Aircraft Ownership Maintenance

Annual time….

As I write this, ZU-IBM is in for annual inspection. This should only have been done in October, but the CAA is a bit of a hot mess at the moment, and it is taking 3-4weeks to get the airworthy certificate or Authority to Fly (ATF) after annual inspection so we moved it up a month. I suspect this is mostly because the AMO doesn’t want airplanes stuck on its ramp waiting for paperwork to be completed.

I think it will help to have moved the annual forward away from the ATF expiry date because that should mean that we can do a full year on the next cycle. Anyhow, this does basically qualify as the first year of ownership and looking back, I must say that it has been really good to own the aircraft.

We’ve done a few trips that we would never have done, and the freedom of being able to decide on a whim to go flying is seriously under-rated. So here follows a small summary of the year in ownership..

  • Hours flown: – 69,5
  • Fuel purchased: – 1154
  • Average fuel Burn: – 16litres per hour
  • New Airports visited: – 17
  • Passengers Flown: – 37 (obviously not separate individuals)

Of course, there will be at least one unexpected expense involved and this time it is the 5 year rubber renewal which involves changing every rubber hose and gasket in the engine compartment. It is a bit of a pain and an unexpected expense which could be deferred… but that is not how I want to operate my aircraft. Deferred maintenance is something that I feel will bite one day and will be an issue if/when I sell the plane (yes, that RV-7 is still calling….).

There are a couple of other squawks that need dealing with – for some reason the starboard strobe has decided to call it a day, and the landing light wires seem to get quite hot coming out of the switch on the panel – this may well be normal but it needs to be checked out. The oil pressure still runs lower than I’m comfortable with on the long climbs – although we have looked at the system I think another once-over won’t go amiss. My gut feel is that the issue may be the sensor, but that is the easy way to rationalise it.

Apart from all that, the only other job is to put a decal on the rudder – I’ve long wanted the chequered pattern on the plane so we’re putting it on the whole of the rudder. I trust it will look good. The idea I have is what is shown below…

So, with no plane and hopefully no more surprises… there is little to do but to wait patiently impatiently for news on when Miss Daisy will be back. Will update as and when needed.

5 replies on “Annual time….”

” …the CAA is a bit of a hot mess at the moment, and it is taking 3-4weeks to get the airworthy certificate or Authority to Fly (ATF) after annual inspection…”

Interesting, Mike. In the USA, the annual inspection is necessary for continued validity of the airworthiness certificate in the airplane, but no paperwork is actually exchanged with the government. The mechanic signs off in the logbooks and the airworthiness cert remains in force; mine is an ancient-looking sad slip o’ paper that carries no expiration date. It’s almost as old as I am. Your statement implies a very different philosophy involving government agency sign-off of annuals and issuance of a new ATF each year. Do I understand that correctly?

I particularly enjoy your blog for the way it shows how the systems differ in other countries while still appearing similar enough to make some sense to pilots from different nations.

Best wishes on your annual inspection – may it be done promptly and without any especially costly surprises.

Hi Chris. Yes, the Civil Aviation authority is much more involved from a paperwork point of view than the FAA. The annual inspection and the ATF in my aircraft happen to expire together but this won’t happen after this maintenance cycles. The ATF is issued on a yearly basis and requires a collection of forms almost similar to the MAUW of the aircraft in question. The ATF is contingent on a valid release-to-service and an annual inspection within the last 100hours or 1 calendar year.

Non Type Certified aircraft such as mine (which would be classed as E/AB in the US) require an ATF. Type certified aircraft require a certificate of airworthiness. The application for both documents seems to take a number of weeks even if nothing has been changed on the aircraft! Bureaucracy reigns supreme here and it often appears that those enforcing the rules do not have an understanding of the rules they are enforcing.

We as a general aviation community spend many hours saying how good you guys have it in the US and how behind general aviation the FAA is. A number of folks have gone to the trouble of getting their (type certified) aircraft onto the N-register and getting FAA license/certificate validations to avoid having to deal with the local authority.

I would do the same but I’m in a bit of a bind with my aircraft in that although it would be classed as an experimental it isn’t because it was not >51% constructed by an amateur…..

Still. We have excellent weather, very little controlled airspace and a thriving aviation community. So we shouldn’t complain too much.

I was sitting here feeling pretty lucky before, but I didn’t want to rub it in. I cannot help but wonder if your CAA would be as keen to review all of that paperwork if faced with the same number of aircraft as we have in the US! 🙂

Yeah, and don’t even get me started on your TIS/FIS and ADS-B in, flight following etc. We haven’t even decided on an ADS-B solution yet – will never be ground based (because ground stations would be stolen) so probably space based ADS-B but as yet there is no plan..

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