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Get to Know Your Mechanic

By Jennifer Caron

Source: FAA Safety Briefing, May/June 2020

Pilot: “DME volume unbelievably loud.”

Mechanic: “DME volume set to a more believable level.”

Maintenance and inspection of an aircraft is a team effort between you and your aviation maintenance technician (AMT). Good communication skills and constant contact with your mechanic and repair shop are essential to the safe condition and operation of your aircraft. Be proactive in your approach. Here are seven questions to get the conversation started.

inspection authorization

1) Is my AMT Certified with Inspection Authorization?

If your mechanic has an Inspection Authorization (IA), ask to see his/her IA card and find out if they have met the qualifications for renewal during the non-renewal year. The IA expires every odd-numbered year on March 31, but an IA-holder must meet renewal requirements every year to stay current. The IA is needed for approval of return to service of major repairs and alterations. Minor repairs can be accom-plished and returned to service by the A&P, along with 100-hour inspections.

2) How thorough is my AMT?

Tool organization tells a lot about a mechanic when it comes to thor-oughness and accuracy. Although not required by regulation, check to see if tools are shadowed to allow for quick inventory of all equipment before closing up panels. It’s an indicator of a mechanic who goes beyond the minimum. Also ask if they have the proper, calibrated tools to do the job according to manufacturer recommendations.

3) How knowledgeable is my AMT on my aircraft type?

Check your AMT’s qualifications for working on your aircraft. Does he/she have adequate training for your aircraft type or installed equipment? If your aircraft is newer/high tech or made of composite materials, do they have the right skills to properly repair and/or maintain it?

4) Does my AMT use Current, Relevant, and Approved Data?

Ask if your mechanic has the current manual for your specific make and model of aircraft. One serial number can make a huge difference between doing the job correctly or not. If they are performing a major alteration or repair, did they get all of the approved data?

5) Does my AMT use Approved and Traceable Parts?

Maintenance personnel are required to use parts that are traceable, have a known history, and carry some sort of service tag when the mechanic receives them. Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) parts are not original manufacturer’s parts, but they have FAA approval for installation on certain models of aircraft. Click here for the list: bit.ly/PMAParts and read the article, “Be a ‘Part’ of Improving Aviation Safety, A Look at Suspected Unapproved Parts,” at adobe.ly/2DDlu09. Be aware that not all lubricants and sealers are the same. Ask if your AMT has the proper materials to lubricate your aircraft type.

6) Are Logbook Entries Correct?

Your logbook must contain a proper description of the work performed. Although not required, ask your AMT to include the part number/serial number removed, and the part number/serial number installed, for components removed and replaced. Take the time to discuss all issues found during any inspection or repair, especially major repairs or alterations. Ask questions: What was touched, repaired, or replaced?

7) Does my AMT Work in a Clean, Neat, and Well-lit Shop?

Parts and materials should be stored correctly. Dust and humidity, for example, can affect the airworthiness of certain items. Adequate lighting is also key. If the shop is not well lit, your AMT could miss potential problems.

Remember, maintenance and inspection of an aircraft is a team effort. An open dialogue with your AMT and repair shop will help you develop familiarity and trust that your aircraft is in the right hands.

 

 

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