What does this post have to offer?
There’s more to aircraft maintenance, and we’ll be covering some of it in this post:
Annual aircraft inspection
We will discuss the annual inspection of an aircraft. We will also review some instances of ‘out of phase’ tasks.
Cost-effective aircraft maintenance
We will cover ways for aircraft owners to save money on their aircraft maintenance.
Choosing an AME/AMO OR DIY Aircraft Repair
Lastly, we plan to cover the topic of choosing an AME/AMO vs. DIY aircraft repair.
Who is this post meant for?
If you’re an aircraft enthusiast or an inexperienced owner of an amateur aircraft who wishes to learn more about aircraft maintenance and repair work, this post is for you.
Why is maintenance necessary?
Aircraft maintenance is the owner’s responsibility. It is necessary for making an aircraft airworthy. In order to become airworthy, an aircraft must not be using any missing, illegal or defective parts. If these conditions are met, the aircraft is deemed to be safe for flight and conforming to its certified type design.
If the necessary maintenance hasn’t been carried out, the owner may not permit the aircraft to be flown. The pilot is also prohibited from flying the aircraft until the maintenance is performed.
Certain types of annual inspection are mandatory while others are optional. The aim of the annual inspection is to repair unairworthy items before flight.
In the case of amateur aircraft, you do not need to get the inspection through an AME. The annual maintenance schedule must conform with the Aircraft Equipment and Maintenance Standards.
If you’re not sure of the annual inspections to perform, you can consult the service manual provided by the manufacturer of the aircraft.
Optional maintenance includes oil change, oil analysis, oil filter element inspection, spark plugs replacement, anti-rust treatment. Some of these tasks are DIY.
You may also need to carry out additional inspections like cylinder borescope.
Out of Phase Tasks
Maintenance tasks that are not part of the aircraft maintenance schedule but are requirements for particular aircraft equipment.
Out of phase tasks include compass calibration, tachometer accuracy, propeller inspection and ELT test and battery replacement.
As the owner of the aircraft, it is your responsibility to look for ways to reduce your maintenance costs. Keep your aircraft maintenance costs low using these cost-effective maintenance tips.
Generally, don’t rely too much on the AME. Give them proper guidance on what to do and how to do it.
There is a lot of aircraft repair and maintenance that can be performed directly by the owner. Minor tasks like oil analysis or filter replacement should be learned by the owner. There’s no point in paying a mechanic for these basic tasks.
Some aircraft owners give their mechanics the full responsibility of their aircraft maintenance. We’ve seen mechanics take over the complete possession of aircraft maintenance logs where the owner is totally unaware of what’s going on with their aircraft. The mechanic may misplace the logbooks. Should a dispute arise, the owner will be held responsible.
This is not a safe practice. It becomes difficult for the owner to supervise the maintenance of their aircraft.
It also helps to instruct the AME to quote the general maintenance, discretionary repairs and repairs to airworthiness items prior to starting work.
Not all tasks need to be performed at every annual. Consult with the AME on the maintenance schedule you should follow.
Keep a spreadsheet to note all the maintenance tasks. Record the date and airtime of maintenance tasks and parts replacements. Also, know when the out of phase tasks are due.
You should be present for your aircraft’s annual. See why a part needs to be repaired or replaced. Find out why it is so expensive to repair. Can any of the maintenance tasks be deferred?
There are some DIY aircraft maintenance tasks for helping you keep your aircraft maintenance costs low. You should be able to update your technical records. It also helps to learn to remove and install your cowling, interior and inspection panels. Likewise, cleaning and changing the spark plugs can also be performed by the owner.
Choosing an AMO/AME
You should consider several factors when choosing an AMO/AME. You should look for an AME who is experienced in your aircraft type. They should have a clear understanding of the parts that need to be repaired. They should also walk you through your options.
Look for an AME/AMO who is actively communicating with you and answering your queries. They must also have the necessary documentation and approval from Transport Canada for carrying out the necessary repairs.
For unusual repairs that do not fall into their area of expertise, they should suggest the specialist.
Acorn Welding is a Transport Canada approved aircraft maintenance organisation for several aircraft components. Get in touch with Acorn Welding for specialized maintenance and repair related to tubular structures, aircraft components, welding processes, liquid penetrant inspection and magnetic particle inspection. Contact Acorn Welding today.