251. Liability of an owner of aircraft. 1. Except as provided in subdivision three every owner of an aircraft shall be liable and responsible for death occasioned or injuries to person or property sustained, within or above this state, as a result of the use or operation of the aircraft in the business of the owner or otherwise, by any person using or operating the aircraft with the permission, express or implied, of such owner, in any case where the person using or operating the aircraft, or his estate, would be liable for such death or injuries.
2. As used in this section, "owner" means any person (other than a lien holder or, in the cases hereinafter described, a secured party) having the property in or title to an aircraft, and also any lessee or bailee having the exclusive use thereof, under a lease or otherwise, for a period of thirty days or more, and their liability under this section, where both are liable, shall be joint and several. If an aircraft be sold under a contract which reserves a security interest in the aircraft in favor of the vendor, such vendor or his assignee shall not, after delivery of such aircraft, be deemed an owner within the provisions of this section, but the vendee or his assignee, receiving possession thereof, shall be deemed such owner notwithstanding the terms of such contract, until the vendor or his assignee shall retake possession of such aircraft. A secured party in whose favor there is a security interest in an aircraft out of his possession shall not, by reason of such security interest, be deemed an owner within the provisions of this section.
3. Subdivision one of this section shall not apply where the permission to use or operate the aircraft is the permission of the lessor, expressed or implied, in a bona fide lease of the aircraft for a period of thirty days or more, that the aircraft be used or operated by the lessee or by persons using or operating it with the permission of the lessee.
4. All bonds executed by or policies of insurance issued to the owner of an aircraft shall contain a provision for indemnity or security against the liability and responsibility provided in this section; but this provision shall not be construed as requiring that such policy include insurance against any liability of the insured, being an individual, for death of or injuries to his or her spouse or for injury to property of his or her spouse.
5. This section does not relieve an owner of aircraft from liability under any other statute or rule of law or affect the liability of the person using or operating the aircraft.
Last modified: February 3, 2019