Aircraft Documenting Inspection and Maintenance Records
The first job of an aircraft mechanic is to service and repair aircraft and all components and systems onboard. Once any maintenance or inspection has been done, the Code of Federal Regulations 43.9 and 43.11 require that the mechanic “make an entry in the maintenance record of that equipment.” That typically means writing down what was done to the aircraft in the aircraft’s log books.
In some cases, however, the mechanic does not have access to the logbook. Sometimes the logbooks are not with the aircraft, or the owner or operator forgot to bring them with the aircraft when they took it in for maintenance. Sometimes the owner/operator refuses to give the logbooks to the mechanic, preferring to maintain possession of them. While a mechanic can make handing over the logbooks for record entry a condition of performing repairs or inspections, there is no federal regulation that they do so. So, what is a mechanic to do?
It is worth noting that the regulations do not specifically required that the mechanic have physical custody of the aircraft’s log books or maintenance records or inspection guide, and according to the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel, the mechanic does not need them in order to make the required entry. Instead, a mechanic can simply write down the maintenance entry, including the approval for return to service, on a piece of paper, and provide it to the aircraft’s owner or operator for inclusion in that aircraft’s records or logbooks. After all, it is the responsibility of the owner to keep the aircraft’s maintenance record up to date and show that all required inspections and maintenance is performed.
One last thing to note however; because making an entry in an aircraft’s logbooks leaves a mechanic exposed to potential liability, a mechanic should also keep copies of all entries that he or she makes in their customer’s maintenance records.
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