What should you know about an annual/100 hour inspection?

It is amazing how much the general aviation industry relies on trust. In the flying world, individuals trust pilots. Unfamiliar with pilot proficiency, qualifications, or experience they board the aircraft with full faith in the pilot or pilots’ capabilities. Same is true in the world of aircraft maintenance…
I certify that this aircraft has been inspected in accordance with a 100hr/annual inspection guide, and has been determined to be airworthy
Does this statement look familiar? It is the airworthiness statement placed in every certified aviation article after a 100hr/annual inspection is completed. Every proficient aircraft inspector should be able to recite this statement (or one very similar) to you on command. If they can’t and your letting them perform the annual on your aircraft, you might want to take your business else were(they may not be performing inspections frequent enough to be proficient)…
What is a 100hr/annual inspection composed of? It depends on many variables (make/model, age, applicable AD’s, etc…). The best resource for the inspection lies in the trusty manufactures maintenance manual. Before your next inspection obtain a maintenance manual for your aircraft (check out our tech pubs page), google search for your model, or ask your maintenance provider). Open to the inspection section and most likely you’ll find some sort of guide, detailing inspection intervals, and criteria. Any reputable maintenance shop will use the manufactures inspection guide as guidance.
Who knows more about your plane then the manufacture? NOBODY!
During the annual inspection all sections of the aircraft are inspected:
  • Powerplant(s)
  • Fuselage
  • Empennage
  • Wings
  • Landing gear
  • Flight control system
  • Avionics/Electrical systems
  • Hydraulic systems
  • Emergency equipment
  • Airworthiness Directives
It should also be noted that an annual inspection/100 hour inspection is exactly that, an INSPECTION. Servicing or performing maintenance to the aircraft only happens if needed (weather by time or condition). Servicing usually is accomplished during annual due to it’s convenience, or the owner operator only flies 50 hours or less a year (what a bummer).
Inspection by qualified, detail oriented inspectors is critical during annual/100 hour inspection. A technician who is familiar with the airframe/engine/propeller will know it’s weaknesses, and knows where additional attention is needed. Do a little research before getting your next inspection. Remember not all maintenance shops are treated equal! Stay Fly!
Michael Sawyer
Winterset Aviation Services Inc.

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