Aircraft Annual Inspections
The Annual Airplane Inspection Privilege is a perk that most pilots take for granted. Most pilots know that yearly inspections by the FAA are vital to maintaining their airworthiness. When a pilot makes the choice to work with an airframe and maintenance facility, they want to know that the facility is in compliance with all of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations. Pilots who make the decision to purchase an expensive new aircraft are well aware that it will require a significant amount of maintenance throughout its life. When the aircraft is first purchased, the pilot is not afforded the privilege of performing an inspection prior to purchase; rather, he or she must wait until the purchase is complete.
This waiting period gives the purchaser ample time to become familiar with the various parts of the aircraft and fully acquaint themselves with the repairman’s art. A well-written policy by an annual airplane inspection policy provider that clearly outlines the expected procedures, and the benefits of the service offered should be made available to all prospective customers, at no cost to them. Pilots that want the benefit of having an inspection performed prior to purchasing the plane, but that doesn’t want to pay for it themselves should purchase the policy from a reputable source with a solid reputation for customer service. If the company underwrites the inspection, they should require the pilot to pay for it if they decide not to perform the inspection. The good news is that many of the large nationwide providers of annual aviation inspections also offer discounts to pilots who book through their organization.
While the annual inspection serves to protect the aircraft and ensure that it continues to fly safely, pilots are aware of the policy and are rarely pressured into submission. It is rare for a pilot to receive a lecture on why they must continue to fly the particular model they purchased in the first place. Pilots are mostly concerned that their plane is free of all defects so that they can safely complete their particular task. Having the right pilot to lean on when he or she notices a flaw or “blue sky” in the cabin is essential to long-term passenger safety.
Airlines in the UK, such as British Airways and Easy Jet, have both had their planes inspected by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Aircraft Ownership and Repair Scheme (AOCRS). Both organizations determined that the planes were in proper condition and operation. The chief inspector for the Civil Aviation Authority noted that the AOCRS/Aerion’s Code of Practice on safe airline operations applies to the African Rift flights also. Passengers who fly regularly on the African rift may find the annual aircraft inspection refresher useful as well.
An important part of the annual airplane inspection in the UK, like that in the US, is the Cessna citation mustang. A Cessna citation is issued for any problem with the condition of an airline’s fleet. Passengers who fly regularly on carriers with a Cessna citation must fly another carrier until the problem is fixed.
When an airline does not fix a problem, passengers have the right to sue under the Aircraft Ownership and Repair Scheme (AOCRS) for compensation. In the case of a jet liner, passengers who fly from one carrier to another should take the time to go through the annual airplane inspection. They should check and see if the jet liner has ever been cited under the AOCRS. If so, passengers should sign the sheet provided by the company with the necessary information about the airline and the exact location where the aircraft was last inspected. A diligent steward, who has the knowledge and experience, can spot problems years before a plane takes off again.