We encourage "owner assisted" annuals. In our opinion, the more a pilot knows about the airplane being flown, the safer that pilot is.
The regulations are very clear on what is to be accomplished during an annual inspection.
Click here to view Part 43 Appendix D
As you can see from the regulations, the only requirement is for the Inspector to inspect and thoroughly clean the aircraft and engine.
There are no requirements that anything be repaired or serviced. However, if there are unairworthy items found and if they are not brought back to an airworthy condition, a list of defects must be supplied to the aircraft owner. In theory, this list could then be taken to any aircraft mechanic and the discrepancies could be corrected and the airplane signed off as airworthy and returned to service. In most cases, this is not practical or financially beneficial.
So, the reality of an annual is, if an item is found unairworthy by the Inspector, that item is usually corrected before the airplane is returned to the owner.
There are further requirements for the aircraft owner/operator in regards to record keeping that traditionally falls on the shoulders of the person performing the annual inspection. The Authorized Inspector is trained in the record-keeping requirements to maintain an aircraft in airworthy condition and maintains an extensive library to that end. The record keeping requirements are here:
We had the opportunity to inspect an airplane that had been inspected for its annual within the last month, but, due to health complications, the Inspector was unable to sign the airplane off after he inspected it. The owner brought the airplane to us knowing that we had to perform the whole inspection in order to legally return the airplane to service. This Inspector had been maintaining the airplane for several years, mostly because his annuals were "reasonably priced." The log entry speaks for itself….
Click here to read the log entry
The bottom line is, if all you want is an inspection, we can certainly provide the inspection along with the required list (if there is anything wrong with your airplane.) If there is nothing wrong, we will be happy to sign the annual off as completed and return the airplane to service.
However, if you want your airplane inspected, normal service items accomplished and all the paperwork done properly, that is how we prefer to perform our annual inspections. An airplane that receives not only an inspection every year, but is serviced as well, requires less interim maintenance. Normal wear is minimized due to proper security and lubrication of movable parts. A regularly maintained airplane presents fewer failures and is overall safer to operate.
We are very happy to discuss any and all aspects of aircraft maintenance with you. Please contact us with any questions or comments.