Tag: Helicopter Maintenance
Ever wonder how many times you signed your name and A&P number after the word “airworthy.” For me, it’s in the thousands. So, how does a mechanic define it?
For some, the definition is rigid: the aircraft must be in like-new condition with a pristine record trail. For others, it’s a gray area of personal decision, defined by an aircraft’s use, age, and regulatory compliance.
Regardless of interpretation, the airworthy condition of an aircraft is the core function of a mechanic. Yet, an official FAA definition of this fundamental word is lacking within our maintenance regulations and guidance material. Let’s try to find one.
Numerous articles, papers, and FAA documents offer various descriptions of airworthy. The common accepted version today requires an aircraft to conform to its type design and to be in a condition for safe operation.
Looking to the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), essential terms and their definitions are usually given at the beginning of a chapter, part, or section, along with an applicability clause. FAR Part 1, Definitions and Abbreviations, applies to “Subchapters A through K of this chapter,” so it seems it would be a logical place to find a definition for airworthy, since our Part 43 falls under Subchapter C.
Unfortunately, the definition is not listed in FAR Part 1, or Part 43, or Part 65 for that matter. Given its significance, you would think airworthy, or airworthiness, would have its own part in the FARs. [Read More...]
Though inspection is part of the FAA definition of maintenance, I kept it separate for three reasons:
One, inspections have their own set of performance rules in Part 43. Two, in the course of aircraft maintenance, other than inspection, the mechanic selects the reference. In the case of an inspection program, the owner/operator selects the reference under authority in Part 91. And three, once an inspection program/reference has been selected, the mechanic is required by regulation to follow that reference.
I’m sure everyone agrees the inspection process is an expensive recurring cost in maintaining an aircraft. And although it would be unwise for an owner/operator not to consult with a mechanic prior to selecting an inspection program, it happens. Even though a mechanic may know a more efficient program to follow, Part 43.15 mandates the mechanic to follow the selected inspection program. [Read More...]
Ever had someone sneak up behind you while twisting a wrench and inquire if you were doing it “by the book”? Ever wonder what book they were referring to?
What follows is my own unconventional interpretation. I’m by no means an expert. However, after years of practicing I think I can get this as mixed up as the best of them.