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MYTH:


This one always seems to get the most traction in the FBO Saturday morning coffee shop discussions. So let’s split it out into two parts.


First, the inspection program selection... Part 91.405(a) gets us right into the action:


“Each owner or operator of an aircraft – (a) Shall have that aircraft inspected as prescribed in subpart E of this part...”


There’s nothing mythical about that statement. So where does the confusion come from?


It’s a given that most owners and mechanics know that with some exceptions, any aircraft operated in the National Airspace System (NAS) must have an annual inspection performed in the preceding 12 months. In keeping with the references, that would fall under Part 91.409(a), but most owners and some mechanics do not know that when it comes to certain types of inspections or aircraft, the owner must select the inspection program. Sure, it’s always prudent for an owner to consult with a mechanic when looking at maintenance procedures, but unfortunately, a lot of owners


70 Mar/Apr 2021


view that consultation process as a delegation process as well. No go, say the FARs.


If you want a progressive inspection program per Part 91.409(d), the owner – not the mechanic – must submit a written request to the local FSDO for approval to include all the necessary details.


Now, if you are the owner of certain large airplanes, turbojet multi-engine airplanes, turbo-propeller-powered multi- engine airplanes, or turbine- powered rotorcraft as listed in Part 91.409(e), the owner is again required to make that inspection program selection, and to identify that program selection in the aircraft maintenance records as directed in Part 91.409(f).


As a side note, thankfully for you turbine-powered rotorcraft owners, there is an exemption in Part 91.409(e) that allows you to use one of the previous inspection programs listed in Part 91.409(a), (b), (c), or (d), instead of selecting from paragraph (f).


The mechanic selects the aircraft inspection program and corrects all discrepancies.


Moving on to the discrepancy side of this myth...


Nowhere is it stated in the FARs that a mechanic can arbitrarily walk up to an aircraft and fix something without the owner’s involvement. A mechanic simply doesn’t have that regulatory stroke. Only the owner can make that call.


Ironically, it starts in the same regulation that puts the onus on the owner to have the aircraft inspected: Part 91.405(a). Specifically it states:


“Each owner or operator of an aircraft – [...] shall between required inspections, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, have discrepancies repaired as prescribed in part 43 of this chapter...”


Once again, only the owner is mentioned.


A little factoid: notice how it states just “discrepancies” and not “airworthy discrepancies?” But I digress. We’ll leave that topic for another time.


As for where the mechanic does fit into the discrepancy topic, we need only look to Part 43.11(b) for one example. Rather than simply state that the mechanic repairs those discrepancies, it says the mechanic “must give the owner or lessee a signed and dated list of those discrepancies.” So even in the mechanics’ own Part 43, the owner is still the head honcho.


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