ArticleMatt Lykins is both a maintenance expert with Robson Forensic and an experienced owner-pilot. This article addresses aircraft maintenance topics from both perspectives.
What’s A FAA Form 337?
I’m the Owner – Not an Aircraft Mechanic
We as aircraft owners who operate our aircraft under the general operating and flight rules of part 91 sometimes find ourselves in a false sense of security when it comes to the maintenance of our aircraft. This is especially true for those of us who have been successful in cultivating a good relationship with a competent healthy aircraft maintenance entity (FBO, Certified Repair Station, Maintenance Management Organization, Aircraft Technician, etc) who thoroughly knows our aircraft and takes care of our every maintenance need as if it were their own. In almost every case, the reality is that our aircraft is in fact ours and not theirs. This simple fact places the primary responsibility of the maintenance of our aircraft on us, not our mechanic. The FAR’s make this quite clear in 14 CFR 91.403(a):
The owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition, including compliance with part 39 of this chapter.
Some common reactions to this regulation are; “Hey, I’m not a mechanic!” “I don’t know how to maintain an aircraft. This is why I take my plane to my maintenance shop. They maintain my plane, not me.” “If my plane is not maintained properly, it should be on my mechanic, not me.” Although I generally have made it a professional practice not to start down the slippery slope of asking the “whys” regarding the FAR’s, I believe there is some benefit in a slight deviation of course here by exploring the question of why the regulations place this responsibility of aircraft maintenance primarily on us as owner / operator and not the mechanic
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Matt’s aerospace technical background and experience range from small single-engine aircraft to corporate jets to large transport category airliners. He has more than 20 years of industry experience as a Mechanic, Pilot, Instructor, Examiner and Consultant. Matt holds a B.S. in Aviation Maintenance Technology from Purdue University and was named FAA General Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year for 2005. He was an aviation technical instructor for a FAA Approved Part 147 school and also served as an FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner administering the FAA oral and practical exams to applicants for the Airframe and Power Plant certificates. Matthew continues to provide aerospace consultation, training, and AOG technical services through his own private company.