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Maintenance and Repair

FAA regulation Title 14 CFR 91.327 specifies who can do what which simply has the manufacturer specifying the details. Powered Parachute special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) must be maintained by FAA certified mechanics, with the exception of some preventative maintenance. This “preventative maintenance” can be done by the owner/operator, but is specifically defined by the manufacturer in the aircraft “Maintenance and Inspection Procedures Manual” provided with each S-LSA. Typically, the owner is allowed to inspect items and add fluids such as oil, coolant, and hydraulic fluid. Minor maintenance items such as changing oil, spark plugs, tires, may or may not be allowed for the owner/operator to perform for S-LSA.

Powered Parachute experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) are completely different. FAA regulation Title 14 CFR 91.319 does not mandate that FAA certified mechanics maintain E-LSA, except for some special situations. Anyone can do maintenance on an E-LSA. If you want to do your own aircraft maintenance, this may be a very good reason to purchase an E-LSA. S-LSA can be transitioned to E-LSA if necessary, however, the aircraft would than not be able to be rented out or used for commercial training. If you are sufficiently mechanically adept you can, with training, do many of the maintenance and repairs yourself. You may find that you already have many all the tools necessary to do the job. If you are not comfortable with this type of work, you will need to consider how you will get this service and maintenance accomplished.

When you buy a new Powered Parachute LSA you can usually have this work performed by the dealer. When you buy a used LSA you may be on your own as warranties are seldom transferable and the original dealer usually has no obligation to support you.

Inspections

All Powered Parachute light-sport aircraft (LSA) require an annual condition inspection every year by a FAA certified repairman. For E-LSA, you can do this yourself as an owner if you take a 16 hour class for your category of aircraft (WSC). If you elect NOT to take the class, then you’ll need to find someone qualified to do this annual inspection.

LSA Repairman Certification

The FAA instituted a new LSA repairman certificate called “Repairman – Light-Sport Aircraft”. There are two ratings for this certificate: Inspection and Maintenance.
LSA Repairman Inspection Rating
This rating allows you to conduct the annual condition inspection on an E-LSA you own. It requires the successful completion of an FAA accepted, 16-hour course on the inspection of your particular class of LSA.

LSA Repairman Maintenance Rating
The Maintenance (104 hour) rating is a commercial rating allowing you to maintain, repair, and perform the annual condition inspection on all special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) and condition inspections on experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) for hire, within the class of aircraft shown on your certificate. The repairs and maintenance you can perform on S-LSA are specifically authorized in the aircraft manufacturers’ maintenance manuals.

A&P Airframe and Powerplant Mechanicis the classic FAA certificated mechanic who can work on all Powered Parachutes LSA. These are the mechanics that were and still are authorized to maintain aircraft before the new LSA rule was inacted.

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Who can do what?

First it must be determined what type of aircraft you have, then in the table below, it can be determined what type of maintenance and inspections can be done by who on what type of Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA).

S-LSA –certified by FAA accepted ASTM consensus standards

  • Annual condition inspection may be performed by:
    • LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating (104 hour course)
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station
  • 100 hour inspection if used for training, towing, hire or rental may be performed by:
    • LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station
  • Maintenance*, repair and alterations may be performed by:
    • LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating (as authorized by manufacturer)
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station (as authorized by manufacturer)

E-LSA – Ultralights (fat/2 place trainers) transitioned before January 31, 2008 that meet the criteria of 21.191 (i) (1)

  • Annual condition inspection may be performed by
    • LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating (107 hour course)
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station
    • Owner Repairman with Inspection rating (16 hour course)
  • Owner can be trained in his/her own aircraft and does not need 100 hour inspection.
  • 100 hour inspection if used for training, compensation or hire before January 31, 2010 (towing no end date) may be performed by:
    • LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station
  • Servicing**, repair and alterations may be performed by:
    • Anybody

E-LSA – Manufacturers Kits that meet the criteria of 21.191 (i) (2) (not amateur built)

  • Annual condition inspection may be performed by
    • LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating (104 hour course)
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station
    • LSA Owner Repairman with Inspection rating (owner 16 hour course)
  • Owner can be trained in his/her own aircraft and does not need 100 hour inspection
  • Servicing**, repair and alterations may be performed by:
    • Anybody

E-LSA – Converted from S-LSA that meet the criteria of 21.191 (i) (3)

  • Annual condition inspection may be performed by
    • LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating (107 hour course)
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station
    • LSA Owner Repairman with Inspection rating (owner 16 hour course)
  • Owner can be trained in his/her own aircraft and does not need 100 hour inspection
  • Servicing**, repair and alterations may be performed by:
    • § 43.1 (b) specifies LSA Repairman with Maintenance rating, A&P or FAA certificated repair station (as authorized by manufacturer). NOTE (opinion only): It is anticipated and hoped this 41.1 (b) will change in the near future to exclude LSA and allow anyone to maintain the aircraft similar to other Experimental aircraft.

Amateur built that meet the definition of LSA and criteria of 21.191 (g)

  • Annual condition inspection may be performed by
    • Original builder gets Repairman certificate for that specific airplane and can perform annual condition inspection:
    • If owner was not original builder, Annual condition inspection may be performed by
    • A&P or FAA certificated repair station
    • Original builder
  • Owner can be trained in his/her own aircraft and does not need 100 hour inspection
  • Servicing**, repair and alterations may be performed by:
    • Anyone

* Simple “Preventative maintenance” as specified by manufacturer can be done by the owner and operator of a S-LSA with a Sport Pilot or higher certificate.

** Maintenance is a common term but it is not used here because the FAA uses the word “Maintenance” to refer to a specific level of service required by properly trained mechanics.

*** Simple “Preventative maintenance” as specified in FAR Part 43 can be done by the owner and operator of the aircraft with recreational pilot and higher certificate

A&P is an FAA certificated Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic

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