For the purpose of determining their overall condition, 14 CFR provides for the inspection of all civil aircraft at specific intervals, depending generally upon the type of operations in which they are engaged. The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight. Therefore, the aircraft must be inspected before each flight. More detailed inspections must be conducted by aviation maintenance technicians at least once each 12 calendar months, while inspection is required for others after each 100 hours of flight. In other instances, an aircraft may be inspected in accordance with a system set up to provide for total inspection of the aircraft over a calendar or flight time period.
To determine the specific inspection requirements and rules for the performance of inspections, refer to the CFR, which prescribes the requirements for the inspection and maintenance of aircraft in various types of operations.
Pilots are required to follow a checklist contained within the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) when operating aircraft. The first section of a checklist includes a section entitled Preflight Inspection. The preflight inspection checklist includes a “walk-around" section listing items that the pilot is to visually check for general condition as he or she walks around the airplane. Also, the pilot must ensure that fuel, oil and other items required for flight are at the proper levels and not contaminated. Additionally, it is the pilot’s responsibility to review the airworthiness certificate, maintenance records, and other required paperwork to verify that the aircraft is indeed airworthy. After each flight, it is recommended that the pilot or mechanic conduct a postflight inspection to detect any problems that might require repair or servicing before the next flight.
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