Aircraft Maintenance Records: Is Your Asset Covered?

Are you taking enough care of your aircraft's maintenance records? There could be more riding on them than you think - so you need to make sure your asset is covered by looking after them well! Check out how in this latest Airplane Intel podcast...

AvBuyer  |  13th April 2021
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Did you know 30% of your aircraft’s value lives in your airplane’s maintenance records? Worse yet, your aircraft’s maintenance records are completely uninsurable! This week, Adam Sipe from Airplane Intel interviews two logbook experts to find out how to protect your airplane’s value and airworthiness with accurate, compliant, and now, digital record keeping.


Mark Leeper

Mark LeeperMark has over 25 years of C-level management and business development experience accumulated in the aviation and medical industries. Mark is the founder and owner of Seabright Company, an aviation-specific sales and marketing firm. Mark, a licensed private pilot since 1980 has accumulated time in 17 different aircraft including advanced upset recognition and recovery training in single and multi-engine jets. He is part of a 4 generation family of pilots, including Father-in-law a P51 Ace (WWII), his Father a United States Air Force Fighter Pilot (T33 & F102's), and son Jeff Leeper (a new Private Pilot).

Mark is a member of the National Business Aviation Association, Arizona Business Aviation Association, and a past board member of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Safety Committee. Mark Joined Vision in July 2015 and is the company’s CEO. You can reach Mark by email: Mark@VisionLogbooks.com.


Larry Hinebaugh

Larry Hinebaugh

Larry Hinebaugh, founder of Vision Software, LLC has over 40 years of aircraft maintenance/management experience along with a BS degree in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering from Northrop University. He has held a valid A&P License since 1976.

Larry founded and continues to operate Aviation Consulting Group (ACG); an international maintenance consulting company specializing in Aircraft Completion Management, Maintenance Operations and Supervision, Aircraft Technical Appraisals, Pre-purchase Inspections, etc.

In working with many different companies and clients over the years, Larry witnessed firsthand the financial ramifications to the aircraft owner when aircraft record information went missing. This sparked the development of Vision Software’s Aircraft Electronic Record-Keeping System for aircraft logbooks and records documentation.

Larry holds a valid FAA Airframe and Powerplant License, as well as a B.S. Degree in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. He has also completed a variety of technical training courses on both Boeing and Gulfstream aircraft and served on several VIP aircraft Technical Committees.

Larry is at the forefront of business aviation’s move from its reliance on localized paper records “logbooks” that record the history and Airworthiness of an aircraft - to modern, secure, cloud-based electronic record-keeping systems offering less costly 24/7 accessibility and control. Larry can be reached via email at Larry@VisionSoftwareLLC.com

Cover Your Asset! All About Aircraft Maintenance Records

As pilots, we know it is the PIC’s responsibility to determine whether an aircraft is airworthy. Additionally, aircraft owners and operators are responsible for maintaining their aircraft in an airworthy condition. But did you know the only way of determining and maintaining airworthiness lies in the aircraft’s maintenance records? In fact, the aircraft’s logbooks are the only record that proves the status, history, and airworthiness of an aircraft. 

The aircraft’s maintenance records must include a description of maintenance performed and the date the work was performed. The maintenance records also include the status of life-limited parts; aircraft, engine, propeller, and/or rotor total times; time since last overhaul; and a chronological record of the aircraft’s maintenance and operational history from the day it came out of the factory. 

Every maintenance event is supposed to be kept in the aircraft’s maintenance records. Therefore, missing or damaged logbooks can render the aircraft unairworthy, even if it is in perfect mechanical condition. In fact, when we perform a prebuy on an aircraft, over 80% of airworthiness discrepancies we find can be traced to the aircraft’s maintenance records. 

Maintenance records don’t just maintain airworthiness, they also maintain the aircraft’s value and overall pedigree. Aircraft maintenance, inspection compliance, AD compliance, conformity, STCs, mods, repairs, and preventive maintenance events should all have their own logbook entry with the appropriate data required by the regulations. Aircraft with missing maintenance events or required inspection items automatically lose market value because the records prove that maintenance events occurred. 

Maintenance that should have been done or should have been documented must be redone if there is no logbook entry, and that costs money, thereby having a direct impact on the aircraft’s value. If there is no maintenance record for maintenance performed, it simply did not happen, no matter what the mechanic, owner, or broker try to tell you. 

There are some specifics as to what records must be kept and for how long depending on whether the aircraft is operated under Part 91 or Part 135; you can read up on those specifics in FAR §91.417. Perhaps the most important item in the maintenance records is the signature of the person that performed the work and returned the aircraft back to service.

It is this need for a signature that is a contributing factor as to why logbooks are still in paper format rather than digital, which we’ll learn more about during our upcoming interview. The credentials of the person returning the aircraft to service matters, too. For example, the pilot/owner can approve an aircraft for return to service following an oil change, but an A&P/IA must return the aircraft to service following an inspection, major repair, or alteration.

 

Mark Leeper in front of a jet


Until recently, we’ve had to rely on paper records to document aircraft maintenance. Some major limitations with paper records is they can be damaged, lost, stolen, or even held hostage. Paper records are also expensive to maintain, especially for more complex aircraft such as pressurized twins, turboprops, and jets.

The worst part, a substantial percentage of the aircraft’s total market value lives in the maintenance records, and those records are completely uninsurable. Fortunately, the FAA has recognized the limitations and implications of relying on paper and issued an advisory circular in 2016, AC 120-78A, which is linked in the show notes. This advisory circular provides guidance for electronic signatures, electronic record keeping, and electronic manuals. 

Our guests, Mark and Larry, are experts in the science of aircraft maintenance records management. They’re here to paint us a clearer picture of the importance of accurate record-keeping, reveal how much money owners are losing each year from poor records management, and shed light on some of the misconceptions many owners have. They will also tell us about an innovative solution that will bring your records management into the 21st century. 

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Read More About: Aircraft Maintenance | Business jet ownership | Aircraft Ownership | Business Aircraft Values | Business Aircraft Maintenance

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