In the aviation industry, accurate and correctly maintained aviation records are significance in evaluating the quality of maintenance sources, evaluating the economics and procedures of maintenance programs. The records are essential in eliminating the need for re-inspection and rework in order to determine airworthiness. In his further studies Carmody (1997) commented that “only that information required to be a part of the maintenance record should be included and retained” (p. 247). It should be noted that irrelevant entries reduce the value of records in meeting their purpose.
Carmody (1997) says that the maintenance record requirements of FAR, part 43 have remained the same for several years. He however says that certain areas continue to be misunderstood and changes to both parts have recently been made. Carmody (1997) continues to say that proper management of an aircraft operation begins with and depends upon a good maintenance record system. Properly executed and retained records provide owners, operators and maintenance persons with essential information which is used in controlling scheduled and unscheduled maintenance (Carmody, 1997).
Maintenance of aviation records should be the responsibility shared by the owner, operator and maintenance persons with the ultimate responsibility assigned to the owner or the operator by FAR (Carmody, 1997). Besides this maintenance record entries are essential and they require each owner or operator to ensure that maintenance persons make the appropriate entries in the maintenance records to indicate the aircraft has been approved for return to service (Carmody 1997). In this context the prime responsibility for maintenance records lies with the owner or the operator. Carmody further established that the persons performing maintenance, rebuilding, preventive maintenance or alteration to make the entries in the maintenance record of the equipment worked on (1997). This implies that maintenance persons share the responsibility for maintenance records.
Federal Aviation Administration (2008) says that no person may make or cause to be made in the maintainence records of an airplane. The first rule according to Federal Aviation Administration (2008) is that “any fraudulent or intentionally false entry in any record or report that is required to be made kept or used to show compliance with any requirement under this part. Secondly it confirms that any reproduction for fraudulent purpose of any record or report under this part and finally any alteration for fraudulent purpose of any record or report under this part” (p. 18). Federal Aviation Administration (2008) thus says that the commission by any person of an act prohibited under the section above has a basis of suspending or revoking the applicable airman, operator or production certificate, Technical Standard Order Authorization, FAA-parts Manufacturer approval or Product and Process Specification issued by the Administrator and held by that person.
In addition, Federal Aviation Administration (2008) they continue to indicate that each person performing maintenance, alteration or reproduction on an aircraft should use the methods, techniques and practices prescribed in the existing manufacturer’s maintenance manual or instructions in order to ensure continued airworthiness prepared by its manufacturer or the methods, techniques and practices acceptable to the administrator (Federal Aviation Administration, 2008).
Altering or performing maintenance records in aviation should be done in such a way that the person in charge uses the materials of such a quality that the condition of the aircraft, airframe or appliance worked on will be at least equal to its original or properly altered condition (Federal Aviation Administration, 2008). Federal Aviation Administration (2008) continues to say that “unless otherwise notified by the administrator, the methods techniques and practices contained in the maintenance manual or the maintenance part of the manual of air carrier should constitute acceptable means of compliance with this section” (p. 18).
Federal Aviation Administration (2008) found out that the record used in the maintenance should be used to determine whether the aircraft or portions which are under inspection meet all applicable airworthiness requirements (p. 18). This means that falsification should not be allowed because maintenances should be performed I such away that it complies with the instructions and procedures set forth in the maintenance records (Federal Aviation Administration, 2008).
During the preparation of this maintenance records the personnel involved should use checklists which may be prepared by the individuals or use the ones provided by the manufacturer of certain equipment (Federal Aviation Administration, 2008). The checklist must include the scope and detail of the items contained in the maintenance records. Checklists can play a vital role in increasing the accuracy of the maintenance records of a airplane.
Spence (2006) says that special attention should be paid to the maintenance records. The first section is on the maintenance record entries in which Spence (2006) says that each person who maintains, performs preventive maintenance, rebuilds or alters an aircraft, airframe, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance or component part is obliged to make entries in the maintenance record of that equipment (p. 447).
The maintenance records should include information such as a description or reference to data acceptable to the administrator of the work performed (Spence, 2006). He continues to say that the records should include the date of completion of the work performed (Spence, 2006). In addition it is important to include the name of the person performing the work if other person does the work. In his further studies Spence (2006) indicated that “if the work performed on the aircraft, airframe, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance or component part has been performed satisfactory the signature, certificate number and kind of certificate held by the person approving the work should be indicated in the maintenance records” (p. 447). Spence (2006) continues to say that “the signature in this case constitutes the approval for return to service only for the work performed” (p. 447).
The other important entries which should be included in the maintenance records required in this case are records of the major repairs alterations which should be included in this form. The form should also be disposed according to the regulations from the FAR (Spence, 2006). Another major section in aviation maintenance records is the record keeping system which according to Spence (2006) should be controlled using a record keeping system that substantiates the part number, serial number and the current life status of the particular part. Spence (2006) also says that each time a certain part is removed from a type certified product the record must be updated with the current life status. To ensure effectiveness this system should include electronic paper or other means of record keeping.
According to Spence (2006) during the maintenance a tag or record should be attached to part. He says that to reduce falsification the tag or record must include the part number, serial number and current life status of the part. Spence (2006) also says that “each time the part is removed from a type certificated product, either a new tag or record must be created or the existing tag or record must be updated with the current life status” (p. 448).
Some parts may be legibly marked using a nonpermanent method showing its current life status. In the aviation maintenance records the life status must be updated each time the part is removed from a type certificated product or if the mark is removed (Spence, 2006). He also says that the mark must be accomplished with the instructions provided in the alterations records provided by the administrator in order to maintain the integrity of the part.
On the other hand Spence (2006) says that permanent markings can be made on some parts using permanent methods to show its current life status. In the aviation maintenance records Spence (2006) says that “the life status of these parts should be updated each time the part is removed from a type certified product” (p. 448). He thus says that unless the part is permanently removed form a type certificated products this permanent mark must b accomplished according to the instructions from the administrator so as to maintain the integrity of the part and of the records as well (Spence, 2006).