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What do you want to know about them? It's in your aircraft maintenance publications. It's right there in the inspection program for your aircraft, and in the airworthiness limitations, right where one would expect to find it.

 

It's also in applicable airworthiness directives, and sometimes in other relevant publications, too.

 

Parts limitations are an owner/operator, and maintenance domain. Do you fit into any of those categories?

Edited by avbug
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Parts limitations are an owner/operator, and maintenance domain. Do you fit into any of those categories?

 

91.403 © - not just limited to owner/operator

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91.403 places the burden on the owner/operator for maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition.

 

If the original poster wants to know what's life-limited on his aircraft, it's not really a state secret. It's published in the manufacturer maintenance publications and where necessary, cited as an airworthiness limitation in those pubs, or in an AD.

 

Not really rocket science.

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Might want to rethink that -

 

91.403 ( c ) No person may operate an aircraft for which a manufacturer's maintenance manual or instructions for continued airworthiness has been issued that contains an airworthiness limitations section unless the mandatory replacement times, inspection intervals, and related procedures specified in that section or alternative inspection intervals and related procedures set forth in an operations specification approved by the Administrator under part 121 or 135 of this chapter or in accordance with an inspection program approved under § 91.409(e) have been complied with.

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I don't need to rethink anything. The regulation plainly states the truth, and that is that the owner/operator is primarily responsible for maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition.

 

I don't know if you have a maintenance background or are an aircraft mechanic or inspector. I am, and it's a subject I deal with a LOT. Regulation also happens to be my forte, and the FAA is quite explicit in this area, with respect to the rights, responsibilities and privileges of the owner/operator.

 

A pilot is not responsible for maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition. The pilot is responsible for determining that the aircraft is in an airworthy condition prior to operating the aircraft. As such, the pilot is a joint party in operational control of the aircraft, but does not bear the burden for maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition, or for ensuring compliance with life limits on parts, airframes, accessories, powerplants, etc. The owner does that. The pilot is responsible for determining, insofar as he or she is able, that those compliances have been done. This is an important distinction, and very applicable to the pilot.

 

Just a few days ago we addressed such a problem in the shop. It involved a part that, during an inspection, was determined to be beyond its life limit. The problem is the certification standard for the aircraft, which falls outside the FAR 23 requirement, and also the aircraft itself. The type certificate was held by a former company which went out of business. The company has since been sold several times and reopened, but doesn't produce that aircraft any more. The old maintenance publications are obscure, some of them hand-written with hand-drawn diagrams. This particular component had the same part number as more recent, current-production aircraft by the same manufacturer.

 

We checked directly with the manufacturer on the part. The manufacturer told us that they didn't believe the part was life-limited, but we pointed to previous and current maintenance publications which spelled out a mandatory replacement of the item at 5,000 hours. In reality, this aircraft came into the shop over 5,000 hours, and therefore over the replacement interval for this component.

 

I should note that there is no reason, other than the original requirement to replace the item, that it ought to have been replaced. Even in the case of a failure, it didn't present a significant safety hazard to the aircraft, and in the worse-case scenario, would not have been a big problem had the part failed. Given the changing requirements with experience by manufacturers of airframes and components, we think any requirement to change this part would likely have varied from what we have now....almost certainly would have been extended to a greater interval or eliminated. It wasn't, however, as the manufacturer closed its doors. The current itinerant of that manufacturer doesn't make this aircraft any more and doesn't really support it. It was thanks to a quick thinking IA doing the inspection that the matter was caught.

 

The responsibility to replace the component fell to the owner/operator, who immediately elected to replace the item. We did, and in a couple of weeks or three when I get home, I'll fly it, too. The pilots who flew this aircraft wouldn't have known about the life limiting aspect of that component. It's not in the flight manual, which is also quite limited. The manufacturer (current one) wasn't immediately aware of the issue. Would the pilot be held liable for having flown it beyond its interval? No.

 

Chances are high that I could ground any aircraft in which you're flying, with a cursory inspection. I once did an inspection as part of a maintenance contest sponsored by the FAA. We were told the aircraft had 18 altered items, and we were supposed to find them all. The one with the most discrepancies got a snap-on screw driver. I found 27, and got the screw driver. The FAA wasn't aware of many of them, and it was their show. It happens. It's very possible that the aircraft in which you fly tomorrow isn't airworthy (meaning it doesn't meet the Type Certificate Data Sheet and amended airworthiness certification, and/or it isn't safe for flight).

 

You may find some of those items during a preflight. Chances are that with my maintenance background, I'd find more. Does this mean that if you did due diligence that you were remiss in your inspection, or that you'd failed your duty to properly preflight the aircraft? No. Suppose items inside the aircraft that you couldn't see were improperly installed, or had illegal parts, or unairworthy parts. Imagine, for example, that the engine mount had a crack. You inspected the aircraft as a pilot, but didn't remove cowlings or fairings, and didn't see much of the internal structure. Are you held liable for failing to see what's hidden, or certified as airworthy by other authorities (the mechanic who did the work, the inspector who signed it off, or the owner/operator who bears the responsibility for the airworthy condition of the aircraft)? No. You're held liable for what you can discover as a reasonable person using industry standards and the inspection methods, practices, and techniques applicable to you and to your position. Does your standard operating checklist and aircraft flight manual include a requirement to inspect the engine mount? No?

 

What if an illegal part were to be installed in the mount or some similar place that you wouldn't normally inspect? How would you know? Are you responsible for flying that aircraft with that part installed? Technically yes, but the real question is how you'll be treated, when considering your duty as a pilot in command. You will be treated with regard to what you can be expected to know and do as part of the manufacturer procedures for your job. If you're flying and you're not responsible to remove the engine nacelle covering, cowling, or fairing to look over that engine mount assembly, then it's not your liability. If it wouldn't have been reasonably discoverable using standard procedures and techniques, then it doesn't fall on you.

 

Years ago I flew for an operator with a large number of pilots and aircraft. One day I was assigned to "babysit" an aircraft in Southern California. The aircraft was based on the east coast. We discovered a discrepancy. It was written up using a minimum equipment list, but the problem didn't match the allowance by the aircraft manufacturer or the MEL. In fact, the actual problem wasn't not what was reported, and was a problem. It had been hidden, and an annunciator light which announced the problem had been carefully disguised with electrical tape to make the problem appear different than it was. I called the Director of Operations and someone called the FAA (wasn't me). It became a big, big problem. The aircraft had been operated some 30 time with passengers, and the company paid a tremendous fine. The problem reverberated through the company, causing a change in the Director of Maintenance. The DO had a nervous breakdown and left his position, too. The mechanic who put the tape on the annunciator was fired, although he had been directed to do so by others. The others paid a price.

 

The pilots who flew the aircraft were not violated, as they were unaware of the true nature of the problem. It had been hidden from them.

 

It's important to make a distinction between being responsible for the airworthiness of an aircraft, and being responsible for determining the airworthiness (and in particular, in knowing the limitations and extent of that determination, and how it applies to a particular situation). When it comes to a career-ending event (which a small discrepancy can be, in some cases, to say nothing of a threat to life or limb), one really should know where one stands and what ones duties and liabilities are.

 

With regard to the regulation, remember that the wording of the regulation is only part of the picture. Chief Legal Counsel interpretations are important, as are the Federal Register preambles when the regulation was published at the time of codification into the CFR.

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The pilot is responsible for determining that the aircraft is in an airworthy condition prior to operating the aircraft.

 

Holy take a chill pill dude. No way I am reading that wall of text.

 

That what I quoted you as saying is what 91.403 ( c ) has to do with the pilot, which is possibly what I expect the original poster may have been worried about.

 

Not that it matters but I have an extensive maintenance background.

 

You also said -

"Parts limitations are an owner/operator, and maintenance domain. Do you fit into any of those categories?"

Pilots must be aware of parts limitations also since they have to make sure the aircraft is in airworthy condition, so I guess you could say its in their "domain"

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That what I quoted you as saying is what 91.403 ( c ) has to do with the pilot, which is possibly what I expect the original poster may have been worried about.

 

It doesn't, and the distinction is important, as shown in the text you wouldn't read.

 

Pilots must be aware of parts limitations also since they have to make sure the aircraft is in airworthy condition, so I guess you could say its in their "domain"

 

Asked and answered, though you didn't bother to read the answer.

 

Life limited parts of which the pilot is not expected to be aware through the AFM do not become the pilots "domain," particularly if those parts are not something discoverable in normal, routine piloting operations. Does the pilot become responsible for improperly installed or illegal, uncertificated parts that are not discoverable as part of a routine operation?

 

If life limited parts are a function of the maintenance program and are not cited in the aircraft flight manual, they're set in the maintenance domain. A pilot is not expected to be aware of many functions that take place on progressive inspections, and doesn't know the results of those inspections. A pilot doesn't know if an item which is getting close to being out of tolerance is actually airworthy. He only knows that the mechanic has told him the aircraft is airworthy or not, and he doesn't know the tolerance limits.

 

I encourage pilots to obtain, read, and know the maintenance publications for their aircraft. No matter how complex. Few do, and the FAA has held through legal interpretations and other matters that pilots are not responsible for knowledge, action, inspections or other duties beyond the scope of their responsibility as a pilot.

 

Discovering information such as life limited components is very possible and it's something every instructor should know and teach, but there are many areas that most instructors and most pilots never go. That may include AD's, but often includes the pertinent airframe, power plant, and component publications, too. The pilot knows that the tire was worn, and saw it replaced. Does he know that the wheel halves needed to be stripped and a dye penetrant inspection done, before the wheel halves were re-alodined, epoxy treated, and reassembled? Does he know if it was properly torqued and in the right order? Not really. He knows the air pressure and in some cases (not all) can actually check the pressure. That's about it. If those other things are required, however (as they often are), the component and the aircraft is unairworthy. How would the pilot know?

 

Then again, does he know if the torque wrench that put the parts on is calibrated? Does he know if the cycles count on his engine is accurate? Does he know if its really past an inspection interval (did they count the starts as partial cycles?). He doesn't. There's a lot that most pilots don't know and most are quite content to remain in ignorance. I once dealt with an operator who reached landing gear life cycle limits, had the gear assemblies replaced, and then re-installed...and operated them thousands of hours over the limits. How would the crew have known? I found it in an inspection and records search, insisted that he replace the illegal components, and he did. He insisted on using his own mechanic; they pulled the aircraft into the shop, closed the doors, then pushed it back out again. I inspected the aircraft and found that he'd kept the original gear. I found the new gear ready for shipment back to the manufacturer.

 

What was the responsibility of those who flew that aircraft? What was mine?

 

Anyone can read the regulation. Expanding the understanding of those reading here, however, is in order, where the regulation has been quoted. Let's do more than simply read. A conversation is taking place here. Don't just quote. Explain. I did. Your turn, now.

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Dude you need a wife or kids or a dog to play frisbee with or something.

 

Look it is dirt simple ( and you've said it yourself even..... )

 

You made it sound as if ONLY the owner/operator need worry about life limited parts in your original post - when 91.403 ( c ) clearly states otherwise. The extent of which the pilot wants to get into that process is totally up to the pilot. If all the pilot wants to do is look at some paperwork then that is well within legal limits. If like possibly the original poster wants to know more then great.

 

Didn't take two walls of text to say it. As I said in my original post real simply - 91.403 is not LIMITED to just the owner/operator.

 

As the sender of a message you want to encode it in a way that the receiver receives it as intended. You might want to revisit your CFI material also. That and chill out, if someone giving a differing view on something causes you this much angst. You are like that guy with the scenario based training program, ask a simple question and ya'll flip the hell out.

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Life limited parts are so important. How come there is very little information about it? I have found AC 33.70-1 but am looking for something easier to read and understand

 

The question should be why students are not taught much if anything on maintenance and airworthiness standards. In fact, there’s lots of information on these subjects and things like life-limited parts are even included in a special distinguished section of the maintenance manual per regulations.

 

Moreover, maintenance and airworthiness standards take up a whole subchapter, TITLE 14 CFR, CHAPTER 1, SUBCHAPTER C—AIRCRAFT, Which includes Parts 23, 43, 27, 29, and 33.

 

Get to know your Maintenance Manual. Take a trip over to your Maintenance Department and ask a few questions.

 

27.1529 Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.

 

The applicant must prepare Instructions for Continued Airworthiness in accordance with appendix A to this part that are acceptable to the Administrator. The instructions may be incomplete at type certification if a program exists to ensure their completion prior to delivery of the first rotorcraft or issuance of a standard certificate of airworthiness, whichever occurs later.

 

Appendix A of Part 27: A27-4

 

The Instructions for Continued Airworthiness must contain a section, titled Airworthiness Limitations that is segregated and clearly distinguishable from the rest of the document. This section must set forth each mandatory replacement time, structural inspection interval, and related structural inspection procedure required for type certification.

 

Engine Maintenance Manual also include the same under:

14 CFR 33.4 Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.

 

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Edited by iChris
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A long time ago a friend called and asked if I'd do an auto-rpm check on a 206 that was in his shop and coming out of maintenance. I went to the place- all the docs seemed to be in order (mx all signed-off) so I took her up. Took a couple of flights to get the auto-rpm okay. When it was, I signed my name to that effect and returned the aircraft to service. My sig was the last one in the logbook.

 

Some time later I got a registered letter from the FAA. Apparently I had performed a return-to-service on an aircraft that they had MAJOR problems with. Apparently, they said that some required inspections had not been done after the small accident that caused the 206 to enter my buddy's shop. I, as a pilot, was supposed to ensure that those inspections had been done before flying it, so they said.

 

Needless to say, I pleaded ignorant. "I'm just a pilot, not a mechanic!" I said. "I only go by what's in Part 91!" I said. They said, "Oh yeah?" Forthwith, they sent me a copy of that 91.403 bit. Apparently, we pilots *do* have certain maintenance responsibilities. The FAA said, "We WILL be pursuing certificate action against you." That set me on pins and needles for a while.

 

Ultimately they found bigger fish to fry than me (long story), and I heard nothing further from them. But I was worried. Big time. If they violated me, could I have fought them using the Avbug defense? I'm not sure.

 

Now, I am much more circumspect about doing ops check flights for friends - actually I'm just reluctant to put my name and cert. number on any document. If I fly it, I make damn sure that none of the life-limited components are over-time. You can miss a 100-hour inspection and it's not that big a deal, but overfly a life-limit on a grip or a blade or something and it could be a VERY BIG DEAL depending on the FAA office and whose blood they're out for.

 

YMMV.

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They said, "Oh yeah?" Forthwith, they sent me a copy of that 91.403 bit. Apparently, we pilots *do* have certain maintenance responsibilities.

 

 

No, "we pilots" do not.

 

As previously explained, there is a big difference between being responsible for the airworthy condition of the aircraft, and for determining if the aircraft is an airworthy condition.

 

Didn't take two walls of text to say it.

 

 

Speak for yourself. I can speak quite well for myself. You'll do well to put words in your own mouth, not mine, and you need not be concerned with what I have to say. I'll say it anyway.

 

As I said in my original post real simply - 91.403 is not LIMITED to just the owner/operator.

 

You said so incorrectly, or "real simply," you were wrong.

 

You're familiar with the concept of operational control? Who shares in operational control and has ultimate responsibility for the safe outcome of the flight?

 

if you said the Pilot in Command, you were right. The pilot, however, is not responsible for the airworthy condition of the aircraft; the pilot in command is responsible for determining airworthiness, reference 14 CFR 91.7(B).

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Guest pokey

What do you want to know about them? It's in your aircraft maintenance publications. It's right there in the inspection program for your aircraft, and in the airworthiness limitations, right where one would expect to find it.

 

It's also in applicable airworthiness directives, and sometimes in other relevant publications, too.

 

Parts limitations are an owner/operator, and maintenance domain. Do you fit into any of those categories?

if you are not part of the solution, then you must be part of the problem

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Guest pokey

the pilot has the final authority as to the airworthiness of the aircraft, altho he is counting on the "chain of command"--------this is not the original posters question tho. As usual, Chris has valuable input at answering questions.

 

As far as some of the life limits go?---i have been working on , & flying helicopters for over 25 years, and some of the numbers they come up with for life limits are just mind boggling ! Mathematics? Crystal ball? Empirical data? Flight testing? ----some of it makes sense, but not all of it. Take for insatance the main rotor blade of an Enstrom, compared to an early Hughes 269, basically the same materials, same era, same manufacturing technique, but? drastically different life limits. Maybe this was the original posters intended question?

 

just to add, because the part may have a high life limit---that does not mean that it will make it to the end. I have seen lots of parts become scrap for various reasons B4 the life limit was even close, and? i have seen many that looked brand new , even tho they were 'timed out'

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the pilot has the final authority as to the airworthiness of the aircraft, altho he is counting on the "chain of command"---

 

No, he does not.

 

The owner/operator is the final authority as to the airworthiness of the aircraft. The pilot in command's authority extends as far as making a go/no-go decision regarding the airworthiness of the aircraft, only with respect to his or her operation of the aircraft. The owner/operator is responsible for the airworthiness of the aircraft. The pilot is only responsible for making a determination that it is airworthy before operating the aircraft.

 

This is a crucial distinction which you, too, have misunderstood.

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A long time ago a friend called and asked if I'd do an auto-rpm check on a 206 that was in his shop and coming out of maintenance. I went to the place- all the docs seemed to be in order (mx all signed-off) so I took her up.

 

Some time later I got a registered letter from the FAA. Apparently I had performed a return-to-service on an aircraft that they had MAJOR problems with. Apparently, they said that some required inspections had not been done after the small accident that caused the 206 to enter my buddy's shop. I, as a pilot, was supposed to ensure that those inspections had been done before flying it, so they said.

 

Needless to say, I pleaded ignorant. "I'm just a pilot, not a mechanic!" I said. "I only go by what's in Part 91!" I said. They said, "Oh yeah?" Forthwith, they sent me a copy of that 91.403 bit. Apparently, we pilots *do* have certain maintenance responsibilities. The FAA said, "We WILL be pursuing certificate action against you." That set me on pins and needles for a while.

 

Ultimately they found bigger fish to fry than me (long story), and I heard nothing further from them. But I was worried. Big time. If they violated me, could I have fought them using the Avbug defense? I'm not sure.

 

The owner/operator was primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an “airworthy condition. The owner/operator was also responsible to insure correct and appropriate entries were made in the aircraft’s maintenance logs.

 

If the logs to the best of your knowledge seemed valid and in fact presented the aircraft as airworthy, your operation was legal under “reasonable reliance.”

 

FAR 91.403 and 91.405 establishes that the owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining their aircraft in an “airworthy condition”.

 

FAR 91.7 establishes the pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight. The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.

 

Therefore, the pilot’s initial determination is normally based on “reasonable reliance” involving the specialized technical expertise of others, where a pilot could not be expected to have the necessary knowledge. Pilots must rely on the owner/operator, shop logs/records, and A& P mechanics.

 

cited case law:

 

To prove a violation of section 91.29[a] [currently 91.7 [a]], the Administrator must show that the respondent operated an aircraft that he knew or reasonably should have known did not conform to its type certificate. There is no requirement that he know for a fact that the aircraft is unairworthy. Administrator v. Parker, 3 NTSB 2997 [1980]

 

It is well-settled that airline pilots are held to the highest degree of care. A pilot's actions should be judged against what a prudent pilot would have done in the same instance, "based upon conditions ... of which the pilot was aware or which he could have reasonably anticipated." Administrator v. Baxter, 1 NTSB 1391, 1394, [1972]

 

After hearing the evidence in this case, the law judge concluded that the aircraft was unairworthy due to the inadequate Form 337s, and the fact that the cited ADs were overdue, but held that there was insufficient evidence to show that applicant was in any way responsible for, or had knowledge of, those deficiencies. He held that applicant reasonably relied on the mechanic's certification of airworthiness, and on the assurance that the required Form 337s had been properly completed. He found no evidence that applicant had any prior knowledge of what sort of data is necessary for a Form 337, or that he was on notice that he was operating an unairworthy aircraft. Thus, the law judge dismissed the complaint. Administrator v. Swam, NTSB Order No. EA-4308, [1994]

 

Therefore, we have carefully evaluated respondent’s arguments in light of our doctrine of reasonable reliance. In this regard, we have held as follows: If … a particular task is the responsibility of another, if the pilot-in-command [PIC] has no independent obligation (e.g., based on the operating procedures or manuals) or ability to ascertain the information, and if the captain has no reason to question the other’s performance, then and only then will no violation be found. Administrator v. Fay & Takacs, NTSB Order No. EA-3501 at 4 [1992]

 

We have consistently explained, however, the doctrine of reasonable reliance is a narrow one. In addition, in determining whether reliance was reasonable, we will consider “the facts of each case” and “the entire circumstances” surrounding the alleged violation. Accordingly, reasonable reliance is a narrow doctrine applicable in cases “involving specialized, technical expertise where a flight crew member could not be expected to have the necessary knowledge. Administrator v. Haddock, NTSB Order No. EA-3507 [1992]

 

We have also stated, “[we decline] to hold the PIC culpable for FAR [Federal Aviation Regulations] violations caused by the action (or inaction) of another, when the PIC had no reason or basis to look behind or question either that other individual’s representation or performance of assigned duties.” Administrator v. Bass, NTSB Order No. EA-5596 [2011]

 

Case File Case File Case File

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Maybe so, Chris. But if that FSDO had decided to pursue certificate action against me it would have been up to *ME* to get a lawyer and defend myself. Even if I was successful it would have still been a fight.

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Maybe so, Chris. But if that FSDO had decided to pursue certificate action against me it would have been up to *ME* to get a lawyer and defend myself. Even if I was successful it would have still been a fight.

As with the FAA and the IRS you are guilty till you prove yourself innocent. It is unconstitutional in my opinion as well as meant to be terrorizing. Also even if you win you lose with time stolen from you and expenses. You may apply for court cost reimbursement, but again the onus is on you to justify it.

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Guest pokey

Too bad for you. Looks like you missed out on a golden opportunity to learn something, but then you sound like someone who doesn't learn very well, either. Pity.

 

i never pass up an oppertunity to learn, however:

 

What do you want to know about them? It's in your aircraft maintenance publications. It's right there in the inspection program for your aircraft, and in the airworthiness limitations, right where one would expect to find it.

 

It's also in applicable airworthiness directives, and sometimes in other relevant publications, too.

 

Parts limitations are an owner/operator, and maintenance domain. Do you fit into any of those categories?

 

what did the original poster learn from you here? may as well have said: "are you a moron?--it's right where you would expect to find it, and by the way, what qualifies you to ask such a question?"

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You'll have to ask the original poster, but obviously you haven't learned a whole hell of a lot, have you?

 

The original poster would have learned that the material he sought was in the maintenance manual, and not the flight manual.

 

The original poster would have learned that it's in airworthiness directives.

 

The original poster would have learned that it's in an approved inspection program for the aircraft, if one exists or is in use.

 

The original poster would have learned, contrary to his statement, that the information is readily available, and where to find it.

 

The original poster would have learned the applicability of responsibility for maintenance and airworthiness on an aircraft.

 

The original poster did receive that information. Whether he, or anyone else availed themselves of that information rather than whining about the length of the post or the details provided, is up to them. Seems you missed out on a lot, too.

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Guest pokey

You'll have to ask the original poster, but obviously you haven't learned a whole hell of a lot, have you?

 

The original poster would have learned that the material he sought was in the maintenance manual, and not the flight manual.

 

The original poster would have learned that it's in airworthiness directives.

 

The original poster would have learned that it's in an approved inspection program for the aircraft, if one exists or is in use.

 

The original poster would have learned, contrary to his statement, that the information is readily available, and where to find it.

 

The original poster would have learned the applicability of responsibility for maintenance and airworthiness on an aircraft.

 

The original poster did receive that information. Whether he, or anyone else availed themselves of that information rather than whining about the length of the post or the details provided, is up to them. Seems you missed out on a lot, too.

so now you know what i have learned, AND what the original poster has learned? I have learned 2 things in my life: 1) never waste your time debating situation with an idiot, they will beat you with experience and win every time, 2) never argue with a cow, it goes in one ear an rite out dah udder

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I could take this opportunity to make the very cheap joke that, "...in Avbug's case, that's not where it's coming out!" But that would be rude and insensitive, so I will not make that joke. In fact, forget I said anything on the subject.

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