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Wed, Apr 12, 2006

ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (04.12.06): Maintenance Records

Aero-Tips!

A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of "there are no old, bold pilots.") It's part of what makes aviation so exciting for all of us... just when you think you've seen it all, along comes a scenario you've never imagined.

Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner, master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us -- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators, and as representatives of the flying community. Some of them, you may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we might never have considered before, or something that didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for the practical test.

It is our unabashed goal that "Aero-Tips" will help our readers become better, safer pilots -- as well as introducing our ground-bound readers to the concepts and principles that keep those strange aluminum-and-composite contraptions in the air... and allow them to soar magnificently through it.

Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you through the Aero-News Network. Suggestions for future Aero-Tips are always welcome, as are additions or discussion of each day's tips. Remember... when it comes to being better pilots, we're all in this together.

Aero-Tips 04.12.06

FAR 91.417 says in the US it’s the responsibility of the airplane owner or operator to maintain aircraft maintenance records. FAR 43.9 and 43.11, however, state an authorized mechanic must make the required logbook entries. How do these statements jibe?

Owner/Operator

Aircraft owners or operators (example: companies flying leased airplanes; flight schools managing airplanes owned by others or employing airplanes under a leaseback; individuals flying airplanes held in corporate names) have the most direct, day-to-day control over their maintenance state. Further, pilots flying these airplanes are required to be able to determine the airplane is airworthy (FAR 91.7), so it’s reasonable that the owner/operator, not mechanics, have possession of the maintenance records.

Maintainers

With exception of owner-approved maintenance items, airplane owner/operators can’t perform the maintenance or repairs that are noted in the logs.

(Note: persons without mechanic certification can perform work if all work is directly supervised by a certificated mechanic, and that mechanic must still make log entries).

So it’s entirely appropriate that owner/operators should maintain aircraft logbooks, but mechanics must make most logbook entries.

What about renters?

If you rent an airplane you still hold pilot-in-command responsibility to ensure the airplane is airworthy. This entitles (nay, requires) renters to have access to aircraft logbooks... another reason for them to be available through the owner/operator.

Aero-tip of the day: Recognize that airworthiness is a team effort between owner/operators, mechanics, and pilots.

FMI: Aero-Tips

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