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Post-maintenance check ?

Hi All,
I’m new to this forum, having discovered it a little while ago and until now just reading some interesting threads.
But now, i actually have a question.

I’m picking up an aircraft out of maintenance this week, and I’m wondering if some extra checks would be needed. or useful.
In the past I have done it several times. Taking into account the maintenance, I did an extra-thorough walk-around, and be even more careful on departure then usual. But nothing really out of the ordinary.

This time I visited the aircraft during the maintenance, seen how inspection panels are opened etc… And I have been thinking, would there be need to do additional checks ?

What do experienced flyers here think ?

EBTN, EBST, Belgium

Found six months after annual. They were wedged up underneath the engine block. Could only be found when taking bottom, full, inspection panels off. i.e. next check. Obviously as owner, it is my fault. Maintenance co, having charged me 6k, for a full and thorough annual, denied the grips were theirs. So, someone is creeping around airfields, placing tools in aeroplanes, in almost impossible places to discover. You have e been warned.

Last Edited by BeechBaby at 22 May 10:44
Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow

Even if you are physically present all the time and participate in working on your aircraft, you may be up for surprises. For example, this year after an annual I participated in, I discovered my right brake was inoperative because of a low fluid level in the master cylinder. A closer examination revealed a drop of fluid hanging off the bleed screw on the wheel caliper. It was not supposed to be touched, but I guess someone from the team (and I even suspect who it is) managed to disturb it.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

Facom tools! Nice :-)

I like the advice of Mike Busch, first flight after maintenance should be no pax, VFR, day, local, good wx.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EISG, Ireland

An extremely good question, sugarcube.

Since 2005 I am N-reg and for the last 5 years or so I have been using a freelance A&P/IA and I help him out. Previously I used various companies and would insist that they left the inspection covers open so I could do a quick visual check. Most of them didn’t like that, but if you read e.g. this (under Installer Performance) you can see this is based on good reasons; that was a “widely respected” FAA145 & EASA145 firm with every imaginable approval but they still let a monkey loose on the job, and the way they dealt with it at top management level was poor also which is arguably 2x worse.

Unfortunately there isn’t much you can check when you get the plane back, unless you remove the inspection and belly covers, which will take a few hours and is a pig to do outside a hangar unless it is a day with no weather or wind.

A respectable company would say they have no objection to a customer doing a visual check before they screw it all together, but we all know there are many exceptions, and this contains a great deal of truth.

As a consequence of these discussions a number of maintenance company people have “left” EuroGA (in reality they are still here but they mostly avoid posting, especially in response to questions from certain people ) but on balance it is better to be able to have these things discussed openly because of who ends up flying the plane and risking their life and that of their passengers?

Sadly if you search EuroGA for e.g. “maintenance” you find some stuff like this. This is more interesting not just because it probably went through half a dozen annuals like that (and that was a G-reg, under Part M) but because none of the people flying it queried the condition on a preflight check!

However this situation is never going to change. The GA maintenance business – both the good firms and the bad ones – struggles to make a living out of a community which is mostly short of cash, and this isn’t going to magically improve. From the owner’s point of view, the best way is to do maintenance with a good trusted freelance engineer, away from any company. That way, the buck stops right there with that one guy.

We have had many discussions on this here previously. It is possible on an N-reg and it is possible on an EASA-reg in certain circumstances below 1200kg (ELA1) and should one day become possible in certain circumstances over 1200kg (ELA2). However, many people can’t do it because they don’t have the contact(s) or don’t have a hangar in which they are allowed to work (due to airfield-political factors). Based on my contacts I would say the great majority of people who do have a suitable hangar still can’t do it. And the great majority of owners don’t want to get all that involved anyway; they just want to take their plane to a company and leave it there with a key on the seat.

first flight after maintenance should be no pax, VFR, day, local, good wx.

I have always done that. But I feel much better if I also inspected things.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

The GA maintenance business – both the good firms and the bad ones – struggles to make a living out of a community which is mostly short of cash, and this isn’t going to magically improve.

The solution is to remove the business element from this aspect of our hobby, at least as a mandatory factor written into regulations. Preservation of tax revenues does not justify political protection of nonproductive business.

I do most of the maintenance on my certified aircraft myself, under A&P supervison, and I think the introspection that follows having done some work (prior to flying the plane myself) has a genuine safely benefit. It’s amazing how ‘sleeping on it’ will sometimes result in a figurative light bulb coming on in my head, revealing some refinement or recheck that can be done. After that ‘cycle’ is complete I feel confidence settling in.

It’s also useful to have a second set of eyes for even trivial jobs: recently I’ve done some engine maintenance and was ready to recowl the plane. In response to that, my friend and A&P texted that he’ll need to have a look first… so the cowl is off until next weekend. Teamwork between friends works in reducing errors having potentially hazardous affect. The quality achieved is clearly higher than if I’d handed the plane over to the average shop.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 22 May 15:15

I’ve had numerous post maintenance issues, from the trivial to potentially serious. These worst have been fixings missing on a torque tube support leading to asymmetric flap deployment (TB10), nut missing from an elevator cable (PA18) and pressurisation left in system test mode (BE90)

On aircraft with a lot of breakers and switches it’s definitely required to go through very thorough checks. There are some switches that you switch on when you accept delivery of the aircraft and you never touch again;. HOWEVER. aircraft engineers always seem to leave all the switches in unexpected places, breakers get pulled, etc.

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

I used to argue, vainly I may add, that I pay you, (A REGULATED MAINTENANCE COMPANY), an expert, to manage this on my behalf. In this circumstance, it is my aeroplane. The one I fly myself and family in.

Given your industry is regulated, I can assume that regulation makes/prompts/necessitates, you to comply. I should, having paid you for that compliance/work, turn up, sign the release paper, and fly my airworthy, aircraft, away. Ehhhhh…..not so.

Once you have uncovered the various mess they have made to your aircraft, you decide to complain to the regulator, by way of MOR. Nothing happens. You then meet with said regulator, who tells you, it is your responsibility as owner and operator. You then return to maintenance company, who frankly do not care, ask for some money back to fix the disaster they have made, and guess what?

We have done this to death, many times, on these forums, and I certainly do not wish to start again. However, your most dangerous flight, will be the one after maintenance. That should give you a flavour of what you need to attempt to do.

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow


If your shop was the last to work on the plane (removed the cowl) then it is their fault whetever they say. A shop that would not find THAT is really useless, IMHO.

Last Edited by at 22 May 17:20

Alexis, I would agree entirely. Problem was, it was the local CAA inspector that told me it was my responsibility.

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow
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