Aircraft Inspections

The aircraft owner is responsible for ensuring that the aircraft is properly maintained and the the maintenance records show that the proper maintenance has been done.

The pilot is responsible for ensuring that the aircraft is in a safe condition for flight at the time the aircraft is flown.

Most aircraft are required to have an annual inspection although some aircraft manufacturers have FAA approval to chase inspections as opposed to annual inspections.

Annual Inspections

Annual inspection must be performed every 12 calendar months and it expires on the last day of the month that is was inspected.

These annual inspections are documented in the aircraft’s maintenance records and include the airframe log book, engine log book, and propeller log book.

The annual inspection is verified by a maintenance release for the aircraft’s return to service and well as a sign off by a maintenance tech with an Inspection Authorization (IA) from the FAA.

100 Hour Inspections

For aircraft that are used for hire such as charter flights or flight instruction, there is an inspection that must be performed every 100 engine hours (tach time). This may be exceeded by 10 hours to get the aircraft to the inspection point but not to perform flight training although the next inspection will still be required 100 hours from the previous time it was due.

These inspections must be verified by a maintenance release for the aircraft’s return to service, a sign off by a maintenance technician with an Airframe and Powerplant (A & P) license ( the 100 hour inspection does not need to be signed off by a IA).

Transponder

The transponder must ben tested and inspected within the previous 24 calendar months meaning it expires on the last day on the month, 24 months later. Must be tested and inspected by a certified avionics technician. The transponder must be tested and inspected in order to use it anywhere. If you turn it on, it must have been tested and inspected within the past 24 months regardless of the air space you are in. This must be documented in the aircraft’s maintenance records.

Altimeter and Pitot Static System

The Altimeter and Pitot-Static System must be tested and inspected within the last 24 calendar months and is generally done at the same tome as the transponder. This is required in order to fly in controlled airspace under IFR (instrument flight rules)

ELT

The ELT battery must be inspected within the last 12 calendar months and the ELT battery must be replaced or recharged when the transponder has been in used for more than 1 cumulative hour or 50% of the battery’s useful life has expired (usually about every 2 years)

Airworthiness Directives

In addition to the above inspection items, Airworthiness Directives (AD) are legally required to be completed. The Airworthiness Directive is a document from the FAA that adds an inspection or maintenance action not covered under the annual inspection or 100 hour inspections. These are usually issued due to a problem identified or discovered in the field. These are mandatory and may require a one time inspection or continuous/periodic inspection and must be added to the aircraft’s maintenance records to indicate compliance with the AD.