From a 2002 Duncan Aviation Debrief

•“Shoddy, unkempt records can put an end to a pre-buy event.”

•“An aircraft’s history begins the day the aircraft leaves the factory. How has maintenance been handled (or not
handled)? Are the logbooks in order? The importance of accurate records cannot be overstated. In fact, if the
success of a pre-buy could be predicted, it could often be based on one item – the condition of the aircraft

•“Organized and complete records indicate that the aircraft has probably been handled in the same careful
manner. Sloppy, missing or unorganized records could mean that maintenance was handled in a haphazard


Who is Responsible for the Records that do exist?

All throughout the FARs, the owner/operator is charged with the ultimate responsibility for aircraft airworthiness
and the records that substantiate airworthiness.


91.7 Civil Aircraft Airworthiness

    •(a) No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.
    •(b) The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in
    condition for safe flight. The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when un-airworthy
    mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.

91.403 General

    •The owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy
    condition, including compliance with part 39 of this chapter.

What does this mean in practical terms?

Assuming that you have no contractual or employee agreement with a qualified person to manage the
airworthiness of the aircraft you fly:

and you operate on any kind of progressive or continuous airworthiness program, you as the pilot stand alone
as the person responsible for managing the whole aircraft airworthiness.

or you operate on a 100 HR / Annual inspection program, you are still the primary person responsible for
airworthiness.  The 100 HR / Annual inspections are (whole aircraft) inspections so the inspector is standing
right behind you for airworthiness at the completion of the inspection.  As time and hours are put on the aircraft
after the inspection, the inspector is standing farther and farther behind you.  If you operate with an AD that is
due or with a discrepancy that is not properly repaired or deferred, the inspector will have gone for coffee and
he is not coming back.


Either way, check out the
Questions page to check some of your documentation knowledge.
Why should the owner/operator care about
the documentation for the aircraft they fly?
Code of Federal

Title 14
and Space

Generally known as the
Federal Aviation
Regulations (FARs)
Statements about
products, parts,
appliances and

(a) Definitions. The
following terms will have
the stated meanings
when used in this section:

Airworthy means the
aircraft conforms to its
type design and is in a
condition for safe

Airworthiness has
two components:

Condition for safe
which from a
pilot standpoint, usually
relates to the result of  
visual and operational

Conforms to its
type design
must be supported by

Part 3.5
Meeting Gene Cernan at
Bombardier in Wichita
Lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 in
May 1969; and commander of
Apollo 17 in December 1972, the
final Apollo lunar landing

What a great and interesting man.

Last man on the moon!
We miss you Gene
January 16, 2017
We have lost a true American hero