U.S. Department
of Transportation

Federal Aviation

St. Louis
Flight Standards District Office

10801 Pear Tree Lane
Suite 200
St. Ann, Missouri 63074


September 2000 




Thought for the month....The basic rule of maintenance is as soon as our hands are coated with grease, our nose will begin to itch.

Important Definitions....The Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (12th edition) defines maintenance as: "…1: the act of maintaining: the state of being maintained : support 2: something that maintains 3: the upkeep of property or equipment…". By comparison Part 1 of the FAR's says that "Maintenance means inspection, overhaul, repair, preservation and the replacement of parts, but excluded preventive maintenance. You can see that the FAA has narrowed the focus of the term to be related to aviation.

The FAA has further determined that there is a difference between "maintenance" and "preventive maintenance". Enough so, that Part 1 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR's) has definitions for both of them. The purpose of Part 1 is to provide specific definition to terms that are used in aviation. It also helps both of us (the aviation community and the FAA) "sing from the same sheet of music" when we speak in aviation terms

The FAA has defined preventive maintenance to mean: "simple or minor preservation operations and the replacement of small standard parts not involving complex assembly operations". A list of those things that are considered to be preventive maintenance items can be found in Appendix A of Part 43. There are 32 items listed. As with a lot of writings by the U.S. Government some of those things listed may appear to be kind of vague. If you are not certain if the work you intend to perform is preventive maintenance, your best bet is to call your local FSDO and ask an airworthiness inspector to help you. Other sources of information in the St. Louis area are the maintenance counselors who assist with the FSDO Safety Program.

Part 43 of the FAR's permit people with pilot certificates to perform preventive maintenance on aircraft that they operate. For the mechanically inclined owner/operator, this can be financially beneficial to their flying budget. It is important for the person who elects do preventive maintenance on their airplane under the authority of their pilot's certificate to know what those 32 items are. It is equally important to know that when preventive maintenance is performed under the authority of our pilot certificate we are obligated to record that work just the same as a mechanic is. This includes a description of the work performed, the date of the work, our signature and our certificate number and type. Our signature with the certificate number and type is the legal approval for return to service for that preventive maintenance. Without it any operation of the aircraft after the work could be considered in violation of the FAR's (§91.407).

I have begun a project in the Safety Program to discuss and demonstrate, the preventive maintenance privileges for airplane owners and operators. The next presentation will be at Highland Winet Airport on September 16th at 10:00AM. If you or your organization would like to be a sponsor of one of the demonstrations call me (314-890-4830) and we will schedule one. These events are publicized in the FAA Aviation Safety Program flyers that are mailed to pilots. The demonstrations are given by certified airframe and powerplant mechanics. I encourage everybody who performs work on their airplane to attend these events. The purpose for them is to show you the right way to do the work and to help way to stay within the regulations.

AFSS Operation Takeoff dates....The St. Louis AFSS is offering pilot education seminars, and facility briefing and tour for groups of 15 people on the following dates: Sep. 23, Oct. 21 and Nov. 18, from 9am to noon. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Lisa Burrows at 314-890-7210.

Upcoming Events

Sep. 16
Highland Airport, Highland, Illinois
St. Louis Soaring Association
Open House and Safety Day
9am to 1pm

Sep. 21
West Plains, MO
South Central Chapter MPA
Mid-Air Collision Avoidance
Pizza Inn
7pm to 9pm

Oct. 10
The St Louis Chapter is proud to present
Weather Wise
Lindbergh High School
7pm to 9pm
Check our October page for directions:

Oct. 21
Marriott West Hotel, Town & Country MO
Helicopter Safety Seminar
8am to 1pm

Oct. 26
Creve Coeur Aviation
Creve Coeur Airport
Operations at Non-towered Airports and Land Survival
7pm to 9pm

Oct. 27
Schafer Metro East Airport, St. Jacob, IL
Cockpit Complacency, Disorientation and Vertigo
7 to 9pm

Airworthiness Safety Program Manager
1-800-322-8876 extension 4830