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The Details

A.D. stands for Airworthiness Directive. The AD is the most serious airworthiness maintenance document. An AD is issued by the FAA when a dangerous situation has developed with a component or system within the aircraft that could cause the loss of life. These can be identified by an accumulation of Service Difficulty Reports filed by mechanics and Repair Stations, or by the Manufacturer after observing a failure rate that is indicative of problems.

AD’s have many different requirements. There could be time by date requirements, time by aircraft hours requirements, time by component/part in service requirements, number of cycles, an inordinate number of failures or need for premature overhaul/service. The A D may allow time for the aircraft to operate before compliance is required, or it could require that the aircraft could be grounded immediately. AD’s can be placed on the engine or the airframe and are applied to an aircraft by Model and Serial Number.

Some AD’s can be complied with by inspection and some are complied with by removing a part/component from service and replaced with an approved part/component.. An AD issued by the FAA usually has the support of the manufacturer of the aircraft or the part/component or the manufacturer can create the AD itself through application to the FAA.

An AD contains an identification of the aircraft by Model and Serial Number, an identification of the part or Component by part number and/or drawing, often referenced n the Service or Parts manual for the aircraft. The AD outlines what to look for, what form of tests are required for the inspection, and the approved method of complying. An Alternative Method of Compliance can be petitioned from the FAA and eventually approved for the fleet.

Older aircraft can have Numerous AD’s and verifying compliance can be tedious. Logbook entries are notoriously scant on information and tracking down the compliance of multiple or repetitive AD’s is difficult. The AD searcADh is a primary item to review when buying a new aircraft.

Cessna Avionics manuals describe the installation, parts, and locations necessary to install the avionics and antennae for Cessna supplied communications and navigation equipment. They also include popular equipment that owners may opt for that are not Cessna ARC parts.

These Avionics Manuals are grouped under aircraft models where they were mostly used.

An aftermarket source for these Manuals is ESSCO, Inc. A sample page follows:

The correct title of this Document is “FAA Form337, Major Repair and Alteration”. It is also called a Field Approval.

This instrument is the FAA’s way of ensuring that any work, alteration, or repair done to an aircraft is done in accordance with all FAA rules and approved procedures. Whether it is modifying a passenger side door for skydiving or repairing a firewall, the FAA wants to assure anyone operating or riding in a repaired or modified aircraft is safe. Alterations include changing the specifications of the aircraft engine, airframe or aerodynamics not found in the Type Certificate.

The Form 337 is filled out by an aircraft mechanic that holds an Inspection Authorization, or an IA. It is his job not necessarily to do the work, but to inspect the work and approve the materials, parts and techniques used. Sometimes there must also be documentation by a Designated Engineering Representative, or DER, that any work that is structural has undergone an extensive examination extended top both structural, materials and design.

An aircraft modified either by the owner or with the addition of a commercially available modification, such as flap gaps, engine upgrade, vortex generators, or avionics, will be required to have an approved Form 337. This will also require an updated Weight and Balance computation.

A Form 337 that is submitted to the FAA may or may not be approved by the FAA and further documentation might be necessary. An approved STC usually satisfies the FAA’s requirements for approval.

A form 337 remains a permanent part of the aircraft’s paperwork.

Maintenance and Service Manuals are the documents used by owners and mechanics to ensure that the aircraft is mechanically airworthy. Issued by either Series or Model number and covering different production spans, these are the nuts and bolts manuals for how to address mechanical, structural systems and many other facts of the aircraft maintenance.

Many parts of an aircraft require routine maintenance. Brakes and brake pads, tires, nose strut s, and the myriad materials used for cleaning and lubricating moving parts of the controls systems. These manuals cover paint and trim colors, interior trim and aesthetic parts of the aircraft as well as the propeller and engine, including inspection and servicing of engine controls, and airframe structural and aerodynamic components.

Maintenance and Service Manuals do NOT contain Part Numbers or different designations of hardware used , rather discuss the maintenance and service requirements of all of the components of an aircraft, from the engine to the brakes to the paint and even the underlying aluminum, steel or other material. Service Manuals refer to parts and part numbers and their installation, removal or overhaul as required to maintain continued airworthiness.

Service and Maintenance manuals are constantly being updated. Old pages or sections are superseded with loose additions that can be inserted into the manual binder. Components are built by different builders or can be modified through Service Difficulty Reports of failures or premature wear while in service.

Service and Maintenance Manuals include a complete inspection list of items that are required to be inspected, tested or reviewed during the annual or 100 hour inspection.

It is recommended that every owner have a copy of the Maintenance and Service Manual for his/her aircraft and that it be kept up to date to ensure that his maintenance people are abreast of the required materials and procedures.

The Components Maintenance Manuals supplied by Cessna covers the operation and repair/replacement of components that make up the different systems found on an aircraft. This would be the Electrical Charging system, the air conditioning or heating systems or oxygen systems on equipped aircraft. Any problems with these components can be diagnosed and the component removed from the aircraft for repairs in a shop.

The manual is a document which details the way in which off-aircraft maintenance tasks on the specified component shall be accomplished. The maintenance tasks contained in these manuals do include procedures for restoring a structural component to a serviceable state and re-working and refinishing procedures are often provided in any appropriate CMM.

These manuals will ensure the airworthiness or the continuing airworthiness of a component.

These manuals are available from Cessna or aftermarket publishers, and are titled by the component or system name, of the series of aircraft where these components are used, from the Series 100 airplanes to the Citations.

SAIB is an abbreviation for Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin. This document is an information tool that alerts, educates, and makes recommendations to the aviation community. SAIBs contain non-regulatory information and guidance that does not meet the criteria for an Airworthiness Directive (AD).

An SAIB will contain information that is relative to an AD regarding inspection methods, or AMOC’s, or Alternate Method of Compliance. It helps guide a maintenance operation or aircraft owner through and AD compliance effort.

Following is a sample of an introduction of an SAIB:

This Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin is to provide awareness of an approved alternative method of compliance (AMOC) to all FAA airworthiness directives (ADs) and previously approved AMOCs that mandate the application of Alodine for all FAA type certificated aircraft, engines and propellers. The AMOC allows the use of the renamed Henkel Bonderite products as an alternative to the former Henkel Alodine products when complying with FAA ADs and previously approved AMOCs.

The document will include background on the information, recommendations for further action and contact information should there be questions.

Often, the SAIB will contain a copy of the FAA issued letter approving the action.

SB is the quick way to say Service Bulletin. Service Bulletins are notices to aircraft operators from a manufacturer notifying them of a product improvement. Alert service bulletins are issued by the manufacturer when a condition exists that the manufacturer feels is a safety related item as opposed to just a product improvement.

Because there are different levels of importance of Service Bulletins, there has been a move towards further modifying them into categories. These would be Alert (mentioned above), Recommended, informational, and Mandatory. It seems that Mandatory Service Bulletin and Airworthiness Directive are redundant.

Some say that a Service Bulletin is completely voluntary unless attached to an Airworthiness Directive, however an NTSB decision rules that an SB can be made mandatory if a manufacturer makes it so in their Overhaul or maintenance manual by reference. If they say it must be done for a good overhaul or repair or for continued airworthiness, then the AD attachment is not required. Likewise, if the aircraft is operated under 14 Part 121 or Part135, air carrier ops, it MAY be considered mandatory.

A Service Bulletin reflects that the improvements made to a component on an aircraft are serious enough to be worthy of consideration. Many owners think that an SB means a better, safer component has been developed and he may opt to do the work. In most cases an owner should do a cost analysis, including down time, involved in changing out a component that is still functioning. It is not necessarily true that a new and improved product makes the aircraft more airworthy.

A SB does not require an owner to do anything if his aircraft is flown privately. Many owners will have their mechanic look at the described problem and take note of the situation but do nothing. The owner may also have the mechanic go ahead and comply with the SB simply because it could be a maintenance problem in the future or he expects it to mature into a full blown Airworthiness Directive. In this case it is a preventative measure and always considered good maintenance practice.

A Service Instruction (SI) is issued by a manufacturer and becomes part of any repair, service or overhaul manual. As such, it becomes mandatory by “reference” according to the NTSB.

Example: Lycoming may include in their Overhaul Manual that it is mandatory to follow Service Instruction No. ***** when assembling the Oil Pump. This SI will include part numbers for new, improved parts that will qualify the overhaul and could eventually be the subject of an AD.

A Service Letter is product information document initiated by a manufacturer that can be optional to the pilot/owner. Again, future maintenance and a cost analysis would be considerations.

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