Moving from a Baron to a King Air
What’s the big deal?
By Joe Hertzler
The inspection process is what keeps our aircraft safe and efficient. The rules are very specific. In order to continue operation of an aircraft, inspections must be performed periodically and the aircraft must meet the criteria of the inspection(s) without defect. If an inspection reveals no discrepancies, a logbook statement is made indicating the aircraft is "airworthy." Conversely, when the aircraft has NOT successfully passed the inspection and discrepancies were identified that need to be corrected, the statement entered into the logbook is one of an "unairworthy" nature, (See 14 CFR Part 43.11). There are only two choices following an inspection — airworthy or not.
How the process works
An inspection is conducted, all findings or discrepancies are written down, all discrepancies are corrected, the maintenance performed to correct the discrepancies is properly recorded in the logbooks, and the inspection is then signed off in the logbooks as airworthy. In the case where not all of the discrepancies are corrected (sometimes a decision of the aircraft owner), the inspection is signed off as "unairworthy" and a list of uncorrected discrepancies is provided to the owner [See CFR Part 43.11 (b)].
Moving from piston to turbine
Many times, aircraft owners suffer quite a shock when they make the move from a piston twin to a twin turbine aircraft. Although it is a natural progression, the impact of such a move is almost always underestimated when it comes to the inspection requirements for the aircraft.
This is the first of a three-part series dedicated to aircraft inspection programs. This article will discuss the separation point and draw a clear line of distinction between the basic inspection requirements for smaller, less complex aircraft, and the larger, more complex aircraft.
The regulation that makes the distinction is 14 CFR Part 91.409. This is the rule that specifies the inspection requirements for aircraft operated under Part 91. Together with the many other regulations referenced, 91.409 provides a picture of the FAA’s separation point between Basic aircraft — those requiring Annual Inspections, and Complex aircraft — those requiring inspections as specified by an inspection program.
The basic inspection for aircraft is the Annual Inspection and is required to be performed – you guessed it – every year. Specifically, the frequency of an annual inspection is every 12 calendar months. What this means, for example, is that if an annual inspection was performed on January 12, 2001, the next annual inspection is due no later than the last day of the same month of the following year.
Another option for the lighter, less complex aircraft is the Progressive Inspection. A Progressive Inspection is a program submitted to the FAA (or provided by the manufacturer) that provides for small portions of the inspection to be performed at specific intervals so that a complete aircraft inspection is accomplished each 12 months [See CFR Part 91.409 (d)].
The required "Scope and Detail" of an Annual Inspection is contained in 14 CFR Part 43 Appendix D. Appendix D contains the list of items that, as a minimum, must be included on the inspection guide used by the inspector. As stated in Part 43.15 (c), "...whenever an annual or 100-hour inspection is performed, the person performing the inspection must use a checklist."
The majority of aircraft manufacturers provide an inspection guide to be used by the mechanic. Manufacturer-provided inspection guides are usually contained within the maintenance manual for the aircraft, but sometimes are published under separate cover. Care must be taken whenever using a manufacturer’s guide to ensure that the inspection guide is complete and includes all the requirements of Part 43 Appendix D.
For rotorcraft there are a few additional specific inspection requirements (other than Appendix D) contained in CFR Part 43.15 (b).
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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.