Maintenance Guidelines For The Owner-Pilot/Builder

Bob Daniel

Originally published June 1998

(Recently, former Chapter 1000 member and Technical Counselor Bob Daniel, now at Altus AFB in Oklahoma, was cited by the Project Police with borrowing a copy of Sport Aviation and never returning it. He was unable to locate said magazine, and as such was fined with a requirement to submit an article for The Leading Edge. The following is an article he put together for EAA Chapter 1014. It's a good one, so we'll let him slide with a re-run.)

As an owner-pilot and builder, FAR Part 43 allows you to perform certain types of inspections and maintenance on your airplane. As the builder you are considered the manufacturer and such you may receive a repairman's certification by due process as outlined in Advisory Circular 65-23A. This partial list does not apply to builder with a repairman's certificate. The builder has full capability to relicense (do an annual) and do the full range of maintenance tasks to keep the aircraft airworthy.

The following is a partial list of inspections and maintenance that you as owner-pilot can do.

  1. Repair or change tires and tubes.
  2. Clean, grease, or replace landing gear wheel bearings.
  3. Add air or oil to landing gear shock struts.
  4. Replace defective safety wire and cotter keys.
  5. Lubricate items not requiring disassembly (other than removal of nonstructural items such as cover plates, cowling or fairings).
  6. Replenish hydraulic fluid.
  7. Refinish the exterior or interior of the aircraft (excluding balanced control surfaces) when removal or disassembly of any primary structure or operating system is not required.
  8. Replace side windows and safety belts.
  9. Replace seats or seat parts with approved replacement parts.
  10. Replace bulbs, reflectors, and lenses of position and landing lights.
  11. Replace cowling if removal of the propeller is not required.
  12. Replace, clean or set spark plug clearances.
  13. Replace hose connections, except hydraulic connections.
  14. Replace prefabricated fuel lines.
  15. Replace the battery and check fluid level and specific gravity.

Although fore mentioned work is allowed by FARs, each individual should make a self analysis as to whether or not he or she has the ability to perform the work satisfactorily.

If any of the fore mentioned work is accomplished, an entry must be made in the appropriate logbook. The entry shall contain:

  1. A description of the work performed (or references to data that is acceptable to the Administrator).
  2. Date of completion.
  3. Name of the person performing the work.
  4. Signature, certificate number and kind of certificate held by the person performing the work.

The signature constitutes approval for return to service only for work performed.

Note: References and content of this handout are from FAA-P-8740-15A / AFO-0783

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Revised -- 14 March 1999