Aircraft inspections, maintenance, and overhauls are by necessity a lengthy and involved process. Even the simplest procedures must be inspected and verified to ensure that the aircraft is airworthy before being returned to the owner, a process that can last weeks or months if done inefficiently. To avoid costly delays, here are five tips for when you’re planning an aircraft repair, inspection, or overhaul job.
Firstly, know the MRO’s in-house capabilities. Most MROs and repair stations don’t have 100% maintenance capabilities, and cannot perform every possible task in-house. A repair station that specializes in structural repair might not be able to deal with an issue with the electrical connector system, for instance. This means that they will have to outsource, which is expensive and time-consuming. You don’t need a one-stop shop, but you should always research and keep in mind the common repairs your aircraft will need, FAA inspections and requirements, and what the prospective repair station you are considering is capable of.
Secondly, take an active part in the aircraft repair process. Provide the facility with discrepancy approvals as soon as they are detected rather than waiting for a later stage in the repair process. This will allow for a faster turnaround, and hopefully save money as well.
Next, be aware of the current and future maintenance status. Review your log books, and keep in mind what will need to be done in the near future, and see if you can integrate it into your current plans. If you are planning to refurbish your aircraft’s interior, for instance, see if you can incorporate other inspections and overhauls into what will be a several-week-long process to see if you can save yourself time in the future.
When you’re preparing your briefing on the aircraft for the maintenance crew, be sure to be detailed about issues you encounter while flying: when you lose aircraft engine power, when the control surfaces become unresponsive, when pressurization drops, etc. This information will make it much easier for the repair crew to hone in on the exact problem, accelerating the repair process.
Lastly, communicate! Give your contact information to the project manager of your aircraft, as well as how you prefer to be contacted so that you can respond quickly and effectively. Enabling some form of video and picture sharing can help as well, as it will allow mechanics to seamlessly show you what they are doing, and get your approval to continue.
In short: start early, plan deeply, and communicate ceaselessly. Do this, and your repair process should be drastically improved.
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