An aircraft owner is required to keep aircraft maintenance records on the airframe, engine, prop, and accessories which contain a description of the work performed on the aircraft, the date the work was completed, the signature, kind of FAA certificate, and certificate number of the person approving the aircraft for return to service. The owner of an aircraft shall also ensure that maintenance personnel make appropriate entries in the aircraft maintenance records indicating the aircraft has been approved for return to service. The owner's aircraft records shall also contain the inspections required pursuant to FAR Section 91.409.

Proper management of aircraft operations begins with a good system of maintenance records. A properly completed maintenance record provides the information needed by the owner/operator and maintenance personnel to determine when scheduled inspections and maintenance are to be performed. There shall be records of maintenance and of 100-hour, annual, progressive, and other required or approved inspections for each aircraft, including the airframe, each engine, propeller, rotor, and appliance. These records may be discarded when the work is repeated or superseded by other work, or 1 year after the work is performed. 2. There shall also be records of:


a. The total time in service of the airframe, each engine, and each propeller;

  1. The current status of life-limited parts of each airframe, engine, propeller, rotor, and appliance;

  2. The time since the last overhaul of all items installed on the aircraft which are required to be overhauled on a specified time basis;

  3. The identification of the current inspection status of the aircraft, including the time since the last inspection required by the inspection program under which the aircraft and its appliances are maintained;

  4. The current status of applicable AD's including, for each, the method of compliance, the AD number, and revision date. If the AD involves recurring action, the time and date when the next action is required; and

  5. A copy of the current major alterations to each airframe, engine, propeller, and appliance.

These records are retained by the owner/operator and transferred with the aircraft when it is sold.

Keep in mind that as a result of repairs or alterations, such as replacing radios and installing speed kits, amendments may be necessary to the weight and balance report, equipment list, flight manual, etc.

Entries into the Aircraft Maintenance Records

1. FAR Section 43.9 entries.

Any person who maintains, rebuilds, or alters an aircraft, airframe, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance shall make an entry, containing:

a. A description of the work, or some reference to data acceptable to the FAA;

b. The date the work was completed;

  1. The name of the person who performed the work; and

  2. If the work is approved for return to service, the signature, certificate number, and kind of certificate held by the person approving the aircraft for return to service.

2. FAR Section 43.1 1 entries.

When a mechanic approves or disapproves an aircraft for return to service for an annual, 100-hour, or progressive inspection, an entry shall be made including:

a. Aircraft time in service;

b. The type of inspection;

c. The date of inspection;

d. The signature, certificate number, and kind of certificate held by the person approving or disapproving the aircraft for return to service; and

e. A signed and dated listing of discrepancies and unairworthy items.

3. FAR Section 91. 409(e) - Airplanes.

Inspection entries for FAR Section 91. 409(e). Airplanes - those over 12,500 pounds. turbojet, or turbopropeller-powered multiengine airplanes are made according to FAR Section 43.9 and they shall include:

a. The kind of inspection performed;

b. A statement by the mechanic that it was performed in accordance with the instructions and the procedures for the kind of inspection program selected by the owner; and

c. A statement that a signed and dated list of any defects found during the inspection was given to the owner, if the aircraft is not approved for return to service.

4. FAA Form 337, Major Repairs and Major Alterations.

A mechanic who performs a major repair or major alteration shall record it on FAA Form 337 and have the work inspected and approved by a mechanic who holds an Inspection Authorization. A signed copy shall be given to the owner and another copy sent to the local FSDO within 48 hours after the aircraft has been approved for return to service. However, when a major repair is done by a certificated repair station, the customer's work order may be used and a release given as outlined in Appendix B of FAR Part 43.

5. FAR Section 91.41 1 - Altimeter and Static Tests.

FAR Section 91.411 requires that every airplane or helicopter operated in controlled airspace under IFR conditions have each static pressure system, each altimeter, and each automatic pressure altitude reporting system tested and inspected every 24 calendar months. The mechanic shall enter into the records:

a. A description of the work;

b. The maximum altitude to which the altimeter was tested; and

c. The date and signature of the person approving the aircraft for return to service.

6. FAR Section 91.413 - Transponder Tests.

FAR Section 91.413 requires that anyone operating an Air Traffic Control (ATC) transponder specified in FAR Section 91.215(a) have it tested and inspected every 24 calendar months. The mechanic shall enter into the records:

(a) A description of the work.

(b) The date and signature of the person approving the airplane for return to service.

7. FAR Section 91 .207 - Emergency Locator Transmitters (EL'I').

FAR Section 91.207 requires that no person may operate a U.S. registered civil airplane unless there is attached to the airplane a personal type or an automatic type emergency locator transmitter that is in operable condition and meets applicable requirements of TSO-C91 . New ELT installations after June 21, 1995, must meet TSO C9OA.

Batteries used in the emergency locator transmitters shall be replaced when: (a) The transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour or, (b) 50 percent of their useful life has expired.

Expiration date for replacing the battery shall be legibly marked on the outside of thc transmitter and entered in the aircraft maintenance records.

Additional Information on Aircraft Maintenance Records

Additional information relating to aircraft maintenance records can be obtained from:

Maintenance and record keeping similarities between type certificated aircraft and amateur-built aircraft are shown in the following chart:

Type Certificated/Amateur-Built Airplane Comparison Chart


Type Certificated Aircraft

Amateur-Built Aircraft




Annual inspection


Yes 1

100-hour inspection

Yes 2

No 3

Compulsory insurance (most states)



Required maintenance records



Altimeter and static tests (IFR controlled airspace)



Transponder tests (if required by FAR's)



Emergency locator transmitter (ELT) (Except single seat aircraft)



Reporting of accidents



All record keeping is primarily the responsibility of the aircraft owner or operator. The A&P mechanic is responsible for the work.

1 Condition Inspection For Amateur Built Aircraft

2 Only when aircraft is used for commercial operations.

3 100 Hour Inspection same as Condition Inspection

(FAR Sections 91.405, 91.409, 91.417)
 ?AvStop Online Magazine                                                                                                                 Contact Us              Return To Technical Stories Of Interest

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator