLook, a mere alternative to DoorDash driving. After a few minutes on the phone, we somehow decided that I would be able to handle it.

Two months later, I was on a plane (yes, a commercial one) to Oklahoma City for the OFA Annual Fall meeting. I was very curious as to what I would find and hoped to meet some people who could give me more inspection work. I arrived at the meeting the next morning and was told to wait outside the meeting room while they voted on my potential membership. Yes, I did make the cut and was invited back into the room a few minutes later.

Over the next couple of days, I met some great people who took interest in my story. Even some of the ones with PhDs took an interest in the WeGoLook app. The seminars were educational and gave me insight into aviation inspections, marine inspections, and the aviation parts industry. I left feeling energized to do more inspections and to work harder in aviation. This could have just been the Millennial American dream… building a network and then a business starting with the gig economy.

Now, here are the people who need to look at OFA in 2024 and the reasons why they should:

Insurance Adjusters: Insurance adjusters are always looking for new jobs and opportunities, and the OFA can hook you up with such opportunities. Perhaps you are an adjuster who has focused on automotive or property and want to expand into the aviation and marine industries. The OFA offers networking opportunities and education to help you delve into new sectors. The OFA can be a real pathway to finding new cases to work on, and new cases equal more money for you. I highly recommend membership in the OFA to insurance adjusters looking to expand into aviation and marine. But they must be willing to take on the learning curve. Remember, even a 10 percent error in Aviation adjusting could be well over a million dollars – this industry is highly technical, and you sure do not want to go it alone and expose a claim to your E&O insurance.

Inspectors: Inspectors often do work for adjusters, and there might be some overlap between the two. But inspecting is a field in its own right and can include taking photographs, writing reports, and taking inventory on many different cases. In addition to photographing properties, vehicles, and scenes for insurance purposes, inspectors often do quality assurance inspections on products, inspections for the real estate industry, and pre-sale inspections. They go into factories and make sure products are ready for distribution and dissemination. If you have done inspections of properties or products, the OFA can help you find opportunities to take photos and expand on your inspection experience. They offer networking opportunities to help you secure more work and take your side hustle to a living wage and then to a very profitable business where you make your own hours.

Those in the Aviation Industry: While some may think that the OFA hangs on the fringes of the aviation industry, it is very much an aviation organization. Many of the adjusters at the event have also had aviation careers, including flight school ownership, airline flying, flight instruction, and parts sales. The OFA can be an impactful and profitable organization for many different types of professionals and entrepreneurs in the aviation space.

-Aircraft Owners: If you own an aircraft, you might want to consider using it to do inspections. Inspection work can open up a new door for monetizing your aircraft. If inspection work is not for you, you can rent your plane to an aviator who is also an inspector adjuster or to a company that hires such adjusters and inspectors. This can be an alternative to leasing the aircraft to a flight school and can be just as if not more profitable.

-Pilots: Pilots can assist adjusters and inspectors with their work by transporting them to various job sites, including remote ones that are not as accessible by car. They can also carry supplies and can get paid to do this. Commercial pilots (those who fly for hire) can find work and networking opportunities through the OFA and should support this industry organization.

-Aircraft Dealers and Brokers: Adjusters and inspectors who fly to their job sites are searching for aircraft to rent and own. Others in the organization may be looking for aircraft to pursue other flying activities for business or leisure. The OFA offers very real opportunities for those looking to sell aircraft and should support this fellow aviation organization.

-Parts Sellers and Distributors: Many members of the OFA are in the spare parts industry. This is because networking with adjusters is a great way to find parts inventory and grow a parts business.

-Aspiring Pilots: If you are learning to fly, you might be wondering what you can and will do with your pilot’s license. Working with insurance adjusters is a great opportunity to find work. You might also be interested in inspecting airplanes at some point in your career. Come check out the OFA and find out!

-YoPros: Business aviation is a promising and lucrative field for young professionals. But anybody involved in airlines, charter operations, or maintenance should understand the insurance side of the business and know the process of insurance adjusting. There is a great deal to be learned through networking with adjusters and aviation insurance professionals. YoPros should consider attending an OFA event, even if they do not pursue long-term membership. Afterall, transportation is 20 percent of the US GDP and Aviation touches all other corresponding industries…. you will rarely run out of work.

-Drone Folks: Drone and inspections go hand in hand. Drones can take high-quality aerial shots that are needed for investigating all kinds of claims. If you enjoy flying drones, adjusting or inspecting might be for you. If you use drones to complete your inspections, an aviation organization such as OFA can support you in your flight operations. Drones and general aviation do not always get along, but here is one corner of the industry where the two come together very nicely.

Those Looking for a New Career: Let’s face it. Work is not what it used to be. Few people stay in jobs for decades, and even fewer companies stick around that long. To cope with these conditions, many are pursuing more autonomy, and that ranges from remote work to freelancing to entrepreneurship. Adjusting and inspecting can work within all of these parameters. Adjusters and inspectors can make their own hours and be almost completely autonomous. This could be a career that meets your needs and provides lucrative pay. Starting with the OFA can help you better understand these opportunities.

Appraisers: Appraisals are important in any market. Appraisers determine the value of aircraft for buyers and sellers. If you are already an appraiser, you might want to consider learning more about aviation to make this high-value assets part of your work. If you would like to get into appraisals, the OFA can help you find jobs. Appraisals and inspections go hand in hand. Remember, it is not just airplanes – its engines, parts, machinery, tooling, equipment – OMG it is HUGE!!!

Marine Professionals: While the OFA tends to focus more on aviation, the marine side is equally important, and the OFA just rewrote its charter to include marine inspections and surveys. Many members of OFA do both aviation and marine inspections, and OFA events offer a great deal of information about marine inspections. Because boats are not regulated by the FAA like airplanes, marine inspections might be easier to get into. In fact, apps such as WeGoLook occasionally offer marine gigs. Remember, this too is highly technical, and you’ll want to increase our education, your exposure, and maybe even mentor someone to really nail this down. Again, we do not want E&O insurance claim exposure due to misevaluation based on inexperience.

Writers/Journalists: I have always been amazed at the parallels between inspections and the process of covering a news story. Both are investigative in nature and include collecting information to put a story together, albeit for different purposes. For those in aviation or marine journalism, inspections can be an effective way to fill and monetize your time. The OFA can help you get started. Networking with such inspectors can also help you locate quality content and photographs.

Gig Workers: In the current economy, many people are looking for ways to supplement their income. For those who have experience with DoorDash, Uber, or Instacart, inspection work can be an opportunity to take those skills to the next level. Much of the customer service aspect of it is the same, and the pay and educational opportunities are better. I recommend trying WeGoLook, ProxyPics, or iVueIt to get started. If you find yourself interested in aviation down the road, OFA stands ready to help you.

Tech and Data Folks: We have all heard that in the age of AI and the metaverse, data is everything. But what is data exactly? Data is information ranging from email addresses to facts about cars and aircraft. For tech entrepreneurs looking to grow their data or for those looking to obtain and sell data, the inspection industry can be a great place to start obtaining information.

A Future Like No Other: In my opinion, those in the OFA have a future like no other. With AI, there are many opportunities to work with aircraft and marine data and to create gig-like jobs for the future generations. We look forward to welcoming more members and growing the inspection industry to change aviation and the world.

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