March 2011 Issue

Owner-Performed Maintenance

Aircraft owners with at least a private certificate can perform preventive maintenance tasks themselves. But many procedures allowed require tools and knowledge not covered in ground school.

Iíve always been fond of pointing out one of the most dangerous things in personal aviation is a private pilot with a #2 Phillips screwdriver. Thatís because Iíve occasionally come across the aftermath of an owner who tried but failed to accomplish a simple inspection or maintenance task without the proper knowledge, tools or training. Too often, the results demanded a "real" mechanic to come in and fix the mess. And, while Iíve tried to do as much preventive maintenance on my airplane as I can, Iíve often gotten in over my head and needed some professional assistance, too. Thankfully, the FAA still allows certificated pilots to work on their aircraft, performing some relatively mundane tasks.

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