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FAA Glossaries

Touring Machine Company

Inspections

Inspections of the entire aircraft and parts of it are required at 1 or 2 year intervals. In addition, ADs, service buletins, or manufacturers specifications may require inspection or replacement of parts at certain intervals.

The following list is not necessarily complete.

Annual Inspection

FAR §91.409 requires an inspection every 12 months, specifically … no person may operate and aircraft unless within the preceding 12 calendar months, it has had… Details are covered in this post. This section also requires the inspection that your aircraft receives before it is issued its airworthiness certificate. The phrasing of the time period in the regulation, like most time-related requirements involving aircraft, is a bit odd for someone reading the regulation for the first time. When a regulation says within the preceding 12 calendar months it means “any time in the prior 12 months, including the month 12 months prior to the current month”. An example makes it clearer. The annual inspection on our Cessna T210 was logged on January 8, 2007. Let’s start in January 2008 and count backwards 12 months. December 2007 is 1 month ago, November is 2 months ago, … January 2007 is 12 months ago and therefore is in the preceding 12 calendar months. So our aircraft is legal to fly any time in January 2008. We started our annual the first week of January and if we are lucky we will finish it next Friday when the last part comes in. The AI will sign it off on February 8, 2008 so we will be legal to fly until February 28, 2009.

100 hour Inspection

FAR § 91.409 requires an inspection every 100 hours if the aircraft people for carries people for hire or is provided for flight instruction by the instructor. Details are covered in the same post as above.

Altimeter

FAR § 91.411 Altimeter system and altitude reporting equipment tests and inspections says No person may operate an airplane, or helicopter, in controlled airspace under IFR unless… within the preceding 24 calendar months, each static pressure system, each altimeter instrument, and each automatic pressure altitude reporting system has been tested and inspected…

An inspection is also required if the static system has been opened, (other than using the system drain or alternate static source) and if an automatic pressure altitude reporting system has been installed.

This section also limits the altitude that an aircraft may be operated in IFR.
§ 91.411 (d) No person may operate an airplane, or helicopter, in controlled airspace under IFR at an altitude above the maximum altitude at which all altimeters and the automatic altitude reporting system of that airplane, or helicopter, have been tested. In my T210 the altimeter has been tested to 20,000′ so that is the maximum that I can fly under IFR rules, even though the service ceiling is 28,000′. Since IFR rules apply 18,000′ and above and , my airplane is essentially limited to flight below Class A, though technically we can fly east at FL190 and west at FL 180.

Transponder

§ 91.413 ATC transponder tests and inspections requires an inspection of the altimeter within the preceding 24 calendar months if it is to be used. And per §91.215 While in the airspace as specified in paragraph (b) of this section or in all controlled airspace, each person operating an aircraft equipped with an operable ATC transponder maintained in accordance with §91.413 of this part shall operate the transponder, including Mode C equipment if installed, and shall reply on the appropriate code or as assigned by ATC. I’ll let you read the details, but basically, if you have an airplane that was originally certified with an electrical system, you are required to have it inspected every 24 calendar months and you are required to use it everywhere except Class G airspace away from a Class B mode-C veil.

ELT—Emergency Locator Transmitter

FAR § 91.207 Emergency locator transmitters requires an ELT and an inspection within the preceding 12 months. Batteries must be replaced the transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour or 50% of the useful life has expired.

ADs

Airworthiness Directives are issued by the FAA to address problems with aircraft or parts. Many of them require and initial inspection of the part and recurring inspections. For example, AD 71-09-07 R1 requires an inspection of the exhaust manifold heat exchanger at intervals of 50 hours on my aircraft. Similarly, almost all Cessna singles require inspection of the seat tracks at 100 hour intervals or next inspection (whichever is later) per AD 87-20-03 R2.

Summary

Inspections
Type Time Frame
Aircraft 12 months
Altimeter 24 months
Pitot Static 24 months
Transponder 24 months
ELT 12 months
ADs Varies: Hours or Months

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