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FAA Glossaries

Touring Machine Company

Annual Inspection – FARs

As described below, annual and 100 hour inspections require the use of a checklist. Download our checklist as a PDF or in .doc format.

§ 43.15 Additional performance rules for inspections.

(c) Annual and 100-hour inspections. (1) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall use a checklist while performing the inspection. The checklist may be of the person’s own design, one provided by the manufacturer of the equipment being inspected or one obtained from another source. This checklist must include the scope and detail of the items contained in appendix D to this part and paragraph (b) of this section.

Annual inspections are required by § 91.409. The portions relevant to most pilots are shown below. Note that inspections must be made “by a person authorized to perform an annual inspection” which in most cases means someone certified under § 65.91 Inspection authorization. and generally referred to as an IA or AI. Note that in order to maintain the IA certificate a person must have current Powerplant and Airframe Mechanics Ratings, so you often see the initials IA/A&P on their business card.

The requirements for the inspection are covered in Appendix D to Part 43. This list of things to check is fairly comprehensive. The FAA has a document, AFS-900-002-F-03 Aircraft Configuration Control Job Aid (PDF) that covers the items to be inspected and the regulation(s) covering each item. The CAP has a checklist (PDF), as does Stache Air. A reformatted version of one based on the Stache Air version is here. (PDF) I’ll be updating it and providing links to the relevant Orders, FARs, and ADs over time.

§ 91.409 Inspections.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, no person may operate an aircraft unless, within the preceding 12 calendar months, it has had—

(1) An annual inspection in accordance with part 43 of this chapter and has been approved for return to service by a person authorized by §43.7 of this chapter; or [This is the annual inspection requirement.]

(2) An inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter. [If you look in the log books, the first page should have the inspection for the airworthiness certificate that was done at the factory.]

No inspection performed under paragraph (b) of this section may be substituted for any inspection required by this paragraph unless it is performed by a person authorized to perform annual inspections and is entered as an “annual” inspection in the required maintenance records. [Check the log books and you will find these words for each annual. You will also find the words “approved for return to service”, the date, tach time, and the IA’s signature, along with their certificate number.]

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, no person may operate an aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) for hire, and no person may give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides, unless within the preceding 100 hours of time in service the aircraft has received an annual or 100-hour inspection and been approved for return to service in accordance with part 43 of this chapter or has received an inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter. The 100-hour limitation may be exceeded by not more than 10 hours while en route to reach a place where the inspection can be done. The excess time used to reach a place where the inspection can be done must be included in computing the next 100 hours of time in service. [Note the wording carefully. The 100-hour inspection applies to aircraft that are rented out for flight instruction _with_ an instructor. This would be the case for your typical flight school or an instructor who owns the airplane and provides instruction in it. (Taildragger and aerobatic instruction are often provided this way.) It does not apply to instruction you receive in your own aircraft. A good discussion is here. In the discussion, one poster mentions that it may not be legal to fly an airplane, let alone receive instruction in it, from an FBO if it has not had its 100-hour inspection. There are many 100 hour ADs and they _may_ not be complied with if a rental airplane had not had its 100-hour inspection. You’ll have to check the books for a particular aircraft. It may be also be legal if the ADs have been complied with and the aircraft is in a progressive inspection program, see §91.409 (d) Progressive inspection.]

(c) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section do not apply to—

(1) An aircraft that carries a special flight permit, a current experimental certificate, or a light-sport or provisional airworthiness certificate; [The regulations for these are contained in other sections of the FARs. Experimental aircraft inspections are covered in § 91.319 Aircraft having experimental certificates: Operating limitations. . Rules covering light-sport aircraft are in § 91.327 Aircraft having a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category: Operating limitations.]

(2) An aircraft inspected in accordance with an approved aircraft inspection program under part 125 or 135 of this chapter and so identified by the registration number in the operations specifications of the certificate holder having the approved inspection program; [Part 125 is Air Carriers and Part 135 is Commuter and On Demand Operations. They have both more regulation and more flexibility in the regulations that the aircraft operated under than Part 91.]

(3) An aircraft subject to the requirements of paragraph (d) or (e) of this section; or

(4) Turbine-powered rotorcraft when the operator elects to inspect that rotorcraft in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section.

[There is more to this section dealing with progressive inspection and large airplanes not subject to Part 125 that I left out since it doesn’t apply to most Part 91 pilots.]

Appendix D to Part 43

Scope and Detail of Items (as Applicable to the Particular Aircraft) To Be Included in Annual and 100-Hour Inspections

(a) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall, before that inspection, remove or open all necessary inspection plates, access doors, fairing, and cowling. He shall thoroughly clean the aircraft and aircraft engine.

(b) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) the following components of the fuselage and hull group:

  • (1) Fabric and skin—for deterioration, distortion, other evidence of failure, and defective or insecure attachment of fittings.
  • (2) Systems and components—for improper installation, apparent defects, and unsatisfactory operation.
  • (3) Envelope, gas bags, ballast tanks, and related parts—for poor condition.

(c) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) the following components of the cabin and cockpit group:

  • (1) Generally—for uncleanliness and loose equipment that might foul the controls.
  • (2) Seats and safety belts—for poor condition and apparent defects.
  • (3) Windows and windshields—for deterioration and breakage.
  • (4) Instruments—for poor condition, mounting, marking, and (where practicable) improper operation.
  • (5) Flight and engine controls—for improper installation and improper operation.
  • (6) Batteries—for improper installation and improper charge.
  • (7) All systems—for improper installation, poor general condition, apparent and obvious defects, and insecurity of attachment.

(d) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) components of the engine and nacelle group as follows:

  • (1) Engine section—for visual evidence of excessive oil, fuel, or hydraulic leaks, and sources of such leaks.
  • (2) Studs and nuts—for improper torquing and obvious defects.
  • (3) Internal engine—for cylinder compression and for metal particles or foreign matter on screens and sump drain plugs. If there is weak cylinder compression, for improper internal condition and improper internal tolerances.
  • (4) Engine mount—for cracks, looseness of mounting, and looseness of engine to mount.
  • (5) Flexible vibration dampeners—for poor condition and deterioration.
  • (6) Engine controls—for defects, improper travel, and improper safetying.
  • (7) Lines, hoses, and clamps—for leaks, improper condition and looseness.
  • (8) Exhaust stacks—for cracks, defects, and improper attachment.
  • (9) Accessories—for apparent defects in security of mounting.
  • (10) All systems—for improper installation, poor general condition, defects, and insecure attachment.
  • (11) Cowling—for cracks, and defects.

(e) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) the following components of the landing gear group:

  • (1) All units—for poor condition and insecurity of attachment.
  • (2) Shock absorbing devices—for improper oleo fluid level.
  • (3) Linkages, trusses, and members—for undue or excessive wear fatigue, and distortion.
  • (4) Retracting and locking mechanism—for improper operation.
  • (5) Hydraulic lines—for leakage.
  • (6) Electrical system—for chafing and improper operation of switches.
  • (7) Wheels—for cracks, defects, and condition of bearings.
  • (8) Tires—for wear and cuts.
  • (9) Brakes—for improper adjustment.
  • (10) Floats and skis—for insecure attachment and obvious or apparent defects.

(f) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) all components of the wing and center section assembly for poor general condition, fabric or skin deterioration, distortion, evidence of failure, and insecurity of attachment.

(g) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) all components and systems that make up the complete empennage assembly for poor general condition, fabric or skin deterioration, distortion, evidence of failure, insecure attachment, improper component installation, and improper component operation.

(h) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) the following components of the propeller group:

  • (1) Propeller assembly—for cracks, nicks, binds, and oil leakage.
  • (2) Bolts—for improper torquing and lack of safetying.
  • (3) Anti-icing devices—for improper operations and obvious defects.
  • (4) Control mechanisms—for improper operation, insecure mounting, and restricted travel.

(i) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) the following components of the radio group:

  • (1) Radio and electronic equipment—for improper installation and insecure mounting.
  • (2) Wiring and conduits—for improper routing, insecure mounting, and obvious defects.
  • (3) Bonding and shielding—for improper installation and poor condition.
  • (4) Antenna including trailing antenna—for poor condition, insecure mounting, and improper operation.

(j) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) each installed miscellaneous item that is not otherwise covered by this listing for improper installation and improper operation.

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