Owner assisted Annuals


How many owners are willing to work with an I.A to get their Annuals done? Also how many would use a rent a place to get an Annual or do other work on their aircraft?


In my experiance, Some owners like to do it and learn more about the aircraft. Some dont want to get their hands dirty. I encourage it.
The owner can see the problems as the IA finds them. makes them feel when the are paying for expensive parts.
Also an IA.


One doesn’t realize how many muscles have not been used until they do their first owner assisted annual. Needless to say, give every A&P credit where it’s due just in staying in shape in the hotter then H summers down here. I was probably more in the way then a help for as slow as I was turning a screw driver and power drivers are not an option.

So, when people ask me if I work on my own plane, my standard answer is “I work on computers, I leave it to the pros to work on my plane”.

As wingnut indicated, one really learns what is in the innards of a plane. I really was shocked on how empty the innards of the fuselage was once all the access panels were removed and such.

I personally would not.



One thing to keep in mind is that an owner assisted annual will normally cost more than a non-assisted one.


Based on?


When I do an owner assisted annual, the final cost depend on if the owner really wants to help and learn, or throw a wrench in the works and hinder the whole operation.most of what an owner can do is open up the aircraft’s inspection panels and assist in raising a retract on the jacks anyway!



Additional time necessary to answer questions, direct efforts at “assistance”, reluctance of the mechanic to have someone dogging his heels and questioning his every move, etc., etc.



If I pay someone to do something for me, I expect the person to answer my questions without charging me more. Of course, being a non-mechanic, I would not offer assistance. If I have questions, though, I expect the person to answer the questions and not charge me extra. It is my money that is paying the person. In other words, I expect good customer service from the person I hired and that includes the answering of questions.

If what I’m doing is on a flat-rate basis then I do not expect to be charged extra. If it’s on a hourly basis then I would expect the charge to go up if my questions cause the job to take longer. However, a mechanic or anybody else I hire should take into account that he is being paid by me and not charge me extra.


Dami, For $90.00 an hour I will stand and answer your questions all day long. otherwise I will be neglecting other customers!


Wouldn’t you agree that if a customer has a question then you should answer the question? If I’ve just spent a few hundred dollars or more for an inspection (or any other service) then shouldn’t I, as your customer, be entitled to asking you (as the service provider) questions?

On reflection of my previous posting, the questions perhaps should not be asked during the inspection itself. But, when I’m paying the bill, shouldn’t I be entitled to asking those questions off the clock, as part of your excellent customer service?


I in my 1ST. post in this thread said that I encourge owner assisted annuals. I in the process of performing the inspection will answer any question if its reasonable and does not slow the work down. BTW, on a 1st annual I do on an airplane I will not do a flat rate inspection. To many supprises!


You answered my question. Thanks. (And, yes, I understand the complexities of the real world - both as a customer and as a service provider).


I have done an owner assited annual (loosely calling it that) on all of my annuals. 5 of them. It actually saves you money and keeps you informed. I changed mechanics and the new mechanic wanted to bill me for every little thing he did, even the time thinking about what to do.

I mean it is not hard to unscrew some screws and have the floor and seats out so the mechanic can get to inspect your flight controls (piper cherokee) also taking out the entry to the tail section from the inside to get to the elt. Finding batteries and misc parts to run errands. These all save billable hours at least a few hundred dollars.

My original mechanic A&P for 40 years welcomed my help, the other guy really didn’t like me cutting into his paycheck and tried to charge me 5 extra hours for his reviewing all the old AD’s that had already been done. Said he didn’t want his name on it if they hadn’t been done and I had to pay him for 5 hours of research.

Typically I know where to fuel gas power machines, in this case I can check the oil and do the preflight inspection, so it is not that I am lending great knowledge to the A&P or asking dumb questions, I catch on quick, but certainly any idiot (pilot) can unscrew screws (cowling, floor panel, etc) run errands, follow directions and lend a helping hand.

In this you not only learn something, but should save some money too.

Will what2fly.com


Just a quick reply.
An IA is obligated by regulation to review the AD log on an aircraft.
If he screws up and misses one and there is an accident caused by his oversight, He can GO TO JAIL!
Most larger shops Have a clerical person that does nothing but review log books. and you will pay for this service.
Your old Mechinic was no doubt very familier with the AD status on your aircraft and did not have to make this complete review every year.


Yes and I don’t blame him for that, I just didn’t like him charging me his hourly mechanic rate for clerical review.


I suppose an owner can assist by flagging all the log entries showing compliance with the AD’s. :slight_smile:


What difference does it make what he’s doing, clerical work or actively turning a wrench? His time has value and someone needs to pay for it.


Heck, I got mine flagged with those removeable post its showing the ELT, .411 .413 and last annual completed. Good tip for those going on a check ride as it is the PIC’s responsibilty that all inspections including AD’s are complied with so before checkride, use post its to flag these entries for quick referral when asked by the DE. Made it a snap when I did my IFR checkride.

In spite of me trying to read up on everything, just learned yesterday from another Sundowner owner I was not in compliance with a re-occuring AD on the stabilator, and while it was done at every annual (I checked the airframe book), it’s not being done every 100 hours.

Sooo, next oil change I will get it done and put a post it tag on it so I know every other oil change it needs to be done…

Going through the FAA legal mumbo jumbo and trying to insure compliance from an owners point of view is almost a job in itself and I have a very simple piece of equipment by airplane standards. Can’t imagine what complex machines bring.

Who ever designed airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_an … enFrameSet obviously doesn’t use the website from an owners point of view. I have still yet to find a way to find AD’s that pertain to my plane only in a simple to use search feature whether it be by BE23 or Sundowner.

I did find jefro.net/mouse/issues/ad.html but it’s not an official source and I have no way of verifying if anything is missing.


I agree his time is valuable, but I went through flagged the reoccuring AD and the old ones as a cross check. I guess my real gripe is this particular mechanic and as willingness to over bill, not his thoroughness in checking AD’s. This was compounded by the fact that he got involved in trying to make his salary on AD research and other things that I had helped him with, which should have saved me money and he missed serveral inspections that should have been done (missing the forest for the trees comes to mind) one of which cost me several thousand more dollars and put me at risk. One was because my wing spars which had corrosion and had to be replaced which was found by another mechanic on a prebuy inspection when I went to sell the plane about 3 months later.

So the net is paying a mechanic or anyone like that performing a service is money well spent if they are doing their job to be thorough, for safety sake…when he told me what a thorough job he was doing and that is why my annual was twice what had paid in the past I just got miffed. He showed me all the “extra mile” things he was doing yet he missed several inspections, insisted that I use duracell vs energizer batteries for my elt and other petty things for the sake of change and justification of his billings. At the end of the day I had a bad experience with a mechanic who was unwilling to work with me and several other owners I know to not over bill people for his work, I still had some uncorrected items after his annual and spent several thousand replacing wing spars.

Sorry to vent on my bad mechanic story. Back to topic; owner assisted annuals can be helpful, save you some money and most of all let you learn about your airplane, but you need a mechanic who is willing to work with you and interested in doing a good job, then the money will not be the issue for either of you, you should get what you pay for if you have the same goal-safety and thoroughness.


Your “venting” resulted in an interesting thread Will, no apology necessary.