8900.1 CHG 562



Section 7  Evaluating and Inspecting Part 91 Aircraft


    Maintenance: 3681.

    Avionics: 5681.

6-1-7-3    OBJECTIVE. This chapter provides guidance for evaluating and inspecting aircraft operated per Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91.

6-1-7-5    INSPECT AND EVALUATE AIRCRAFT. Per part 91, § 91.403, the owner/operator is responsible for maintaining the aircraft in an Airworthy condition. The aviation safety inspector (ASI) is tasked with inspecting the aircraft to verify that it is Airworthy. Several types of inspection programs are available to part 91 owner/operators. Part 91 programs under § 91.409(f)(4) must be submitted and approved by a responsible Flight Standards office. Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 2 provides guidance on these programs. The following programs apply to part 91 aircraft, excluding part 91 subpart K (part 91K) operations. For part 91K operations, see Volume 6, Chapter 2, Section 17.

A.    Annual and 100-Hour Inspections. Annual and 100-hour inspections must be accomplished using a checklist as required by 14 CFR part 43, § 43.15(c). The checklist must include the scope and detail of part 43 appendix D, at a minimum. Helicopters have additional inspection requirements as defined in § 43.15(b).

1)    Annual Inspections. Aircraft subject to the requirements of § 91.409(a) may not be operated unless they have been inspected in accordance with an annual inspection and approved for return to service within the preceding 12 months. The minimum scope and detail is defined in part 43 appendix D.
2)    The 100-Hour Inspection. Under certain conditions as stated in § 91.409(b), aircraft must be inspected in accordance with a 100-hour inspection (or annual) inspection within the preceding 100 hours of time in service. The minimum scope and detail of a 100-hour inspection is defined in part 43 appendix D. These inspections are required in addition to annual inspections under the following situations:

    Aircraft are operated for carrying persons for compensation or hire; or

    Aircraft are used for flight instructions if furnished by the flight instructor.

B.    Progressive Inspections. The progressive inspection must be a complete inspection of the aircraft, conducted in stages, with all stages being completed within 12 calendar-months.

C.    Large Airplane (Over 12,500 lb), Turbine-Powered (Turbojet and Turbopropeller) Multiengine Airplane, and Turbine-Powered Rotorcraft Inspection Programs. These aircraft must be inspected according to an inspection program selected by the owner/operator. Section 91.409(f) outlines various options available to the owner/operator.

D.    Other Inspections. Experimental, light-port, and provisional aircraft have their inspection requirements set forth in their operating limitations used in accordance with § 91.327(b).

6-1-7-7    EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT INSPECTION PROGRAMS. Aircraft having experimental Airworthiness Certificates are not subject to the inspection requirements of § 91.409(a) or (b). They must have inspection programs that have been developed which are specific to the aircraft, approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and referenced in the operating limitations that are part of the experimental Airworthiness Certificate. The following describes special considerations for certain types of aircraft:

A.    Experimental Aircraft. When evaluating experimental aircraft, consider:

1)    Substituting Materials or Replacement Parts. Refer to:

    Accepted FAA procedures;

    A recognized industry standard, based on dimensions and technical data provided by the manufacturer; or

    Information provided by an appropriate engineering evaluation, when making repairs involving the substitution of materials or replacement parts.

2)    Complying with Life Limits of Articles. Owner/operators must comply with the life limits of articles specified in applicable technical publications in one of the following manners:
a)    For type-certificated (TC) products, replacement of life-limited parts required by § 91.409(e) is only applicable to experimental aircraft when required replacement times are specified in the U.S. aircraft specifications or a Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS).
b)    For non-TC’d products, operators must include a level of safety acceptable to the FAA in their inspection program for all installed articles for which the manufacturer has specified limits. Although the FAA recommends adherence to part replacements, an Acceptable Level of Safety (ALoS) for non-TC’d products is allowable. The article must be inspected to ensure the equivalent level of safety (ELOS) still renders the product in a serviceable condition for safe operation.
3)    Extension of Component Life Limits. The applicant may submit data with a request to a responsible Flight Standards office to extend the life limit on specific components of the aircraft beyond life limits recommended by the manufacturer or the military technical order. If FAA approval is granted, the office should issue a letter to the operator that specifies the specific aircraft and items to be extended. In cases where the data listed is unavailable or cannot be substantiated, the components will not be eligible for extension of life limits. The data submitted by the applicant should contain the following information:
a)    Original strength, stress, and fatigue data for the aircraft and the pertinent parts, including other parts affected by changes of the life limits and inspection intervals.
b)    Methodology used by the designers while developing the life limits and inspection intervals.
c)    The operational history of the aircraft and parts, since usage affects life limits and inspection intervals.
d)    The service history of the aircraft and pertinent parts, including repairs and modifications affecting the strength, stress, and fatigue characteristics of the parts and their effects on part life limits and inspection intervals.
e)    For ex-military parts, how present operational usage differs from prior military usage.
f)    Evidence that the applicant’s inspection or testing techniques (e.g., nondestructive inspection (NDI) or Nondestructive Testing (NDT)) are comparable to manufacturer or military techniques.
g)    Evidence that the owner/operator’s methodology produces at least as safe a product as the manufacturer’s or military’s approach, such as damage-tolerance (DT) with inspections versus safe-life with automatic removal.
h)    A procedure to inspect the component to a physical standard and for NDT, where applicable.

6-1-7-9    COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS. This task requires coordination between Airworthiness ASIs.


A.    References (current editions):

Indicates new/changed information.

    Title 14 CFR Parts 39, 43, 65, and 91.

    Advisory Circular (AC) 39-7, Airworthiness Directives.

    AC 43-9, Maintenance Records.

    AC 43.9-1, Instructions for Completion of FAA Form 337.

    AC 91-90, Part 91 Approved Inspection Programs.

Indicates new/changed information.

    Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 2, Inspect a Part 91 Inspection Program.

    Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 3, Inspect Part 91 Maintenance Records.

Indicates new/changed information.

B.    Forms. None.

Indicates new/changed information.

C.    Job Aids. Job Task Analysis (JTA): (GA) 2.5.1.

6-1-7-13    PROCEDURES.

A.    Conduct Surveillance of the Aircraft. Examine the aircraft to determine that it is Airworthy and in a condition for safe operation to the extent possible. Ensure that the inspection is accomplished, either in the presence of or with specific approval from the owner/operator.

1)    Inspect the Airworthiness Certificate. Ensure that the Airworthiness Certificate is current, correct, and in the aircraft.
2)    Inspect the Registration Certificate. Ensure that the certificate expiration date has not expired and is otherwise current and correct.
3)    Inspect the Aircraft. The following items are examples of items to be checked by sampling aircraft records and basic visual inspection procedures:
a)    The general condition of the aircraft appears to be Airworthy.
b)    The Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), or the pilot’s operating handbook (POH), appears to be current and complete.
c)    The aircraft appears to comply with applicable maintenance and equipment rules.
d)    The aircraft appears to comply with Airworthiness Directives (AD).
e)    The aircraft records indicate that life-limited parts requirements have been complied with.
f)    Properly certificated persons have been performing Maintenance and Inspections (M&I).
g)    Proper internal and external placarding.
h)    The aircraft records contain the required maintenance record entries of § 91.417.
i)    Obvious signs of excessive wear and deterioration, including corrosion, worn places on tires, nicks in the leading edge of the propeller blades, or broken windshields.
j)    Condition of fabric on fabric-covered control surfaces, wings, or fuselages.
k)    The interior of the aircraft for obvious deterioration.
l)    Tires and brakes for serviceability.
m)    Any other indication that would render the aircraft unsafe for flight.
n)    Condition of floats on seaplanes.
o)    Condition of rotors on rotorcraft.
p)    Items listed in the airworthiness limitations (AL) section have been complied with.
q)    Regulatory-based inspections, such as the emergency locator transmitter (ELT), altimeter, and transponder (TXPDR) checks have been accomplished.

B.    Review Maintenance Records. Ensure that persons approving and disapproving equipment for return to service after any required inspection have entered the inspection in the record of that equipment. Ensure that when an owner/operator maintains a single record, the entry for required inspections is made in that record. Ensure that if the owner/operator maintains separate records for the airframe, engines, powerplants, propellers, appliances, and components, the entry for required inspections is entered in each record, as applicable. Review records to verify compliance with §§ 43.11 and 91.417.

NOTE:  Recording of an annual inspection does not require an entry in each airframe, engine, and propeller logbook. The annual inspection is performed to the aircraft. The record entry only needs to be made in the airframe logbook. However, owners/operators can make the entry in each logbook, if they wish.

1)    Annual/100-Hour Inspection. Check that appropriate entries have been made and have met regulatory requirements.
2)    Progressive Inspection. Ensure that records indicate:

    Completion of an annual inspection before starting inspections under a progressive inspection program,

    Compliance with inspection intervals in the progressive program, and

    Completion of the inspection cycle within 12 calendar-months.

3)    Experimental, Light-Sport, and Provisional Aircraft Inspections. Ensure the records are kept as set forth in their operating limitations issued in accordance with § 91.327(b).
4)    Large Airplane (Over 12,500 lb) and Turbine-Powered (Turbojet and Turbopropeller) Multiengine Airplane Inspection Programs. Ensure that maintenance records indicate that the owner/operator has identified and is using a selected program per § 91.409(f). Ensure that this system reflects current airworthiness requirements for the airplane.
5)    Aircraft Records. If the aircraft records are available, review them per Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 3. This should include life-limited items.

6-1-7-15    TASK OUTCOMES.

A.    Complete the PTRS Record.

B.    Complete the Task. Successful completion of the task will result in assurance that the aircraft is maintained and inspected per applicable regulations.

6-1-7-17    FUTURE ACTIVITIES. Carefully monitor aircraft for compliance with appropriate 14 CFR parts and for continued airworthiness. Determine that maintenance practices are performed at an adequate level of safety. Direct particular attention to any areas where trends indicate a faulty inspection system or inadequate maintenance.

6-1-7-19 through 6-1-7-33 RESERVED.