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Whats involved in changing CAMO and maintenance outfit in Germany and D reg maintenance in the UK -any experience?

I have a D reg late 60's Mooney with an IFR fit (and German IFR certificate) which has been maintained (pretty well I think) since import by the same outfit in central Germany.

I've stayed with them in my first 3 years of ownership.

But it's a long way from NE England for maintenance.

So I'm considering moving to a UK CAMO and engineering shop (EASA 145, part XYZ certified etc). Mainly because it would be much more convenient but also I think quite a bit cheaper (the way 100hr checks and annuals are done together but seemingly charged separately and the ' labour' checking each and every panel instrument for the IFR certificate is a little 'steep'). In terms of aircraft delivery for maintenance and me getting home and estimates of annual costs mean it might save me a thousand or two a year. I plan to leave it on the D reg.

So 2 questions... 1) I'm a bit 'nervous' (silly really I know) about breaking the news to the German shop that I might leave. They're nice guys, who've on the whole done a good job. Is moving CAMO and maintenance shop in Germany often done and straightforward? How does one do it? What should I expect or ask of the shop I'm leaving? Would they give me an up to date aircraft 'statement' of the present state for the aircraft (defects carried over and calendar lifed items summary or whatever) for me to take to the new guys? Or any other summary of the maintenance records (which go back 40yrs!). Or do they keep the records for some minimum time? ( obviously I have the owner held records) Any experience/ thoughts / tips from those of you with experience of German engineering outfits (and especially changing them) gratefully received.

2) are any of you UK based and using a UK outfit as CAMO and or Workshop on a D reg aircraft? And what has your experience been (and which shop if you can say). Theoretically it should all be easy in EASA land but in practice (of dealing with the LBA and doing an ARC on a foreign reg machine might prove too much of a headache for many UK shops. There are many little differences (eg no Airframe/ engine/ prop logbook trio but a unified 'bordbuch' to name one of many. I called a few of the 'medium' size outfits and most made general positive noises but sounded rather vague about detail/ paperwork practicalities and none said they presently or recently have had any D reg a/c on their books. Only one is really looking into it by contacting the LBA to find out what issues might lie in wait.

And of course any other thoughts and observations would be great. As to the move altogether- I can see real pros and cons of staying put and leaving but thought I'd be foolish not to consider more local solutions!

Thanks all,

Justin

EGNV and Fishburn Airfield

the ' labour' checking each and every panel instrument for the IFR certificate is a little 'steep'

Doing your maintenance in the UK while staying on D-reg will not relieve you from having to perform the expensive annual avionics check. While the aircraft is on D-reg, your maintenance company has to comply with German regulations.

What should I expect or ask of the shop I'm leaving?

You should have everything already. The aircraft documents are called "L-Akte" in German and together with each invoice you should receive documentation including everything you mentioned. I switched shops this year and didn't have to do anything, actually told the old shop after the fact.

No professional shop should object to you switching shops for good reason. Even when you're switching for no reason. I would be very surprised if there were any issues at all.

I called a few of the 'medium' size outfits and most made general positive noises but sounded rather vague about detail/ paperwork practicalities and none said they presently or recently have had any D reg a/c on their books.

That is an issue and IMO would be best solved by moving to a unified EU-registry without any national CAAs involved. I can see that D-reg in the UK might be rare because both are large nations and typically maintain their own aircraft.

What you see a lot is foreign aircraft maintained by German shops. My shop has ca. 50% foreign registered aircraft so they are experienced. A lot of the smaller European countries do not have sufficiently experienced shops for certain types and Germany's labor costs have decreased relative to its neighbors. I have seen G-regs in my shop, mostly aircraft bought from the UK and left on the register. My recommendation is to go for a shop that has experience with D-reg, you don't want to risk incorrect paperwork. The alternative is to move to G-reg of course.

PS: a good maintenance shop is very hard to find. Make sure you switch to one that is at least as good...

< I can see that D-reg in the UK might be rare because both are large nations and typically maintain their own aircraft.

There are plenty D-regs in UK. 2 at my home base.

EGBE - Coventry

Thanks for your thoughts on it chaps. I do have L-akte Achim, I was wondering if I shouldnexpect any kind of state of the aircraft summary or something but I guess not. I was hoping or of the D reg owners in th UK might also see this and give me a pointer as to where they go in the UK (assuming it is the UK) and what problems they encountered if any. mdoerr - do recall the reg of the German registered aircraft (at Coventry I presume?). Perhaps I could ask them where they go for maintenance?

Yes choosing a shop is hard. Almost nothing to go on and folk seem highly reluctant to report experiences good or bad in public!

Thanks again! J

EGNV and Fishburn Airfield

One thing to consider carefully is whether the existing shop has anything that you may need one day.

For example when I bought my plane in 2002, from Air Touring, they did some avionics work on it. Later, as I was learning about the "ownership game" I asked them for some work packs. They gave me some but refused to give me the avionics ones, saying the design was their intellectual property.

One example was the installation of a KI229 RMI, with a switch selecting the VOR needle to run off NAV1 or NAV2.

Now I know that this is pretty trivial to do (the KI229 can take in the composite NAV signal so you just need to switch that, plus (not so trivial) you also need to switch the ILS ENERGISE wire so the needle gets parked when an ILS frequency is selected on the radio) but they would not give it to me. Notwithstanding the fact that it took them a couple of goes to make it work...

Years later, after they went bust, I was offered a load of papers by the administrator, and in there was some of this stuff.

You probably don't want to say goodbye to service/work records like that.

BUT it is difficult to ask for the work pack without appearing to be aggressive. So I suspect most people do lose a lot of service history when they move away from a firm, because they understandably don't want to upset them.

Whether this affects the market value of a plane depends on what it is. Avionics, probably not. But AD compliance, definitely hugely so (unless the buyer is stupid and had not got a competent engineer to do a prebuy) especially if the compliance cannot be verified visually and by component S/N.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

BUT it is difficult to ask for the work pack without appearing to be aggressive.

Wow, that is totally unacceptable. I would never do anything with a shop that wouldn't give me all documentation right away without being asked for it. At any time I have to be in a position to choose shops or sell the aircraft without even talking to any maintenance shop that worked on my aircraft.

Last time I noticed some discrepancies in the wire plan of an avionics change, I complained and immediately got a revised diagram. Nothing less is acceptable.

Well obviously I agree. It's OK if you make it clear before you start that you want all work packs copied. For example I did that with a firm I used for my Annuals (2 firms actually, over a few years).

The diplomatic problem is if you don't make that clear and then come back after a few years and ask for them.

I had a big showdown with one "well known" engine/component overhaul firm who absolutely refused, citing several so obviously crap excuses that one had to laugh. In the end I threw away their £800 D3000 magneto overhaul and did it again by Quality Aircraft Accesories in Tulsa, USA.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Good point Peter. I had been wondering if the original shop keep records 'just in case' they (or I) need them, or just sling them as Im not their problem anymore. AD compliance is pretty well documented in the records (the L-Akte Achim described).

It really is a quandry. Out of the frying pan into the fire possibly!

j

EGNV and Fishburn Airfield

Interesting thread and somewhat relevant to my situation. Following a litany of maintenance issues, the piece de la resistance being this

http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/Cessna%20R182%20Skylane%20G-WIFE%2003-13.pdf - we are in the process of changing our maintainer/CAMO.

Whilst not really parting on good terms, we have made a point of paying everything in full, even though we have had to incur quite a bit of costs getting remedial work done else where.

We have taken possession of our logbooks but they are proving difficult with regard to releasing all the maintenance documentation. I received the following options from them today;

  1. If you require ALL paperwork including all Form 1s then this will take us weeks to go through every job, every part issued and then track back through archives for Release notes. The cost for you would be prohibitive – into £thousands rather than £ hundreds.

  2. We can gather together all the workpacks back to Sept 2007 and photo copy them for you. Cost £250 – this would take a full day to do.

  3. We can gather all the info and let you take it away with you, after signing for it. Cost £75.

For option 3 it appears we wont get the Form 1s. Im personally yet to understand why it will cost thousands to locate these, are they not help with the work packs etc?

They've also told me they are obliged to notify who our new CAMO is. They dont say who they are obliged to notify but it would be reasonable to assume they mean the CAA. I spoke with our local CAA office today who advised they werent aware of any obligation on the old CAMO.

Sounds like the German model is a lot more sensible regards providing documentation with the invoice. Ive rarely/never seen anything to support an invoice.

[URL fixed - Peter]

Bigamy Rules
RAF Kirknewton

For option 3 it appears we wont get the Form 1s. Im personally yet to understand why it will cost thousands to locate these, are they not help with the work packs etc?

(Caveat: I have never run a maintenance company)

The traceability docs (EASA 1, 8130-3 etc) do normally go into the work pack. Where else can they go? In the work pack for my TAS605 system I have the 8130-3 forms, for the major parts.

But you don't really need these forms after the work is done. They have value if somebody suspects that something dodgy was going on e.g. the shop re-using scrapped parts supported by forms which came with other parts; this is obviously easy for anything that doesn't carry a serial number. There have been some high profile cases of this in the UK. After a part is installed, the form has (in theory) no value, because the part is no longer new and a Part 145 company is needed to generate a fresh one.

But I think the only parts for which keeping the forms is really important are major bits like the engine, the prop, major landing gear parts, etc. Almost nobody keeps the forms for the small bits like screws, wire, fuses... and anyway many of those come in say a packet of 100 covered by a single form, so to do it 100% diligently you would have to photocopy that same form for every work pack in which that item is used.

The work pack should still reference the form by number, so there is traceability back to it, and a copy of the form will (in theory) be on file at the component manufacturer.

If a shop won't give you the work pack itself, it could just be that they didn't bother to keep any records of what they did. That is bad, and they could get busted for that, but it's a problem for you really only if you want to do a registry transfer. Most old planes have incomplete maintenance records....

Sounds like the German model is a lot more sensible regards providing documentation with the invoice. Ive rarely/never seen anything to support an invoice.

I think Achim happens to have a good relationship with his CAMO. I don't think that is particularly normal in Germany any more than in the UK. He is a smart customer and the people he deals with can see they won't get away with anything.

If you ask for the work pack before the work commences, they will give it to you with the (paid) invoice.

What I used to do with one firm I used for the Annuals for a few years was I borrowed the work pack, took it outside and photographed it on the tarmac in the car park. It took only minutes... They were happy because it didn't cost them any time or money. And the Annual work pack on a TB20 is c. 200 pages because it includes the MM pages with all the boxes to tick, and obviously all the boxes are always ticked

This business is like the new American law about Conflict Minerals - the biggest load of bollox since ISO9000. My US distributor tells me that we are supposed to locate the gold smelter in which the gold on our Chinese-made bare PCBs is smelted, and prove the gold comes from an approved country (in Africa probably). It's a box ticking exercise...

They've also told me they are obliged to notify who our new CAMO is

Nonsense.

Re the landing gear failure: it is quite normal for maintainers to not do proper lubing. They tend to use liquid oil, which is far easier than greasing which needs dismantling, cleaning, etc. This is probably the main reason why retractables get such a bad press on the aviation chat sites. Many old retractables have a landing gear which is shagged, due to crap lubrication and sometimes also due to people flying to filthy strips. It's always going to be hard to get this job done right. I used to pay 3k for an Annual in which all the boxes were ticked (and these definitely included using grease) but the company wanted about £300 extra for actually doing it with grease! So you may have to do a "deal" like that no matter where you go.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
14 Posts
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