Are you really good to go if it doesn’t say so?

June 26, 2013

pps

Mike Yodice

  • Director of Legal Service Plans at Yodice Associates
  • Counsels LSP/PPS members on FAA compliance and enforcement
  • Regularly flies a Piper J-3 Cub and a Cherokee 180

The it in the title refers to aircraft maintenance records. FAR 91.403(a) says the owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition. FAR 91.405(b) essentially says that the owner or operator shall ensure that maintenance personnel make appropriate entries in the aircraft maintenance records indicating the aircraft has been approved for return to service following the performance of required maintenance. Then 91.407(a) says no person may operate any aircraft that has undergone maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration unless it has been approved for return to service by a person authorized under 43.7 and the required maintenance record entry has been made.

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This all seems pretty clear, so why then do we keep hearing stories about pilots picking up their aircraft after having maintenance done and not verifying the proper maintenance log entry? I think we owners, pilots, and mechanics all share in the blame. As an airplane owner and pilot I’ve heard it myself when an A&P or IA says “The work is done, you’re good to go and I will make a log entry to stick in the logbook and get you an invoice later.” I rather appreciate the casualness of such an exchange, as it speaks to an established and trusting relationship, but we all bear a regulatory burden prescribed by the referenced FAR’s. I think it’s incumbent on all parties to know the regs and address questions or confusion about compliance. After all, our certificates may depend on it.

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