Originally published August 1994
As with any aircraft, it is the pilot's responsibility to know if the aircraft he is about to fly is airworthy. For most pilots, a good preflight will reveal most major defects but he still places a great deal of trust in the designer, manufacturer, and the last mechanic who laid hands on it. Since in the homebuilt arena, the manufacturer, mechanic, and the pilot are often the same person, a lot of responsibility falls on his shoulders. During the construction and early flight test stage, most builders are careful and conscientious enough to do a good job and you're probably no exception. But what happens when you have to do the first annual on your aircraft? Will you be able to find all the defects? Will you be able to fix the ones you find?
The real scope of this article is to give you some things to think about as you build your aircraft. Thinking about them now may give you the opportunity to make your aircraft more maintainable and, in the long run, more reliable. So here goes. When you look over your project, keep in mind the following items that you'll have to inspect every year:
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Revised -- 27 April 1997