Why is airworthiness important for an aircraft

Airworthiness Directives and Why they are Important

By Eric Barnhill – MyAnnual.net

Airworthiness Directives (AD’s) on your Airframe, Engine, Propeller and all the Accessories on your aircraft are required to be either N/A (Non Applicable), PCW (Previously Complied With, with dates and times) or C/W (Complied With, with dates and times) within the time set forth in the text of the AD.

This usually means at the next annual inspection, but there are certain exception. It is your responsibility(as owner/pilot)to make sure these are complied with. Are you sure they are? Probably not 100%, you take your mechanic’s word that they are and let it go at that. Omissions can occur, mistakes can be made and unless your mechanic subscribes to an expensive AD listing service, sifts through long lists at the FAA Web site and is very good at what he does AD’s can be missed. Again it is your responsibility to ensure that ALL AD’s ARE COMPLIED WITH, and recorded properly in the Aircraft logs!

Airworthiness Directives

The holder of an IA is required by 14 CFR part 43, § 43.13, to determine that all applicable ADs for aircraft, powerplants, propellers, instruments, and appliances have been accomplished before he signs off your Annual Inspection. You must consider the following:

  1. If the maintenance records indicate compliance with an AD, the holder of an IA should make a reasonable attempt to verify the compliance, this may be done by confirming that on a certain date and/or tach time the inspection was done (logbook entry). It is not uncommon for a component to have compliance with an AD accomplished and properly recorded then later be replaced by another component on which the AD has not been accomplished. The holder of an IA is not expected to disassemble major components (cylinders, crankcases, etc.) if adequate records of compliance exist.
  2. When the maintenance records do not contain indications of AD compliance, the holder of an IA should:
    1. Make the AD an item on a discrepancy list provided to the owner, in accordance with 14 CFR part 43, § 43.11(b);
    2. With the owner’s concurrence, do whatever disassembly is required to determine the status of compliance; or
    3. Obtain concurrence of the owner to comply with the AD.
  3. Often, an AD calls for an inspection, with a modification or inspection required at a later date. It is very important to identify, in the maintenance record entry, the portion of the AD complied with and the exact method of compliance. 
  4. Example of a legal AD Compliance Log Book Entry: Complied with AD 2002-14-23 (seat belt) by visual inspection 5/16/2009, TACH 1234.5. Signature, IA number.       
  5. 14 CFR part 91, § 91.417(a)(2)(v) requires each registered owner or operator to keep a record of the current status of applicable ADs. This status includes for each AD, the method of compliance, AD number, and revision date. If the AD involves recurring action, the time and date should be recorded when the next action is required. This record should be provided as a part of the annual inspection. A good, comprehensive IA should be sure that there is a complete record of all ADs that COULD be applicable to your aircraft, engine, propeller and accessories, and their disposition! Don’t settle for a list of Ads complied with at Annual Inspection, insist upon a complete list of all Ads that COULD affect your aircrafts airworthiness, and their disposition. 

5. The owner should also be informed of any subsequent requirements of an AD or whether a reinspection is required at operating intervals other than at annual inspections. Often, the subsequent requirements are at 100-hour (or other) intervals and will need to be done whether or not the aircraft is required to have 100-hour inspections. As a mechanic or IA, you should be aware of all AD’s that are pending or due.  It is good customer relations to inform the owner or pilot of the fact that AD may be due before the next Annual Inspection.

Maintaining a list of all of the applicable Airworthiness Directives (Ads) can be done two ways:

1. Go to the FAA web site and search for your make, model and serial number on airframe, engine, propeller, and all your accessories. (It takes a long time and you will spend hours and hours and still you may miss some.)

2. Subscribe to an AD service that sends a CD  (weekly, Monthly or Quarterly) or you can download updates from the web. It’s not cheap and if you only do a few Annual Inspections or one for your self it is expensive.

Here is a link to the AD service that I use, (Airworthinessdirectives.com), their service is easy to use, they are very friendly and they answer their phone and are happy to answer your questions.  Give them a try. And tell them you learned about them from MyAnnual.net.

If you have any questions select the Contact Us link below, we’ll be glad to explain the process and get you started on your way to making sure those applicable (and required) Ads are complied with.

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