What Makes Up the Inspection Program for Turbine Aircraft?
Part 2 of 3
By Joe Hertzler
In the July 2001 issue of AMT, we discussed in detail the difference between an annual inspection and the inspection program required for multi-turbine powered aircraft. In this article, we will dissect the "inspection program recommended by the manufacturer" as required by 14 CFR Part 91.409(f)(3).
14 CFR Part 91.409 (e)
(e) Large airplanes (to which Part 125 is not applicable), turbojet multi-engine airplanes, turbopropeller-powered multi-engine airplanes, and turbine-powered rotorcraft. No person may operate a large airplane, turbojet multi-engine airplane, turbopropeller-powered multi-engine airplane, or turbine-powered rotorcraft unless the replacement times for life-limited parts specified in the aircraft specifications, type data sheets, or other documents approved by the Administrator are complied with and the airplane or turbine-powered rotorcraft, including the airframe, engines, propellers, rotors, appliances, survival equipment, and emergency equipment, is inspected in accordance with an inspection program selected under the provisions of paragraph (f) of this section, except that, the owner or operator of a turbine-powered rotorcraft may elect to use the inspection provisions of § 91.409(a), (b), (c), or (d) in lieu of an inspection option of § 91.409(f).
Simply stated, there are two basic requirements in this regulation for these more complex aircraft (Large and Multi-turbine powered). We must:
• Comply with replacement times for life-limited parts
• Comply with required inspection of the aircraft and all of its components
Hierarchy of inspection / maintenancerequirements
There are several misconceptions about what actually makes up the requirements for life-limited parts and the inspections to be performed. In order to simplify and help clarify the issue, we put together a hierarchy of aircraft inspection/maintenance requirements. In this hierarchy, we also include Airworthiness Directives simply because they are an integral part of the inspection and maintenance program for an aircraft and, although they are not specifically referenced in § 91.409, they are included by regulation through 14 CFR Part 39.
Each level within our hierarchy has its own criticality or level of importance, the first level being the most critical, and the last level being the least critical. The hierarchy is found in the table on page 92 and shows the origins of different types of requirements. In some cases, the same requirement will be contained in two different documents. The reason for the hierarchy is to show which document reference takes precedence over the other.
Now, lets look back again at § 91.409 (e). We know that we are required to replace life-limited parts and where we can find out what that list looks like. We also know that we are required to comply with "inspections recommended by the manufacturer" and where to find those inspection requirements. Reading a little further, we find that the rule does not just refer to the airframe. The rule also references the engines, propellers, rotors, appliances, survival equipment, and emergency equipment.
A common misconception
A common misconception is that the airframe manufacturer is the king of the aircraft’s inspection requirements including all components and equipment. Some might say that we don’t really have to look into the engine, propeller, rotor, appliance, survival equipment, and emergency equipment manufacturers inspection requirements when performing inspections on the aircraft.
Well, don’t fall into that trap. If you look closely into the airframe manufacturer’s inspection program, you will usually find a reference to other manufacturers’ inspection programs. Even if you don’t, you need to refer to those inspection and maintenance requirements as a part of the complete maintenance program for the aircraft.
This has been such a misunderstanding, even within the ranks of the FAA safety inspectors, that FAA headquarters in Washington issued very specific guidance information for clarification.
The things that make the nine or less operation different than Part 91 operations and those things that are different about other Part 135 operations.
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