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PART 43.16 Inspections


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


in Part 91. And three, once an inspection


has been selected, the mechanic is required by regulation to follow that reference.


I’m sure everyone agrees the inspection expensive


recurring cost


process is an in


maintaining an aircraft. 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 follow the selected inspection program.


under authority program/reference


PART 43.15 This


part directs each person


who performs an inspection to meet all applicable airworthiness requirements and to follow the instructions set forth in the inspection program. There are no options of OEM recommendations, industry standards, or the administrator. This part also includes inspection requirements for rotorcraft, annual/100 hour inspections, and progressive inspections.


Furthermore, Part 43.15 states if an inspection is under Part 135 or Part 121, the mechanic shall follow the instructions and procedures listed under the air carrier program. Part 43.15 also gives Part 135 operators the authority to use non- company mechanics and repair stations to accomplish air carrier aircraft inspections.


So, when a mechanic is assigned to comply with an inspection, it is Part 43.15 directing him to follow a specific inspection, not the applicable Part 91, 121, or 135 under which the inspection was selected by the owner/operator.


Now, it gets a tad tighter under the next part.


Welcome to the wonderful world of FAA-approved references. Prior to this part, our reference documents fell under the FAA acceptable category. For example, the actual FAR Part 43.13 is regulatory, but the references it mentions in general (e.g., MM, ICA, industry standards, etc.) are only acceptable.


At the FAA approval level, everyone must obey the rule. Part 43.16 is specific and mandatory to the word. Any requirement listed in an airworthiness limitations section of any OEM MM or ICA shall be complied with as indicated.


Part 43.16 does allow for an owner/operator to include these limitations in their FAA-approved Part 135/Part 121 operation specifications (OpSpec) or FAA- approved inspection program under Part 91.409(e), but that’s the only exception. Percentage-wise, few of our references are approved by the FAA. For example, although chapter 4 is approved in a Bell MM, the remaining MM chapters are only acceptable.


This finishes the reference foundation. There’s no question a mechanic can maintain an aircraft using the guidance solely from Part 43. But what about the other available maintenance references?


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