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The BIG PICTURE


So what does this look like in the real world? Let’s say an owner takes his Bell 407 to a different maintenance shop than usual across state for its next scheduled inspection, an annual.


The owner


faithfully selects Part 43-Appendix D as guidance to perform the inspection, as he’s done for years. The shop manager questions the legality of the selection, but the owner, being well versed in his own right, points to the exception in Part 91.409(e).


Several days later, the lead mechanic calls to say the inspection is complete, but several mandatory OEM bulletins need compliance before the annual can be signed-off. The owner, a bit less patient now, questions the mechanic to determine which FAA regulation requires the compliance of mandatory bulletins that are not part of an FAA rule such as an airworthiness directive.


By now the conversation has taken a turn for the worse. Even after the owner interjects FAA Order 8260.2A and


several FAA Letters of Interpretation into the discussion, all which support his point that standalone OEM bulletins are not mandatory, the owner and shop personnel have reached an impasse.


Doubtful he’ll ever use this shop again, the owner asks to have the annual be signed off with discrepancies per Part 43.11(a)(5) on an Avery label, and asks for the required list of discrepancies to include the aforementioned bulletins. The lead mechanic balks again and wants to enter all write ups and discrepancies in the logbook. Oh, boy! These situations never end well.


After a call to the FSDO, the shop manager presents the owner with the appropriate signed entry labels, hands over the separate list of discrepancies, and parks the completed aircraft on the flight line. Unfortunately, now the owner must get another mechanic to clear the discrepancy list or sign-off a Special Flight Permit so he can fly back home and correct this issue. So, how did the owner prevail? As we


discussed earlier, the owner has the sole authority and responsibility for the aircraft, down to the type of work performed. That authority also includes the manner in which the required entries are entered in the aircraft record (Reference Part 91.405(b) and 91.417.) Nowhere do the FARs grant maintenance personnel that same authority.


I would call this an over-the-top example. Unfortunately, it is actually a composite of several situations that I am familiar with. But it does give you, the reader, a good view on how the regulations work in support of the owner.


However, no matter how this might work in the FAA aviation world, there are some people who flip the regulations for their own agenda. And it’s usually the mechanic and the owner who fall on their heads.


rotorcraftpro.com


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