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If you don't know the regs, you will overpay for maintenance (FAA).

Out of the many strings you need on your bow as an aircraft owner is a good understanding of the regulations and what and what not is required. Or, if you don’t have that, like me, then a good place to ask about them . I’ll give you a recent case example, where I myself had to double check with others that the regs with were correct:

Aircraft is overdue for it’s 5 year prop overhaul. It’s a 5 year/3000hr “limit”. Now, this is an SB, not an AD, so it’s not mandatory to comply with this part 91, but probably a good idea. But that’s not what this post is about, instead it’s Hartzell’s enforcement of it. The only way they comply with the SB, in their world, is to do an overhaul. And an overhaul means to grind down the blades (actually remove material), reshape them and then repaint them. But the wording of overhauls is never mandatory (unless sit’s in the TCDS) part 91.

Anyway, long story short, maintenance shop comes back with the $17K overhaul quote which entails the grinding as you can see below. But it made no sense to grind down and actually remove material from a set of props that were almost new. In fact, I can’t think of any situation where a ground down and reshaped prop has more failure margin than one that hasn’t? But if you grind the blades as they mandate, you’ll eventually fail the inspection (come the second or third cycle) and then they can sell you new set of blades….

Anyway, after a lot of back and forth, they found a prop shop that would inspect and reseal the props and bring them back to service and comply with the SB the way it’s written, not the way Hartzell want’s it complied with. Cost went from$17K to $8K in a heartbeat. A considerably savings.

Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 31 Jan 05:13

How true.

I have just been in contact with a pilot, in Europe, N-reg, who bought an item without paperwork (a simple item, trivial to inspect) whose maintenance company says they are not legally allowed to install it. There is so much of this stuff… money-making because there is a margin on the supply of parts. I told him to find a friendly A&P…

I have seen this a lot of with N-reg owners here in Europe. They tend to pay more than EASA-reg owners, though this may be partly because the planes are usually higher spec so “the owner must have money”.

However it is true in all of life. The less you know, the more you pay. If you do what so many owners do – drop the plane at the dealer with a signed blank cheque on the seat – you will always pay more.

Prop overhaul should be based on condition. There is no evidence supporting a purely timed overhaul. And opening up a Hartzell 3B prop and inspecting it is “cheap” – of the order of 300 quid, plus the cost of new seals, against 10s to 15x that for an overhaul. The inspection should be done based on external condition, including any grease leakage.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I am one of those owners who has a very good maintenance organisation and have never fealt overcharged on anything. However as is said above, knowledge is a very valuable asset. What is the regulation on an EASA aircraft then about prop “overhauls” and the time limits. Having read the above I am now confused. I have a McCauley constant speed.

UK, United Kingdom

This is a good tip! My prop is due this fall. Based on the five years, not the hours of service. I struggle with this stuff, allthough I’m happy with my maintenance company so far. I try to keep up to speed with the regulations concerning maintenance. They invited me to help out with the next inspection, that should be good!

EHTE

Bobo wrote:

They invited me to help out with the next inspection, that should be good!

This has come up before here

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I always call our annuals not “owner assisted maintenace” but “owner retarded maintenance” :-)

Andreas IOM

Is it normal that a maintenance organisation doesn’t want you to order parts yourself ? I’m looking at an engine remanufacture but the quote my maintenance guy got is about $ 8K more than what I got. This is excluding transport, labour, extra parts,… Ideally I’d order it myself but apparently this is not how they work.

EBST, Belgium

airways wrote:

Is it normal that a maintenance organisation doesn’t want you to order parts yourself ? I’m looking at an engine remanufacture but the quote my maintenance guy got is about $ 8K more than what I got. This is excluding transport, labour, extra parts,… Ideally I’d order it myself but apparently this is not how they work.

Yes it is. They add to their parts prices, so they prefer you not to source them themselves.

Another example: needed a 3rd wheel turbine stage. If I did the replacement work at the shop he would charge me $2800 for the used part. If I just bough the part to bring to another shop, the same part increased to $4800. I can understand the principle, but if you add all of these little markups together, it can be a huge difference. So you need to weed as many of them out as possible and accept the ones you can’t easily affect.

Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 31 Jan 14:01

The service bulletins are not usually FAA mandatory. My McCauley C-406 recommended time between overhauls for the hub is 2000 hours or 60 months.The prop has a mandatory 10,000 hour service life. Mine was installed new in 1991 and resealed in 2007 and in 2016.Both reseals were IRAN (Inspect and Repair as Necessary). In both cases, other than the reseal and regrease, they were in perfect condition. They did need the reseal as the grease was old. My Bonanza has a SB that requires the wing bolts be removed, inspected, and retorqued every 5 years and replaced after 15 years. This is not required by an AD and there has never been a reported failure of a wing bolt in the 70+ year history of the type. My aircraft was manufactured Dec 1967 and still has the original wing bolts as they have never been removed, but they are inspected for any external corrosion annually and torque has been checked a few times.

From time to time, I have disagreed with a shop doing an annual regarding whether a service bulletin was required or not. Without an AD, they are optional. I have had shops sign off annuals as unairworthy and provide me or the owner with a discrepancy list. This satisfies the annual inspection requirement. I then have an A&P return the aircraft to service by responding to the discrepancies. If necessary, i get a ferry permit to relocate the aircraft. If a repair was necessary, it was accomplished. If the discrepancy was not mandated to be repaired, the A&P would just indicate the aircraft was returned to service. These kind of squawks don’t need to go into the logbook and even if they did, the annual record does not need to be kept more than one year or to when the next annual is accomplished.

KUZA, United States
12 Posts
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