Current Rates for Condition Inspections on NON-Builder EAB Aircraft (in the US)

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Toobuilder

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I won't argue with you any more about it, but I still think it's not obvious one way or the other - I think my argument wrt 91.417 is just as reasonable as the opposite side's :). And that none of this matters, in the end :).

For the record, my prior response was not an argument - just stating my reasoning. But I completely agree that it is less than clear one way or the other. It's really my own (relatively specific) experience with configuration management concepts that tips the scales in my mind.

But I am also not the least worried that you or I are going to find ourselves in an enforcement action defending our respective record keeping processes. On the list of things to worry about, that is WAY down on my personal list.
 

BBerson

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Oh, contrare! Record keeping is ALL on the owner/operator, not the mechanic/inspector. As an A&P/IA, I keep my own records, but if the owner forgets to bring the logbooks, and I know the airplane, it‘s no big deal to me that the log entries don’t get written immediately after she passes her inspection. I rarely do stickers, because: where will they end up?
Agreed. But I was only referring to the case of an IA releasing an aircraft and records back to the owner without fixing the defects and then releasing it without providing a list of discrepancies or anything.
How do you handle the approval sign off for an owner assisted condition inspection? Do you travel to a distant airport in a motor home and stay a week and help or do the repairs and sign it approved exactly IAW (in accordance with) the operating limitation? Or something else.
 

Marc Zeitlin

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How do you handle the approval sign off for an owner assisted condition inspection? Do you travel to a distant airport in a motor home and stay a week and help or do the repairs and sign it approved exactly IAW (in accordance with) the operating limitation? Or something else.
So here's what _I_ do. I have a hangar with all my appropriate facilities in Tehachapi, CA. If possible, my customers come to me - probably about 2/3 of them do that for the CI. We work together on taking the plane apart to the extent necessary, we go over everything together, and if there are things that would preclude me from saying that the aircraft "is in a condition for safe operation", we fix them. All work performed is written up in PDF's for the aircraft/engine logs that I send to the owner (and keep copies for myself). Once we have buttoned up and op-checked the aircraft, I provide CI signoff PDF's for both the aircraft and engine logs (only the aircraft signoff is required, but I like to do both).

Now, for the 1/3 of folks that DON'T come to me, I either fly my plane to them or go commercial with a small set of tools. I ensure that they have the requisite tools to perform the inspection (I have a list of what's required on my web page) and we do exactly the same thing that I'd do in my hangar with respect to inspecting the plane. Now, the issue appears when there's something that precludes the signoff, but we don't have the resources locally to fix them. That almost never happens when they're in Tehachapi, but when at a place like, say, Ohkay Owingeh (E14) north of Santa Fe, NM (which has exactly zero facilities other than a gas pump that sometimes works if you've sacrificed the right goat) I will not provide the PDF's of the signoff until, as mentioned in a previous post, the owner has documented the fixes (done by them or someone else I trust). Once I receive appropriate documentation that convinces me that the aircraft is, in fact, "in a condition for safe operation", I will provide the PDF of the signoff to the owner.

Other's may have different systems - this is what I've developed and which has worked well for me over the past 10 years or so.
 

BBerson

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Excellent Marc, I was just about to ask and there it is…
You provide an apparently unique and valuable service. I say unique because I searched for “condition inspection service” and found nothing. I will certainly recommend to owners.
Back to original post, the cost varies from free to unlimited. If you take your EA-B to the airport FBO/Cirrus dealer and hand a blank check and “call when it's ready” the cost might be more than you paid for the aircraft.

Here is a related AC I stumbled upon last night. Unfortunately, the AC search engine doesn’t work much.
 
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JayKoit

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Thanks everyone, lots of useful info here. I've just been sitting back and soaking in all the additional knowledge being shared that I never expected...that's one of my favorite things about this place.
 

DanH

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Question please...

Most auto shops won't touch a car without a signed work order, as it provides some liability protection (by defining the service requested), and generally includes legal language to enforce payment for that service.

Do any of the independent A&P's here use a formal work order? Anyone care to share a sample?
 
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If I know the owner, and he’s assisting me, I don’t bother. If it‘s a doctor or lawyer (I’ve been taken by both), I get a $5000 retainer up front...I don’t often work on their planes because they can afford the big box shops. The work order is no different than the forms a garage or other trades use. They might even be available at Staples or the like, or you could download one off the internet.
 

Marc Zeitlin

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Do any of the independent A&P's here use a formal work order?
Heh. I obviously can't speak for anyone else, but I sure don't. While cars (and moreso, TC'd aircraft) are fairly well defined, with maintenance manuals, etc., EVERY DANG E-AB AIRCRAFT IS UNIQUE. So depending upon the job, I may give a written ESTIMATE, and I make it very clear that what I say is an estimate, NOT a quote, and that depending upon what nonsense I find when I start digging, the #'s may go up.

Mostly, estimates will be used for well defined work, like a Pre-Buy examination or condition inspection, particularly with travel, but with larger, poorly defined jobs (I'm in the beginning of doing a wiring completion on a COZY MKIV, and I handwaved 100 hours at the owner, but as I start, I find that I have had to rewire most of the engine compartment, and we'll ahve to spend a couple of days repairing holes that the previous owner had drilled in the spar cap for wiring pass-throughs. Yep) I just give a range of expected times. So this MKIV may end up being 150 hours or so, by the time we're through, or more, depending upon what I find as I move forward (geographically) in the plane. For something like a wheel pants install, I'll tell people a small range - say 20 - 25 hours of labor, and can usually hit it pretty closely.

For almost all of what _I_ do, a formal work order would be obsolete about 10 minutes after the owner agreed to it. All of my customers understand that they have unique planes and only one of them used to be pissy about how long things took and how much I charged. So I started giving him invoices that basically said:

"Here's what I'd charge a normal customer, given how much work I did, but YOU can pay me whatever you want and think is reasonable, as long as you cover my out of pocket expenses".​

The complaints stopped after that, and he pays what the invoice says.

In ~370 chargeable jobs over the past 9 - 10 years, I've only had one guy try to stiff me on the bill, and his wife convinced him that he was an idiot and didn't understand what a Pre-Buy was for, if he thought that he shouldn't have to pay if the results weren't what he wanted, so he paid up.

Maybe I've been very lucky, but I work on my word and a handshake.
 

TFF

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That is the big takeaway is almost all these are handshake deals. What threads like this only want to talk about is nuclear explosions. They are rare as hen’s teeth in my world and everyone I know who does this work.

If one is one to collect these issues, it’s probably not the people you are hiring. Weak A&Ps learn pretty quick they don’t need to be on their own, and should stay an employee not a business owner. What in the end that really happens to either the owner or mechanic is word gets around, and they either can’t get their stuff worked on or get work. The problem ends up taking care of it’s self in a year or two.

In aviation, integrity has really been a high bar in all dealings on all sides. Outside aviation does not like that, and is always trying to erode its tradition. They can’t match it. That tends to be what happens, non aviation trying to bully aviation. Problem people tend to not be in aviation.
 
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Maybe I've been very lucky, but I work on my word and a handshake.
Compared to my experience, primarily in the automotive world, I'd have to say there is NO maybe about it. My limited experience in the aviation field is too limited to say if there is much difference.

I won't touch a customer's property without a signed work order that includes an acknowledgement that the quote is only an estimate and what will happen if there are unexpected problems*. If they want a bid they sign a work order for a pre-repair inspection and diagnosis.

* in some states we can't charge more than 10% (varries by state) above the 'estimate' for auto repair without further authorization from the owner.
Same kind of thing is happening now with medical billing. Giving small clinics and independents a big added paper work load because they have to give pre-exam 'estimates'. They kind of have to guess at the ICD-10 codes that will result based on the phone call for the appointment.
It is the few people that try to game the system that gives us these little problems that reduce our productivity. and generate Z01.30 codes
/Rant

I hope TFF observation about a higher level of integrity in the aviation world remains strong in the future.🤞
 

Pops

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I have never had a inspection where I was not completely happy. Have had owner assist inspections and inspections were I dropped the airplane off and told to call when I can pick it up. To me every inspection I have had has been a good fair and honest inspection.
Aviation is small in this state and almost everyone knows everyone else in aviation.
BTW-- WV's senator Manchin is a WV pilot and is well known at most of the airports. Last time I saw him he was flying a Piper Chieftain. Several years ago when he was governor.
 

Wanttaja

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I have never had a inspection where I was not completely happy. Have had owner assist inspections and inspections were I dropped the airplane off and told to call when I can pick it up. To me every inspection I have had has been a good fair and honest inspection.
I've had four different A&Ps do the Condition Inspection of my Fly Baby, and another with an IA that did the annuals on my old Cessna 150. *Never* felt any of them mistreated me to pushed for work that wasn't required. I argued...gently...with them when I thought it was necessary*, but never lost sight of it being their license on the line, not mine.

I agree there are crooks out there, but get feedback from other folks prior to taking your plane to a new A&P.

Ron Wanttaja

* Example: A&P pointed out that my Fly Baby's logbooks did not reflect an AD notice on the magnetos from 1969. I rubbed my chin and muttered something about, "well, it's worked fine for the past 25 years" but I ended up executing the AD. I did the required inspection myself and made the log entry; he took my word on it.
 

Marc Zeitlin

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* Example: A&P pointed out that my Fly Baby's logbooks did not reflect an AD notice on the magnetos from 1969. I rubbed my chin and muttered something about, "well, it's worked fine for the past 25 years" but I ended up executing the AD. I did the required inspection myself and made the log entry; he took my word on it.
Hah! And here we get into the next can of worms, which is "Do AD's apply to E-AB aircraft?". We know that since the FAA clarified the issue, AD's DO apply if the wording of the AD explicitly says "including <x> aircraft, or ANY aircraft that has <y> installed" (or words to that effect), but what about all the AD's written wrt engines or appliances that are installed on E-AB aircraft, but didn't explicitly have that language in them? Do they apply?

In your case, I can guarantee you that the application language was NOT included in any AD written in 1969, so I would argue that your A&P may strongly recommend that you comply, but unless he believed that not complying would render the aircraft NOT "in a condition for safe operation", he couldn't actually compel you to comply.

Again, the intelligence of ignoring an AD that indicates that your crankshaft may break, even if it's not legally required to comply, can be argued, but purely from a requirements standpoint, this is akin to the great 91.417 debate :).
 

Pops

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When I had the JMR homebuilt inspected by the FAA, the inspector ask if I had any certified parts. There was 3, both Slick mags and the Carb. No AD's per serial numbers. Had the list to show him. He didn't want to see, just took my word for it. He pointed to the wheel and brakes, No, bought a Matco kit.
 

Wanttaja

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In your case, I can guarantee you that the application language was NOT included in any AD written in 1969...
Close, though:

69-09-01 EISEMANN: Amdt. 39-784. Applies to all type AM-4, AM-6, LA-4, and LA-6 Eisemann magnetos installed
on, but not necessarily limited to:
Continental A-50 Series
Continental A-65 Series
Continental A-75 Series
Continental A-80 Series
Continental C-75 Series
Continental C-85 Series...


"...installed on, but not limited to...."

My magnetos were as specified (LA-4, IIRC), and of course, my C85 was still carrying the Continental data plate.

As it was, it just amounted to opening up the back of the mag, checking the color of the coil, and slapping it back together again.

Ron Wanttaja
 

Wanttaja

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My C-85 doesn't have a data plate. Built from parts. :)
Drilling out four rivets might have saved me a couple of magneto gasket kits and some time. :)

But then there's that pesky, "But not limited to..." clause.

Ron Wanttaja
 

Pops

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My engine is built from parts , not all parts are from a C-85, just some. No difference than a parts built VW engine. It doesn't say Cont anywhere. It could have Chevy pistons in it. Just like the VW engine can have chevy rods in it.

One time I built a flat bed truck. 1964 VW Bug pan ( floor) and suspension , Chevy wheels, Ford electric windshield wiper motor, Renault 10 rear tail lights, Fiber glass Baja front hood,nose and front fenders, 1957 VW body cut in half at the beginning of the rear windows, fiberglass back of the cab, VW body from windshield to rear of front seats, homemade 5'x 5' steel flat bed frame with varnished wood bed and cattle rack. Hot rod large cc VW engine. My Oshkosh runner for several years. Was it a VW ? or an Assembled auto title?
 

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