Features

February 2013 Issue

Handle With Care

Any time repairs or other work is performed on an aircraft, it’s a good idea to conduct a post-maintenance test flight to ensure everything is working as it should. There’s even a regulation, FAR 91.407, covering such flights and the “operational check of the maintenance performed or alteration made.” In many ways, someone conducting such a flight is a test pilot, determining whether the work performed was completed properly and the aircraft performs as intended. During such flights, we generally plan to conduct a functional check of any and all systems potentially affected by the work performed and return. This, of course, presumes we don’t find a problem with the work performed. If we do find a problem during our post-maintenance check flight, an obvious response is to get the aircraft back on the ground expeditiously and resolve the issue. Depending on the problem, we may or may not be in a hurry: To us, an engine oil leak would mean hurry up and land, while a flight-control system issue might encourage us to take things easier and handle the aircraft gently.

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