Helping with your Annual

Helping with your Annual

I will be working with the A&P mechanics on this year's annual for my 1973 C172M. 

What can I do to get the most out of it? 

Is there anything I can do in advance to save $?

Just doing it saves me money as they offer a $100 credit if you are there through the entire evolution.

My own goals include learning about my airplane and how to work on it.  I also want to control cost better and minimize how long it is unavailable.

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Re: Helping with your Annual

I have never heard of receiving a credit for help, it usually costs more to have an owner help.  I say that because if the mechanic has to stop and explain everything to you as they go it's going to take more hours to finish and thus a higher cost.  My personal opinion is to do it if you can.  I used to work with a mechanic on my annuals, all it cost was $200 for it.  He was a fiend of the family so I gave him money for doing it, even though he did not want the money smile

       Dave

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Re: Helping with your Annual

Barry,

I always help with my annual.  I remove the upper and lower cowl,  all yhe exterior inspection plates, the seats and carpet. Then I remove the interior inspection plates. This usually only takes a couple of hours.  Then when the inspection is over I put it all back. 

Dan

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Re: Helping with your Annual

Barry,

It sounds like you really want to know/understand your plane...from spinner to rudder.  Several years ago, I purchased the Cessna 100 series service manual.  It can provide you with a great deal of information that would be, otherwise, difficult or costly to get.  It doesn't allow you to perform any other maintainance/repair tasks than any other pilot/owner.  It will probably pay for itself if/when you change your tires/tubes.  There is also a chicklist in the manual that covers (just about) everything that needs to be done at the 25/50/100/annual inspections.  Many of the those items can be performed by the pilot/owner and can be a bit time ($$) consuming.  If you can invest the time and aren't mechanically stupid, you may be able to save your mechanic quite a bit of time and you the $$ that would be attached to that time.
Examples might be; change oil (and analisys perhaps)clean the oil screen (change filter), change air filter, inspect/rotate the spark plugs (clean & gap if necessary), rotate the main tires and clean & grease the wheel bearings, make sure that the flap jackscrew is well lubed, check the scat hoses & replace if necessary.  Thats just what came of the top of my head.  You can then use the checklist to peruse the plane for a plethora of potential problems...from loose frayed control cables, sticky pulleys, corrosion, loose rivets, missing screws...and stuff.
As pilot/owner, I like having as good of an understanding of my plane and it's condition and why all those "parts and thingies" do what they do.
If you ahve a pretty good understanding of what you can do and a good relationship with your mechanic, you might just ask about a "supervised annual".
Basically, you will do the majority of the grunt work, he will do the "inspectiing".  If he finds something (which he WILL) he may tell you what to do to fix it or advise you how to get it fixed...perhaps by him or someone else....it all just depends...
Some FBO/mechanic shops may not want to deal much with the owner during the inspection...that's ok...they are not a public service...it's their business and lively hood....some will be happy to work with you to save you some $$ and make them some $$.

Get the service manua (I think every plane [and car] should come with one)l...know your plane, best you can...enjoy flying!!
Michael
**the above is my personal opinion...others may vary.  ;p

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Re: Helping with your Annual

Along with the service manual I think every owner should keep and study the parts manual...it gives a great picture of how those "thingies" fit together.

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Re: Helping with your Annual

How legal is it to help with an annual?

As I read it FAR 43 apdx D (a), it states;

(a)Each person performing an annual or 100 hour inspection shall, before that inspection, remove or open all necessary inspection plates, access doors, fairing, and cowling. He shall thouroghly clean the aircraft and aircraft engine.


Who had the authority to perform an annual inspection?


Comments?

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Re: Helping with your Annual

I am very involved in my annual inspections, as are many of the other small a/c owners at our field. When the A&P arrives at my hangar, the entire airplane is opened up. This includes the cowl, interior(seats, carpet etc), and the inspection plates in and out. The mechanic completes the inspection, cleans the engine. I am present during the inspection, which allows a discussion of any problems, as well as any maintenance tips. After this, the mechanic takes the logs for a few hours, and verifies all is in order. The same A&P has been inspecting my plane for seven years now. The result is my having a thourough understanding of the mechanics of the a/c, as well as the type of maintenance my mechanic expects.
Wouldn't do it any other way.
In addition, the annual cost (without any prioblems) will run approx. $300.00, opposed to $800.00 at the local shop.

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Re: Helping with your Annual

an A & P can do a 100 hr inspection

An IA can sign off an Annual inspection.

An A&P can do the 100 hr and an IA can "sign it off"...included in the "sign off" is some time consuming checking on ADs & service bulletins...making sure all is complied with....the IA will ALWAYS find "something" to be done prior to his signing off on the annual.

IA.. (Inspection Authorization, I believe is
what it stands for....or is that AI...authorized inspector??...whichever

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Re: Helping with your Annual

<HTML>I find that the practice of an A&P who holds Inspection Authorization endorsing an Annual inspection as a piggy back to a 100hr inspection performed by an A&P to be suspect at best.

In general, Annual inspections must be performed by the Inspector and may not be supervised.  The actual work performed may be accomplished under the direct supervision of the inspector, but the *Inspection*( the looking, the moving, the listening, the smelling) must be performed by the person endorsing that inspection.

The burden of performing AD searches and determinig that the aircraft is still in conformity with respect to its Type Certificates and STC's lays just as heavy on the A&P performing a 100hr inspection as it does an IA performing an Annual inspection.

The *only* difference between a 100hr inspection and an Annual inspection is the Inspection Authorization rating.

Cheers,
RH</HTML>

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Re: Helping with your Annual

Keep those cards and letters coming... I do appreciate the input.

I own a sevice manual and parts manual.  It came with the airplane, which I was very fortunate.  However, I have no idea whether I have all the changes/revisions.  In section 2, there is an inspection schedule broken down each 50 hours, 100 hours, 200 hours and special inspection items.  Based on what I read, a complete inspection includes all the items listed.  But how does this relate to the FAA Annual Inspection?  I would guess the FAA has guidance regarding inspection aspects, but isn't it up to the IA to decide on the correct list?  Wouldn't they rely on on a list like what Cessna recommends?

Over the past 17 months I flew about 360 hours.  So, based on this schedule, I should have done a lot more inspecting on my own besides changing the oil and oil filter every 50 hours.  Of course when I drop the cowling for the oil change I look over the accessible items, but with an untrained eye. I've added the air fliters for the vacuum system to the list my maintenance items.  I'm hoping to get some training this annual so that my inspections will be more meaningful and can add to the items I will do.  I do a thorough preflight including tire pressure, which I am invariably adding air every three weeks or so. 

So what do you think I should add between annuals so I ensure I pay special attention to these items during the work activities?

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Re: Helping with your Annual

If someone drives up to your hangar, while you as an owner are taking part in an annual inspection, and asks what your doing, I would not suggest to mention your assisting an IA in performing an annual on your aircraft.

If that person is the FAA, the next question will likely be "who's the AP with IA that you’re assisting".

It’s all over then. The FAA takes very dim view of signatures for sale.

To the letter of the FAR I posted above, I interpret the use of the word "he" to mean the IA, since an IA is the only one able to perform an annual inspection. Although I doubt too many IA's wash planes prior to an annual, I am told even this is enforceable. I am also told, the only assistance an owner can provide during an annual, is hand the IA his coffee.

This information was given at an airworthiness seminar put on by the FAA. I was shocked to say the very least. Also I am not an AP or IA and have no capital interest in an owner saving a buck.

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Re: Helping with your Annual

Roger,
I disagree with how you interpret an IA's role in annual inspection.

Per FAR 43 apdx D (a),
(a)Each person performing an annual or 100 hour inspection shall, before that inspection, remove or open all necessary inspection plates, access doors, fairing, and cowling. He shall thouroghly clean the aircraft and aircraft engine.......

*Who is it that is authorized to perform an annual inspection? Certinly not an owner.

*Who is "he" refering to in the above FAR? 
Would it be the person who is performing the annual?

*And lastly, it says each person performing.....  "shall"......... which would be the IA, since an IA or greater is required to perform an annual inspection, not an owner.

If you know of a FAR which says an IA only needs to inspect, once opened up, or an owner is authorized to perform an annual inspection, please post the reference number(s).

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Re: Helping with your Annual

The following narrative is posted on the faa.gov website <http://www1.faa.gov/avr/afs/news/archive/mayjune2002/Annual.htm> and is written by Jim McElvain, Regional Safety Program Manager in the FAA's Southwest Region.

I participate in my annual inspection every year by removing the interior and opening the inspection plates.  My IA performs the inspection and service duties while I watch.  After the inspection and servicing has been completed, I button up the inspection plates and reinstall the interior and my IA checks (thoroughly) to see that I did it right.

I don't believe this article would be posted on the FAA website if it weren't legal.

The Dreaded Annual Inspection

by Jim McElvain

It’s over. The dreaded annual inspection that seems to come around about every other week! But, it wasn’t so bad after all! Each year my son and I have assisted with the inspection, while the IA says things like: “Who in the heck taught you to safety wire?” and “Ya’ll look like a couple a monkeys wraslin’ a football!.” The IA’s I have worked with are “colorful” to say the least, but I will give them credit where credit is due. Both of the men doing inspection duties on my aircraft over the last ten years are honest, helpful, and each displays tremendous integrity. When the last inspection plates have been replaced, the tools put away, and the documentation completed, my airplane is right!

What are the benefits of an aircraft that is legal and in proper working order? First, the peace of mind that comes with a safe aircraft. Can it quit right after a thorough annual? Sure, but the odds are definitely more in your favor if it has been carefully scrutinized! And, whether you own or rent, think of the consequences that can occur if you have to make an off airport landing or have a flight control failure. At the very least, you are going to have to find a new way home and be out the expense of recovering the aircraft. I know of more than one flight school that has gone out of business by trying to cut corners on aircraft maintenance. Recovering aircraft, accidents, and increased insurance premiums more than offset any possible gains due to “thrifty” maintenance techniques. On the other end of the scale, think of the horror that you would have to live with if you knowingly allowed “shoddy” maintenance to take the life of one of your family members or other passengers.

A thorough annual inspection is never going to be as cheap as your car’s tune up at the local “Quick Tune and Pizzaria.” But, a good annual and economics can peacefully co-exist. The most important first step is to find a good “mechanic.” I say mechanic instead of technician, just to draw a little attention. There are parts changers, and there are well-trained, knowledgeable craftsmen who know their trade. These people know when a part is still serviceable and when it must be changed. They know what is safe and what has effectively reached the end of its service life. New tolerance and within tolerance are two vastly different terms that come with vastly different price tags. Good mechanics/technicians can keep your aircraft safe and legal at a reduced rate. By knowing their trade they catch problems early and avoid the high cost of major failures. Replacing bearings beats the heck out of replacing a unit in which the bearings have been allowed to fail.

If you have any mechanical abilities, I urge you to participate in the upkeep of your aircraft for several reasons. One is that you will take more time in a task than a mechanic will. They will do it right, but no more—and you couldn’t afford for them to do otherwise! You have the luxury of taking your time to accomplish unnecessary repainting, trimming, polishing, and fitting. In addition, you will learn things about your aircraft that may change the way in which you operate it, leading to greater economy and safety. And, speaking of economics, it makes no sense for a trained professional to spend time removing cowlings, interior and inspection plates if you can do it. Marchin’ or fightin’, it all pays the same!

Whether or not you physically participate in your annual, you need to be involved in the documentation phase. Clear, concise records will save valuable time and money later. And, like the service record on a Mercedes, it will make your aircraft more valuable down the road. A considerable amount of an IA’s time is spent researching Airworthiness Directives (AD’s), and this can turn into real money fast! By assuring that your IA puts together comprehensive lists of one-time, recurring and non-applicable AD’s, you will greatly cut down on the research required next year. Remember, marchin’ or fightin’, it all pays the same!

So, doing it right is cheaper in the long run. Find a good mechanic, participate in the work if you can, and assure that complete records of all maintenance are kept. While you’re at it, speak to your IA or A&P and find out about the preventive maintenance that you can legally do by yourself. You’ll sleep better at night knowing that your aircraft is top notch, but it will probably still generate strange noises on dark nights over hostile terrain!

Note: Renters, and those who fly other people’s aircraft, should also pay close attention to aircraft maintenance and records. Technically, if you act as pilot in command of an aircraft, you are responsible for its airworthiness and required inspections. Besides, who has the most to lose?

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Re: Helping with your Annual

In response to the comments about my previous posting..The way I understand it is that a pilot/owner may dissasemble any part of the aircraft he chooses to. The FAA has guidelines as to who may assemble certain parts of the plane. Therefore, my opening up the plane for inspection prior to the inspector arriving should be legal, in addition to saving manhours the mechanic would normally charge. While I am present during the inspection, it is only as an interested owner. The A&P / IA or whatever the legal requirement is, is the person that conducts the actual inspection. For my benefit, he takes the time to consult me on various issues regarding maintenance or possible future problems. Also, under his supervision, I am allowed to perform many tasks which lead to my better understanding of the a/c. (oil, filters, brakes etc)
I keep the exterior of the plane spotless, he cleans the engine once a year.
This is very much in compliance with the intentions of the FAA, in addition to saving me money and increasing my knowledge of the plane.

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Re: Helping with your Annual

You may want to contact your local FSDO. I am no genius. I am parroting what was said at an FAA Seminar titled Airworthiness. It was put on by a gent named Randy Williams, and another one named Carry Mendleson, both employed by the FAA in FLL.

http://www1.faa.gov/fsdo/fll/so17phon.htm

Feel free to contact them for yourself. I doubt they would stand in front of 100+ pilots and mechanics and state such a regulation, if they were unsure of their position.

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Re: Helping with your Annual

<HTML>I help with my annual every year - by opening up all of the ports, taking off the cowl and tailcone, etc,etc,etc.  I try to time it so I can do an oil change at the same time.  I take advantage of the time to fix any cosmetic problems on the interior/exterior and give it a thorough lube and cleaning.

It usually takes a couple of days, but it's time well spent.  I know the airplane inside and out.  Also, I have found things that would pass the annual inspection, but I've had the mechanic change anyway.  I know a number of people who do it this way, and have been assured (I asked at a flight safety seminar) that this is all perfectly legal.

I would actually be nervous about NOT doing it this way!</HTML>

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Re: Helping with your Annual

   Do everything you are allowed to do as an owner before you ever ask an
AI to look at it.

Get a service manual for make and model and year

Grease all bearings

Replace or pressure all tires/tubes

Service or replace the battery

Inspect or replace all seals (fuel caps, sending units, etc.)

Shut the fuel shutoff valve to "off" and try to drain fuel

Measure the prop in all dimensions

Clean all plugs (be careful about gapping and destroy any dropped plugs)

Grease the flap jack screw

Pull all the inspection covers so they hang on one screw

Clean the engine compartment with mineral spirits (careful about the vac pump)

Remove all cowlings for the pants and engine

Service the nose strut

Change oil and filter

Review AD's.  If the dome light is hot or seat rails worn, mention it

If the tire wear is uneven, maybe it's toe in or toe out.  Check it

Inspect or replace brake pads (might require inspection before flying again).

  In fact, I personally would do all this stuff (and have) but not fly again
until the IA has checked your work AND finished the annual.  But really,
the more you do correctly, by the service manual, before the IA
looks at it, the faster the annual.

  I know people who replace all seals, brake pads, oil and filter, tires, tubes, and plugs at every annual.  Go figure.

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Re: Helping with your Annual

Thanks to all for the advice....

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Re: Helping with your Annual


As per FAR 43.3 (d) A person working under the supervision of a
holder of a mecanic or repairman certificate may preform the main-
tenance , preventative maintenance , and alterations that his
supervisor is authorized to preform, if the supervisor personally
observes the work being done to the extent necessary to ensure
that it is being done properly, and if the supervisor is readily
available , in person, for consultation.
As per FAR 65.95 (a) (2) an I.A. must preform an annual inspection
or preform or supervise a progressive inspection.
I hope this information helps.

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