Although pilots and aircraft owners rely on mechanics to maintain and inspect their aircraft, the owner is ultimately responsible for airworthiness, according to FAA officials.
“Pilots and owners should be proactive in their approach to maintenance, understand airworthiness responsibilities, and know the value of proper maintenance documentation and effective communication with their mechanics and repair shops,” FAA officials note in a recent video, “Understanding Owner/Mechanic Roles and Responsibilities.”
If you want to dig deeper into the topic, a new post on the FAA Safety Team’s blog goes into detail about what you should expect from your mechanic, including how the shop should look, what the mechanic must do and what they must write, and much more. Check it out here.
A few highlights from the post:
It is the owner/operator’s responsibility to keep up with the AD status on their aircraft. AD compliance must be documented to include the AD number and revision date, if applicable, the method of compliance, and compliance date. Recurring ADs are documented the same, plus the time and/or date when the next action is required.
Read block 6 of an airworthiness certificate. It has some excellent information that all aircraft owners and operators should know: … this airworthiness certificate is effective as long as the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations are performed in accordance with the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations ….
Know the differences between discrepancies and unairworthy items. If your mechanic discovers a discrepancy and you choose not to repair it, then your mechanic should sign it off on the log book as unairworthy, and they must give you a list of discrepancies. Then you can take it to another mechanic for further repairs. Remember: if you fly your aircraft to another mechanic or shop, you must obtain a Special Flight Permit, or “ferry permit,” before flight.
Not all lubricants and sealers are the same. Ask your mechanic if they have the proper materials to lubricate your aircraft type.
Professional mechanics do not cut corners. They will stand up to owners and tell them what repairs are needed to be airworthy. They will have all the current publications, approved data, and approved parts. They will be trained appropriately, have a positive safety culture, and make more than minimum logbook entries.