Progressive Maintenance for Frequent Fliers

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by NealRomeoGolf, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    2,604
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
    This is purely hypothetical since I think about my future retirement years way too much...

    If you're flying Part 91 and happen to have the opportunity to fly 50 hours a month in your personal plane, what would you do for maintenance? 100 hour inspections every two months? Some kind of monthly progressive inspection? For my plane I have a number of ADs that come due every 100 hours so those would need doing. Just curious the thoughts on what it would take and how you would arrange it. Pretty much flight school level maintenance, right?

    And speaking of 100 hour inspections, would you have the A&P log it as such? Considering that my spar AD counts 100 hour inspections as a bad guy towards that AD, does the A&P have to log it as such if you just want him to look at things every 100 hours? That's probably a fun rabbit hole to explore.
     
  2. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,274
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
  3. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    2,175
    Location:
    San Jose
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NordicDave
    This has been discussed a lot. Generally progressive maintenance works for the airlines, and difficult to find cost benefit for small GA planes.

    If there was a benefit to single engine GA progressive maintenance, then more flight schools would adopt it.
     
  4. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    2,517
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ari
    Can I get the number of your retirement planner? I don't think my current strategy will pay for 600 hours per year of flying.

    If you're referring to the PA-28 wing spar AD, then you definitely do not want any legally unnecessary 100-hour inspections to be logged, because they will be indistinguishable from a legally-required one that counts against your factored service hours.

    If I were flying that much, I would be doing my own oil changes every 25 or 50 hours and spending some extra time learning what to look for on hour-based wear and tear and/or working with an A&P to do an informal once-over every month to approach but not log a 100-hour inspection, especially things that might help catch a dying engine on the ground like oil analysis and compression checks. There is no FAR prohibiting you from having the plane looked over regularly and your retirement will probably last longer if you aren't just flying 600 hours between inspections without so much as a look at the spark plugs or compression check.

    If your plane has an engine monitor that will provide you data logs, you could also consider subscribing to SavvyMX to help you analyze the data and spot changes or trends that you should get looked at before flying the next 100 hours.
     
  5. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2017
    Messages:
    4,138
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bell206
    Having assisted owners with this exact scenario, in most cases I would recommend continue on an Annual inspection interval but increase the frequency and levels of preventative maintenance tasks either by the owner or the mechanic. This method worked well even for those owners who flew in spurts of more than 50hrs a month at times.
    If the 100hr is not required for your flying then I would refrain from repetitive 100s. Perhaps in some cases a 100 hr at the 6 month mark may make sense or not. So depends.
    FYI: in most private GA flying, a progressive inspection usually doesn’t add any value. It does increase FSDO involvement and requires an AP with an IA to oversee it vs only an AP for a 100 hr. For some it does work in their specific environment. So depends again.
    And continue to treat them separate, or tie them in with a 100hr preventative mx requirement like lubrication. A number of OEM airframe lube charts usually are listed in 100hr or less intervals. You could have the AD inspected by your AP while you give the aircraft a few squirts of grease.
    That falls to the individual AP. But since any work performed should be recorded and performed to a reference, would you rather have a single entry referencing a 100hr or a much larger entry(s) detailing all the items removed/opened without using the 100 hour reference?
     
  6. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    2,604
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
    If you want the number to my retirement planner, you're looking at him. I do most of it myself. I may not be able to sustain 50 hours a month. It will probably be closer to 30 but I can dream. When we cross that bridge I guess we'll see if there are enough Angel flights and doggie flights to do to get me to that many hours.
     
    iamtheari likes this.
  7. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    Hipsterdelphia PDX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mike Brannigan
    We considered the progressive maintenance program from Cessna for our flight school airplanes, some of which were over 100 hours per month on average. (record was 171 if i recall, so they spent a lot of time/$ in routine maintenance)

    The components we liked:

    1. Partial maintenance in lieu of a 100hr. There were a rotating series of light and heavy phases that (if I recall) ended up being "every 3 phases = a 100hr" in terms of labor.
    2. Cessna structured things so that an A&P could do the phases, an IA was needed to initiate and if you fell out of cadence, an annual was due.

    The components we disliked:

    1. Cessna charged an annual friendship fee
    2. There were a few different ways to fall out of progressive compliance, and the remedy was always an immediate annual.
    3. The above-mentioned FAA interference in your maintenance.

    Ultimately, we chose NOT to pursue it, even for our low-maintenance restart skyhawks. Item #3 above was probably the tiebreaker against. Being a 141 school, we didn't enjoy our touch points with our FSDO. Yours may bring cookies and coffee when they visit. Ours brought red-tags and prolapsed excretory organs.

    As to what I would do part 91 at this sort of volume (300+ hours per year), it would depend on the plane. I probably would do 100hr inspections just to suss out shenanigans before they become expensive or dangerous.
     
  8. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,890
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Assuming you don’t legally need 100 hour inspections, You can do an annual inspection every other month, right? That wouldn’t count as “bad” 100 hr inspection. Nothing says you can’t do an annual early, or more than one a year.
     
  9. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    2,175
    Location:
    San Jose
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NordicDave
    @Salty has good workaround. Also for part 91 aircraft following the 25/50/100/1000/2000 hour maintenance schedule fixing squawks while you’re at it works too. Logbook entry for 100 hour or other service interval as per MMO or service manual, is not a 100hr inspection thou next result is same given part 91.
     
  10. kshaw

    kshaw Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Messages:
    135
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KShaw
    I had a Cessna that I rented to a flying club. Rather than 100 hour inspections, I just did an annual at 100-hour intervals. It cost the same but a plane with a fresh annual is always more valuable than a plane with a fresh 100-hour inspection.