Beware the Paper Annual!
Saving money is always a good thing, right?
Sure it is. We all look for ways to make our dollars stretch. But no matter if the purchase is for goods or services, both large and small, we should always be certain that we are indeed getting what we are paying for. The same is true with Annual Inspections. Not all are created equal and this month we offer some tips on what to look for.
Here’s what you need to know.
The annual inspection is one of the not-so-joyful experiences of aircraft ownership. Yet it is necessary to ensure mechanical safety for you and those who fly with you – not to mention those on the ground looking up at you.
We can all agree that this process, while required by law, is difficult on many fronts. It can lay up our aircraft for many days and while we wait it always seems like the best flying whether occurs when our plane is in for its annual. It is also no small expense either. A routine inspection for many GA aircraft can run into the thousands.
For these reasons it is easy to see why there can be a desire to speed up the process and possibly try to avoid certain repairs that we, as owners, believe to be “too expensive” or “unnecessary”.
Some IA’s may feel pressured to work with the aircraft owner to avoid these repairs for fear that the owner will go elsewhere for future service. The IA might do a cursory look over of the plane and a very quick review of the documents with the purpose of saving the owner money. When an IA signs off on an aircraft without a thorough inspection of plane and documents he is preparing what is called a ‘Paper’ Annual. It might be ‘signed-off’, but are you getting a safe aircraft?
Another example is that of the unknowing owner who shops around for the least expensive service provider for his annual inspection. The intention to save money is noble, but the owner is most certainly expecting high level service at an entry level cost. There are no secrets with an annual inspection. Depending on the make and model of the aircraft, the maintenance manuals from the manufacturer clearly indicate the amount of time necessary to perform the inspection. If you get a quote for an annual that is far less than other quotes, be the prudent owner and ask some questions. Are you really going to get what you would be paying for? If the price sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Beware the Paper Annual. The safety of ourselves and those around us depend on it every time we climb into the cockpit. Additionally, while it can be irritating that something as simply as a transposed number on some paperwork can ground our plane, the implication regarding insurance coverage and legal liability in the event of an accident can be devastating for everyone involved.
As an aircraft owner, it’s our responsibility to maintain the integrity of our aircraft. We must make sure that we allow the professional IA to perform the proper documentation and prepare a thorough mechanical and airframe inspection.
Have questions regarding annual inspections, how they are handled, or the costs involved, please give the Sky Manor Air Repair service team a call at 908-996-0541.