Plane Sense Chapter 6. Aircraft Maintenance Records

An aircraft owner is required to keep aircraft maintenance records for the airframe, engine, propeller, and appliances. These records must contain a description of the work performed on the aircraft, the date the work was completed, the certified mechanic’s signature, the kind of FAA certificate, and the certifcate 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 persuant to 14 CFR 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.

1. 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 These records may be discarded when the work is repeated or superseded by other work, or 1 year after the work is performed.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;

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

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

d. 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;

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

f. A copy of the current major alterations to each airframe, engine, propeller, and appliance.
These records are retained by the owner/operator and are 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, it may be necessary to amend the weight and balance report, equipment list, flight manuals, etc.


1. 14 CFR 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;

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

d. 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. 14 CFR section 43.11 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. 14 CFR section 91. 409(e)-Airplanes.
Inspection entries for 14 CFR section 91. 409(e). Airplanes (those over 12,500 pounds, turbo jet, or turbopropeller-powered multiengine airplanes) are made according to 14 CFR 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 procedures for the kind of inspection program selected by the owner; and

c. If the aircraft is not approved for return to service, statement that a signed and dated list of any defects found during the inspection was given to the owner.
4. FAA Form 337, Major Repairs and Major Alterations.
A mechanic who performs a major repair or major alteration shall record the work 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 14 CFR part 43, appendix B. [Figures 8 and 9]

5.14 CFR section 91.411-Altimeter and Static Tests.
14 CFR 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.
6.14 CFR section 91.413-Transponder Tests.
14 CFR section 91.413 requires that anyone operating an Air Traffic Control (ATC) transponder specified in 14 CFR 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. 14 CFR section 91.207-Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT).
14 CFR 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-C91 A.

Batteries used in ELT shall be replaced when:

a. The transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour, or

b. 50 percent of the ELT’s useful life has expired.
The expiration date for replacing the battery shall be legibly marked on the outside of the transmitter and entered in the aircraft maintenance records.


Your local FSDO can help you establish your aircraft maintenance program and the necessary maintenance records. Additional information relating to aircraft maintenance records can be obtained from:

14 CFR part 39 Airworthiness Directives

14 CFR part 43 Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, and Alteration

14 CFR part 91 General Operating and Flight Rules

AC 43-9 Maintenance Records: General Aviation Aircraft

These publications are available from the U.S. Government Printing Office bookstores located throughout the United States. For more information about ordering these publications, refer to the section titled “Obtaining FAA Publications and Records.” The publications also are available from commercial vendors.