By Tony Nunes, FBO Manager and Director of Maintenance
When the airplane is in the shop for its annual, every owner’s prayer is for “no surprises.”
Unfortunately, the prayer isn’t always answered. The point of an inspection, after all, is to look for trouble – before it becomes unsafe. But owners and mechanics can minimize unnecessary surprises through good communication.
For example, you probably expect to have the airplane serviced while it’s in the shop for its annual spa treatment. But let’s be sure we all agree on how much servicing is expected. Oil change? New spark plugs? A simple wash? Detailing?
If there’s an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that specifies servicing or replacing a part at certain intervals, we have to do it or you’re not airworthy. But if the maintenance manual or a service bulletin specifies service and there’s no AD to back it up, let’s agree whether to do it. Same if there’s a scheduled item that’s close, but not quite due.
If we’re going to comply with a scheduled item, we need to plan the work and order parts. We can save you money on shipping (or get you out sooner) if we know in advance what we’ll need.
How about incoming squawks? Does your EGT #2 go from max to blank while flying? We may need a probe, so let’s get it here early. We rely on you to describe the problem the best you can. Sometimes owners try to troubleshoot and give us the answer without explaining how they reached that conclusion. That can add delay and cost and degrade the great customer experience we’re striving to create.
The best understanding comes with written, signed agreements, which we’ll prepare for you. Technicians work best when the plan is very clear. They can be more efficient and precise, and deliver you a better product. Our Maintenance Agreement provides one last effort to combine our discussions, emails or text onto one easy to read form with costs included.
Please give me a call to get started. We’ll make everything as clear as we can – and make sure the only surprises are the ones from natural causes.