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The High Cost of Cheap Maintenance

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April 2012

Getting what you pay for isn’t always a good bargain 


You can find it at almost every General Aviation airport. A little sign on the bulletin board, or a business card taped to the self-serve gas pump, advertising annual inspections for some ridiculous price like $200.

We all know that it is not possible to perform an annual inspection on even the simplest of General Aviation aircraft for the sum of $200, yet there it is, in black and white. What’s disturbing is the fact that these guys stay in business, which would indicate someone is utilizing those services.

Owning an aircraft can mean unanticipated expenses, and you don’t want to spend more on maintenance than you absolutely have to, but at some point you have to ask yourself, “Can I afford cheap maintenance?”

What I mean by this goes well beyond the obvious. I’m sure it is perfectly plain to you as aircraft owners that if there were an incident or accident which involved the federal agencies or the insurance companies, that you—not the mechanic—would be held responsible if it were found that inadequate maintenance was the root cause of the problem. FAR 91.403 spells this out.

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