Light Aircraft Maintenance


For Aircraft maintenance FAR 91.409 establishes minimum requirements pertaining to annual and 100-hour inspections. Not only does the FAA require these inspections, but they stipulate in FAR 91.405 that the owner/operator must maintain the airworthiness of the aircraft and engine during the time between the required inspections by having any airworthiness defects corrected and by ensuring that maintenance personnel make the proper entries in aircraft records approving the return to service. Although maintenance requirements will vary for different types of aircraft, the FAA states that experience shows most aircraft will need some type of preventive maintenance after every 25 hours of flying time and minor maintenance at least every 100 hours.

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Annual Inspection

This inspection must be performed within the preceding 12 calendar months, by either a certified A&P mechanic holding an inspection authorization, an appropriately rated certified repair station or the manufacturer of the aircraft.

100-Hour Inspection

An aircraft used to carry passengers for hire, or for flight instruction for hire, must be inspected within each 100 hours of time in service by either a certified A&P mechanic, an appropriately rated certificated repair station or the manufacturer. The annual inspection is acceptable as a 100-hour inspection, but the reverse is not true.

Progressive Maintenance

This is a continuous maintenance program whereby the required FAA and manufacturer inspections are accomplished during the most convenient time, while keeping the aircraft in a state of continuous airworthiness.

Several General Aviation airframe manufacturers have established sound Progressive Maintenance programs with FAA approval. Owners and operators are reminded that certain FAA requirements must be met before a Progressive Maintenance program can be used. These requirements are contained in the Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 43, “Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding and Alteration,” and Part 91.409, “General Operating and Flight Rules.”

The Progressive Maintenance program has had more appeal where planes for hire are involved (i.e., commuter, air taxi, flight instruction), rather than those privately owned.

Aircraft Flight Test After Repair or Alteration

The FAA reminds us that whenever a repair or alteration has been made to your aircraft or engine, the person authorized to return the aircraft to service should decide if the flight characteristics have changed or if operation in flight has been substantially affected. If the decision is affirmative, the aircraft must be flight tested before it may be used to carry passengers in accordance with FAR 91.407. The test pilot must make an operational check of the maintenance performed and log the flight and findings in the aircraft records.

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