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95.55/LSA - Your Maintenance Issues and Costs


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Recent discussions about what an L1 and an L2 can or cannot do prompted me to look further into becoming an L2. I've never thought about it previously because I've not been maintaining other peoples' aircraft and my own have either been Amateur Built by me - so I could do the maintenance myself, or they've been GA and maintained by LAMEs.

 

Over the last 3-4 years I've also rented LSA planes regularly as a matter of convenience to be able to take people flying in different locations. Three times I was surprised to find problems during my pre-flight inspection that were bad enough to need to have them fixed before flying.

 

One was a crack extending from an aileron hinge, a second was a split balance tube between the carbs on a 912 and the most concerning was finding all the spark plugs loose on an engine that had just returned from a test following a 100hrly, and having been handed over to me as "she's right, all ready to go ..."

 

I wasn't stressed about those issues because I am very thorough with my pre-flights, and particularly so with rented aircraft. Additionally, during my commercial years, and regardless that I had the best LAMEs that money could buy and whom I brought thousands of miles to do my servicing, I had so many issues during proving flights following maintenance that I never assume all will be well after an aircraft has been pulled apart and re-assembled.

 

Nonetheless, having spoken about it with the owners of the craft I was renting, I found that some people were finding it difficult to get their servicing done reliably and some had complaints about the costs. With that in mind I have for some time thought that I might set up a maintenance facility and perhaps train up a few L1s to become L2s, should a suitably located workshop become available.

 

Recently I did hear about something suitable so I started to look into the process to become an L2. It would appear very straightforward if you have the relevant experience and knowledge, just a matter of filling in the forms, providing the supporting documentation and having a couple of other L2s or an L2 and a LAME who have known you for a long time provide their recommendation.

 

Yesterday I phoned an L2 that I worked with and have known for thirty years and had a discussion about becoming an L2 and his endorsement of me for same. He was perfectly willing to provide the endorsement but, being a good friend, he then went on to tell me about the down side of doing other peoples' maintenance and why, after more than 25 years of providing a highly regarded maintenance service himself, he's now decided to close up shop and get his maintenance done (signed off at least) by someone else. He has a couple of LSAs in his flying school so his maintenance cannot be done by himself as an L1 if he relinquishes his L2.

 

The matters he raised which make it "all too much to continue with" are -

 

  • The paperwork has become an overburden with documentation needing to be raised for every action and every part, and that documentation having to be archived for 7yrs. He feels the time spent on the paperwork will probably soon outweigh the time spent on the maintenance itself.
     
     
  • Liability issues becoming so prevalent that it appears to him that everyone is looking for someone to blame in event that anything goes wrong. So, whilst he hasn't had it before, he won't do any further maintenance without PI insurance and his initial enquiries indicate he'll be looking at an annual premium of at least $4-5000 and the amount of income he gets from maintenance wouldn't cover that.
     
     
  • RAAus are starting to pressure L2s to justify holding the 'ticket' and into relinquishing any part of, or all of their L2 if they're not using it. In other words if you don't regularly do fibreglass repairs you won't be permitted to do any composite repairs. This means other people have to be brought in to work on a wingtip ding while you do the tyre change, for example. Similarly if you don't do regular engine builds/changes/repairs, you won't be able to do anything on engines.
     
     

 

 

Frankly this is getting as bad as GA and that was never the intention.

 

Further, there is a big move to cancel all L1s and introduce 100hrlys (every RAA pilot certificate holder is an L1 unless it's been revoked) and then all maintenance, whether solely private operations or not, will have to be done by L2s or LAMEs. And all this while RAAus are cancelling L2s although many more L2s would be needed under that program ...

 

This may well bring RAA back to its roots where only the owner/builders of Amateur Built 95.55 will be able to afford this class of aviation because they'll be the only ones left who can maintain their own.

 

I've a lot more thoughts about this, and none are good unfortunately, but I'll leave it there for now and see what you all think. For those who have their maintenance done by L2s or LAMEs -

 

How much are you paying for maintenance, is it too much?

 

How good is the maintenance?

 

Is it easy enough to find someone to do it?

 

And for everyone - is there really a need for this clamp-down? Are we seeing incidents or crashes resulting from poor or lacking maintenance?

 

 

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I purchased my first aircraft after having a partial engine failure on a rental.

 

I built and maintain my Savannah, and this is the only way I can afford to fly, and feel comfortablethat the maintenance is done properly.

 

Under the AUF this was a great benefit.

 

I dont want to see our hobby dissapear due to over-regulation. I might be forced to go RPL if it gets too hard.

 

 

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HITC, my thoughts & feelings exactly ,

 

although , I've never had the problem of being over paid ,

 

it's usually the other way around ,

 

customer comes in for a service , change oil ect ect , aah! problem found,

 

aah!,um,!no extra money ,

 

so you do it for nicks ,

 

I'm still considering weather to keep the L2

 

I might get one or two insurance jobs per year & maybe 3,or4 service repairs a year , plus my own ongoing work with the Avocet

 

it's still not enough to justify 3or 4 $0000's for the insurance policy

 

on the other hand , if l2 start disappearing it might be worth staying on and round up some more business ,

 

ie. advertise in the mags ect ,( not cheep )

 

by the way , I rang tec man the other day or 4 ago , hasn't returned my call ,

 

makes me feel IDE only be bothering him if I called back.

 

May bee CASA wants to get rid of l2 's

 

and deligate & stimulate LAME's???

 

 

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75 dollars per hour:angry: should paid the bloke across the road 95 dollars per hr and I would be still flying 020_yes.gif.58d361886eb042a872e78a875908e414.gif

 

the first l2 l3 lame could have killed:angry: me the second l2 l3 lame grounded me plane 011_clap.gif.c796ec930025ef6b94efb6b089d30b16.gif

 

look and you will find but ask others and don't use cheep Charlie 013_thumb_down.gif.ec9b015e1f55d2c21de270e93cbe940b.gif

 

very contentious issue having seen some off the planes and some off the remarks made about different l2 lame my answer would be yes:scratching head:051_crying.gif.fe5d15edcc60afab3cc76b2638e7acf3.gif

 

hi hitc what I have been saying for 7 years or so some of the idiots have brought this on our organization but the dim witted leaders off our organization could not see past their nose

 

when I reported l2 l4 civil mater the power full of crap leaders wrote to me

 

I know your mate is right the amount off paper work he is required to do is getting stacked against him 062_book.gif.f66253742d25e17391c5980536af74da.gif

 

yes the good old paper trail and accountability of some l1 l2 l3 and LAME is not there :sad:neil

 

 

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Thanks AVOCET and neil, that was the next stage of my thoughts.

 

In conversation I had with the aircraft owners they all felt they were having to pay way too much but I thought the actual figures they told me were a pittance. Admittedly I got used to large numbers when I was operating Jetrangers and Hughes 500s ($15-20,000 average for a 100hrly) and even my C172 tended to run to around $2-3000 per service and it had been recently zero-houred.

 

So - are the aircraft owners unrealistic about what they expect to pay for servicing? After all if people want to, or have to, have their servicing done for them, then the person doing the job not only has to have the knowledge and the qualification but also has to provide a hangar, all the tools, workplace insurance, PL insurance and PI insurance.

 

Some of those I talked to said the people doing their servicing "should be charging around $30/hr". I couldn't get a reason for that mind you. I pointed out that I'm a self employed consultant in the construction industry, which is kinda similar, and my billing rate is triple that. Then I was told I charge too much as well. I don't think I do - providing your own workplace, equipment and insurances, and the insecurities of GFCs and the like, means self-employed people do have to bill an hourly rate that is considerably more than salaried professionals. By comparison, most of my salaried professional peers already own their own properties but I certainly don't.

 

So - how much does a 100hrly on an LSA cost on average? And other maintenance costs? I've had several people tell me recently that Tecnams have been costly to own due to airframe repairs because areas of them have been prone to cracking - any other comments folks? Which aircraft are cheapest to own?

 

 

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The current Tech Manager is happily destroying our successful maintenance system.

 

He has, by his recent actions against our maintainers, deliberately set out to force each of us to decide if we will remain in the system, go outlaw, or quit.

 

I do not know this fellow's background, but I have my suspicions.

 

We know, as the ones doing the work, that "recency" is not a significant factor in the quality of the work that we do.

 

It appears to me that this bloke is using furphys such as "recency", to strip a good bulk of L2s of their rightful qualification.

 

Spare a thought for the newly minted pilot who has just bought an aeroplane. No L1 is issued with his/her Pilot Certificate. This person is, therefore trapped, NOW, in the same position as a VH- registered owner. There is no alternative but to bring in someone to maintain the aircraft. Owner maintenance is revoked.

 

This is what should have happened.

 

The RAAus board, knowing the critical nature of what is happening, should have resolved to order the Tech Manager to strike out all reference to recency, and the like, from the Tech Manual.

 

This should have been presented to CASA as a revision. If CASA happened to not accept the revision, then the board should have resolved to order the Tech Manager not to enforce CASA's will.

 

Why? RAAus will live or die by whether it successfully defends it's current, easy going, maintenance system.

 

It amazes me that board members are not freaking out about this attack on our core.

 

It is time to refuse CASA. It is time to deal only with the minister.

 

 

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.... It appears to me that this bloke is using furphys such as "recency", to strip a good bulk of L2s of their rightful qualification ....

I'm really sorry to hear this, in dealing with other matters I've found Darren to be excellent ...

 

...but this is OUTRAGEOUS. There is a mandate in AUF/RAAus that say things shall not be more onerous than GA. Well I'd like to see what the LAMEs would have to say about it if someone decided to strip them of their qualification even if they hadn't worked for the last decade ...!

 

 

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I think the problem might be that it's recreational flying and therefor it's based on mates helping mates ( sometimes )

 

I've just done two jobs at Pt Lincon

 

both customers (mates)paid for travel , put nic & I up for two nights, fed us , and paid what we asked .

 

I think there are two many l2 that will do the work just to help out and to a degre , There'sa few that .... naah! not going there!

 

cheers

 

mike

 

 

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The thing that makes my flying so affordable is to be able to maintain and repair/modify/replace any part of my aircraft. The maintenance and cost of oil etc are part and parcel of it. I would probably not be flying if I had to go down the road of LSA

 

Mark

 

 

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In reply to HITC, the Texan 50 hourly with oil costs about $300 and the annual about $800. These seem fair charges to me for the time and consumables involved. The glass and carbon fibre components have no maintenance, just inspection. Inspect and lube cables and rods, and the standard 912 stuff. Including a carb tune. My GA friends spend four times this with a LAME and I can see why, because the aeroplanes are totally different.

 

The only L1 permissions that I need are to change tyres and battery which GA pilots can do anyway, as these things can be needed anywhere you are stuck. I've had to do both.

 

All this doesn't mean that I don't know the aeroplane thoroughly. I could change the oil if I wished. There just isn't much more that needs doing. And I feel confidence because I trust the bloke doing the work.

 

 

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no nong the currant tec is not destroying us it was bloody well done years ago

 

have you not comprehended what I have been saying well explain this

 

l2 l3 lame said my plane was airworthy with these defects

 

cracked windscreen

 

no weight and balance

 

rigging 20 degrees out

 

bent rudder peddles

 

bent engine frame

 

crack in leading edge of wing

 

hole on fuzerlarge patched with car bog

 

loose engine bolt not torqued

 

bent under carridge

 

flap indercator no working

 

egt not working

 

now that some one is getting these pathetic excuses for l2 l3 lame out off our organization you jump on him

 

oh hold on the l2 l3 lame that found these problems is wrong i think not

 

if you want some one to blame for this shit blame me because currant tec and I have had very heated discussion on this very issue neil

 

 

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