14 CFR Part 43—Maintenance, Preventative Maintenance Rebuilding, and Alteration
Section 43.10—Disposition of Life-Limited Aircraft Parts
(Note the even number again. This regulation became part of 14 CFR part 43 in 2002.)
This section presents two terms not previously defined in 14 CFR:
- Life-limited part means any part that has specified a mandatory replacement limit.
- Life status means the accumulated cycles, hours, or any other mandatory limit of a life-limited part.
This section then goes on to specify what to do with parts that are temporarily removed from and then reinstalled on a type-certificated product; what to do with parts that are removed from a type certified product and not immediately reinstalled; and how to transfer life-limited parts from one type-certificated product to another.
When a life-limited part is removed, the person removing it from the type-certificated product must control the part and ensure proper tracking of the life-limiting factor. This is to prevent the installation of the part after it has reached its life limit. There are seven possible methods the technician or repair facility may choose from to comply with this requirement.
- Non-permanent marking
- Permanent marking
- Any other method approved or accepted by the FAA
When a life-limited part is transferred, the information concerning the life status of that part must be transferred with it. Although regulations already did exist that required the tracking of life-limited parts when they were installed on an aircraft, this regulation was generated to govern the disposition of such parts when they were removed from the aircraft.
Section 43.11—Content, form, and disposition of records for inspections conducted under parts 91 and 125, and sections 135.411(a)(1) and 135.419 of this chapter
This section deals exclusively with inspection record entries; however, the requirements are similar to 14 CFR part 43, section 43.9 in that information of what, when, and who is required.
- What—type of inspection, including a brief description
- When—date of the inspection and the total time in service
- Who—the signature, certificate number, and kind of certificate of the person approving or disapproving the RTS
Since this is an inspection write-up and not a maintenance entry, it is quite possible that the inspecting technician could reject or disapprove the item being inspected for the RTS. When that situation occurs, the regulation states in paragraph (b) that a list of discrepancies must be given to the owner. A reference to this list and its delivery to the aircraft owner must be reflected in the record entry. Although the regulation neither specifies how those discrepancies can be cleared, nor who may do them, any appropriately-rated repair station or certificated technician can perform the required maintenance actions. When they are completed and the proper maintenance record entries are generated in accordance with 14 CFR part 43, section 43.9, the aircraft is approved for RTS. It is neither necessary to have an additional inspection, nor is it necessary to contact the disapproving inspector.
If the aircraft is on a progressive inspection program, the inspection statement changes slightly from the statement referenced earlier by adding the reference to both a “routine inspection” and a “detailed inspection.” Refer to explanatory text of 14 CFR part 43, section 43.15 for a definition of these terms. Inspections accomplished in accordance with other inspection program requirements must identify that particular program and that part of the program the inspection completed.
Section 43.12—Maintenance Records: Falsification, Reproduction, or Alteration
The aviation community relies heavily on trust and honesty in both oral and written communication. The maintenance log entries described in 14 CFR part 43, sections 43.9 and 43.11 provide the documentation trail relied upon by aircraft owners, pilots, and technicians regarding the aircraft’s maintenance history. Falsification of these records is potentially dangerous to the personnel who rely on the accuracy of these records.
This section identifies that fraudulent entries are unacceptable. If someone commits such an act, that action is the basis for suspension or revocation of the appropriate certificate, authorization, or approval. A technician who is encouraged by his or her employer, or by anyone else, to falsify records in any way should remember this comment: “Companies come and go, but my signature lasts a lifetime. I will not use it inappropriately.”
Section 43.13—Performance Rules (General)
This section deals with the specific requirements for conducting maintenance. (NOTE: This section best reflects the relationship between the FAA’s numbering of ACs and the regulations they are related to.) Paragraph 3 on the cover page of AC 43.13-2B, Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices—Aircraft Alterations, dated March 3, 2008 states:
“Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 43, section 43.13(a) states that each person performing maintenance, alteration, or preventive maintenance on an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance must use the methods, techniques, and practices prescribed in the current manufacturer’s maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness prepared by its manufacturer, or other methods techniques or practices acceptable to the Administrator, except as noted in section 43.16.” [Figure 2-9]
Although not all ACs are linked this directly, there is a definite relationship between ACs and companion regulations. Refer to the text in this chapter on ACs for additional information.
Aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) are highly skilled personnel, because aviation maintenance work requires great attention to detail. The complexity of technology on today’s aircraft demands a significant level of communication to properly accomplish maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration. This communication frequently comes in written form (i.e., manufacturer’s maintenance manuals or ICA). If neither of these documents provide the guidance the technician needs to perform maintenance, either AC 43.13 (AC 43.13-1 or AC 43.13-2) contain examples of “other methods, techniques, or practices acceptable to the Administrator” that may be sufficient. However, these ACs specifically state that the information is applicable to non-pressurized areas of civil aircraft weighing 12,500 lbs gross weight or less.
In addition to the documentation, the technician must also use the proper tools, equipment, and test apparatus that ensures that the work complies with accepted industry practices. If the test equipment specified by the manufacturer is not available, equipment that is determined to be equivalent and acceptable to the Administrator may be used. The technician should be cautious, however, as “proving” the equivalence of test equipment may not be as simple as it seems. Air carriers (commercial—“scheduled” airlines operating under 14 CFR part 121, the “commuter/on demand” aircraft operating under 14 CFR part 135, and foreign air carriers and operators of U.S.-registered aircraft under 14 CFR part 129) may use the maintenance manual required by the operations specifications to comply with the requirements of this section. The operator must provide a continuous airworthiness maintenance and inspection program acceptable to the Administrator.
Section 43.15—Additional Performance Rules for Inspections
This section presents general comments concerning the responsibility of conducting an inspection and then provides details of three separate conditions. They are rotorcraft, annual and 100-hour inspections, and progressive inspections.
- Rotorcraft—If a rotorcraft is being inspected, specific items, such as rotor transmissions and drive shafts, must be inspected.
- Annual and 100-hour inspections—When performing an annual or 100-hour inspection, a checklist must be used. This checklist may be a personal one or one from the manufacturer. Either way, it must include the scope and detail of the inspection in Appendix D. Specific engine performance is also required to be tested (or monitored) as part of RTS for an annual or 100-hour inspection. This applies whether the aircraft is reciprocating or turbine powered.
- Progressive inspection—If a progressive inspection is being conducted, it must be preceded by a complete aircraft inspection. (NOTE: A progressive inspection is the result of breaking down the large task of conducting a major inspection into smaller tasks that can be accomplished periodically without taking the aircraft out of service for an extended period of time.) Two new definitions are also presented: “routine” and “detailed.” A routine inspection is a visual examination or check of the item, but no disassembly is required. A detailed inspection is a thorough examination of the item, including disassembly. The overhaul of a component is considered to be a detailed inspection. If the aircraft is away from the station where inspections are normally conducted, an appropriately rated mechanic, a certificated repair station, or the manufacturer of the aircraft may perform inspections in accordance with the procedures and using the forms of the person who would otherwise perform the inspection.
Section 43.16—Airworthiness Limitations
The technician performing inspection or maintenance actions on an aircraft must be certain he or she has all appropriate data available. Each person performing an inspection or other maintenance specified in an Airworthiness Limitations section of a manufacturer’s maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness shall perform the inspection or other maintenance in accordance with that section, or in accordance with operations specifications approved by the Administrator under part 121 or 135, or an inspection program approved under 14 CFR part 91, section 91.409(e). ICAs, as required by 14 CFR part 21, section 21.50, must also be consulted when available. Since 1998, the FAA has required ICAs to be generated for all major alterations that are accomplished by the field approval process. This section specifies that the technician is responsible to perform inspections or maintenance specified in an airworthiness limitation in accordance with all the preceding instructions.
Section 43.17—Maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations performed on U.S. aeronautical products by certain Canadian persons
This section was significantly revised in 2005, as the result of a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) between the United States and Canada. This section of 14 CFR part 43 defines some terms and gives specific limitations as to what an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME is the Canadian equivalent to the U.S. A&P) may do to maintain U.S.-registered aircraft located in Canada. It also provides similar limitations for an Approved Maintenance Organization. (AMO is the Canadian equivalent to the U.S.-certified repair stations.)