Required Maintenance

Certified aircraft used for private (noncommercial) flying require an annual inspection of airworthiness, referred to as “the annual.” This must be done by or under the supervision of an A&P mechanic.

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Yes, you can do some or all of the work, but an A&P mechanic must sign off that the work was done correctly. Many pilots do their own required maintenance under the direction of an A&P (called an “owner-assisted annual”), especially pilots who have proven mechanical aptitudes and know a friendly A&P mechanic. Don’t know which repairs you can and cannot do on your plane? Find a helpful A&P mechanic and ask. Some are more willing than others to oversee and certify work done by aircraft owners.

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How much does an annual inspection cost? It depends on the complexity of the aircraft and whether repairs need to be done. If you hire an A&P mechanic to perform and certify the inspection, plan on spending from $500 to $2,000 on the annual inspection. You can cut the costs by half or more if you’re willing to do some of the tasks under the direction of the A&P mechanic.

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