Aircraft Annual Inspection Cost

How Much Does An Aircraft Annual Inspection Cost?

How much does an aircraft annual inspection cost? Cost is figured by multiplying hours needed to complete the inspection by the shops hourly rate. To get an idea of annual inspection cost download our FREE Annual Inspection Typical Labor Hour guide below.

This article will cover the different areas of an annual inspection that affect cost. This includes what is required for an aircraft annual inspection, choosing a shop/mechanic, and aircraft types.

How Much Does An Aircraft Annual Inspection Cost
Tail Inspection Beech V35B

Labor Rate X Hours Requied For Inspection = Annual Inspection Cost

Table Of Contents

Piston Aircraft Types And Aircraft Annual Inspection Cost

* Rates Based On 100$ Per Hour / Chart Shows Piston Aircraft Ownly / Cost does Not Include Repairs (inspection only) / See Free PDF For Hours For Each Model Of Aircraft 

Cost / Aircraft Type Single Eng Fixed Single Eng Comp Multi Engine
1,200.00 - 1,800.00$
2,200.00 - 2,800.00$
3,000.00 - 6,500.00$

What Is Required During An Annual Inspection?

FAR 43 Appendix D

FAR 43 Appendix D is the FAA’s published checklist for annual inspection requirements. All annual inspections must meet or exceed this FAR requirement. This can be satisfied by using the actual FAR 43 Appendix D as a checklist, using the manufactures checklist, or by creating a custom checklist that meets or exceeds FAR 43 Appendix D (See FAR 43 Appendix D HERE).

"All Annual Inspections Must Meet Or Exceed FAR 43 Appendix D"

In short FAR 43 Appendix D covers a complete inspection of the aircraft. It’s simple, the more complex your aircraft the higher the aircraft annual inspection cost. A Cessna 150 will cost less to inspect than a Beechcraft Baron. Make sure to check out our FREE Annual Inspection Typical Labor Hours PDF for a list of aircraft and typical hours required to perform and annual inspection. This list is being used by many aircraft maintenance shops. Simply take the shops hourly rate multiplied by the hours listed for your aircraft to get the aircraft annual inspection cost.

Back to aircraft annual inspection requirements…. I have worked for shops that simply rely on the IA to set the standards for the inspection, and I’ve worked for shops that have a comprehensive list and follow it religiously. If you want to pay bottom dollar for your inspection prepare to get bottom level service and quality. Remember your flying this airplane not driving it. Ultimately it’s your choose to find a shop that works for you. Check out the section below on what questions to ask the mechanic before getting an annual inspection. 

Airworthiness Directives

I think we all know what Airworthiness Directives are, but what role do they play in the annual inspection process? AD’s fall into one of two categories. One time occurance, or recurring. At annual, mechanics will check the aircraft and its accessoriess for new AD’s. In addition, they will check to see which recurring AD’s need complied with. Depending on the type of aircraft this may take extra time which equates to more annual inspection cost. For example a cessna 150 typically doesn’t have as many AD’s as a piper commanche. Simply put, an aircraft with more recurring AD’s will typically have a higher aircraft annual inspection cost.

"AD's Fall Into One Of Two Categories: One Time Occurance, Or Recurring"

AD’s have a big influance on recurring cost of an aircraft. This is why its important to check the recurring AD’s of an aircraft prior to purchasing. Some aircraft have been hit with AD’s that will definitly increase the aircraft annual inspection cost.

Manufactures Requirements

The guidelines for an annual inspection are set by the FAA and the aircraft manufacture. If the manufacture requires a certain maintenance event to be accomplished at annual than it will have to be accomplished at annual inspection. These usually show up in the form of an AD or service bulliten. The FAR your operating under (see next section) will dictate how strict the requirements are. With FAR 91 being the most relaxed. 

The FAR you’re operating under will have a major influance on the aircraft annual inspection cost. It may even effect how often you inspect the aircraft. Most business/pleasure aircraft owners operate under Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91. This is the most relaxed and usually requires that the aircraft get inspected every 12 calendar months. 

FAR 135 covers unscheduled air carriers such as charter operations. If you’re using the aircraft to transport people or cargo and are charging customers this FAR would apply to you (if you’re providing on demand service). Inspections and maintenance requirements are more strict in this category vs FAR 91. So maintenance cost will increase. 

Lastly their’s FAR 121. This covers scheduled air carriers. This includes scheduled airlines. The inspection criteria for this FAR is usually the most intense and will require routine inspections beyond an annual inspection. Maintenance programs must be accepted by the FAA. Operating under this FAR will most likely incure the highest maintenance operating cost out of the three discussed in this article. 

Additional Repairs During Annual Inspection

So we covered the actual aircraft annual inspection cost, but what about the repairs? Inspection cost typically include a set amount of hours and therefore will be a flat cost. This includes inspecting the aircraft, performing typical servicing, and checking typical AD’s. Additional repairs beyond this will cost extra if you get them corrected. The mechanic you choose will impact the cost associated with your annual inspection. Some mechanics won’t even look at your aircraft while others will be over the top with discrepancies such as a scratch in the paint. 

"Inspection Cost Typically Include A Set Amount Of Hours And Therefore Will Be A Flat Cost"

We always place an emphasis on flight critical items during our inspections. We then discuss with the customer if they want us to be more meticulous with the cosmetic discrepancies. Some owners want their aircraft to be in top mechanical and cosmetic shape. While others only care about the mechanical airworthiness. 

If your aircraft operates in excess of 100 hours per year then expect to have some discrepancies that will need corrected before the mechanic signs of the annual inspection. If your aircraft sits without flying, expect a bum cylinder compression reading every once and a while. Both circumstances will typically increase the aircraft annual inspection cost.

The key here is to find a mechanic that will discuss repair options with you prior to actually doing the repair. Any mechanic worth his/her salt will give you an annual inspection summary report and discuss repair options with you.

"Any Mechanic Worth His/Her Salt Will Give You An Annual Inspection Summary Report And Discuss Repair Options With You"

If you don’t agree with the repairs needed by the mechanic you have the option of not getting the repairs completed. The mechanic would sign the logbook stating that the annual inspection was completed and will not be airworthy until the discrepancies are corrected. The mechanic is required to give you a list of those discrepancies. You can then have another mechanic look at those discrepances and either fix them or sign them off as being ok. In this case your aircraft annual inspection cost should be approximately the flat cost to inspect the aircraft only.

Choosing An Aircraft Maintenance Shop Or Mechanic

Here are some of the key questions to ask a shop or mechanic before getting an annual inspection:

  • What Inspection List Do You Use When Performing An Annual Inspection?
  • What Is Your Labor Rate Per Hour & How Many Hours Will It Take?
  • If You Find Discrepencies What Is Your Process For Addressing Them
  • Do you have experience inspecting my make and model of aircraft?

A reputable shop or mechanic will create a list of discrepancies found and generate a report for you once the inspection is complete. They will then consult with you prior to correcting any of these discrepancies. Make sure you clarify that you want a list of discrepencies prior to the shop taking action. Many times I’ve seen shops inspect and peform repairs without consultation with the owner. This will increase the aircraft annual inspection cost greatly. 

Who Can Perform An Annual Inspection?

There are three entites that can complete an aircraft annual inspection. An Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic (A&P) with an Inspection Authorization (IA), a FAR Part 145 Certified Repair Station with the appropriate rating to sign annuals off for the specified aircraft, or the aircraft manufacture.  The most common way aircraft annual inspection are being completed currently is by use of the A&P with IA method.

The A&P with an IA can either perform the inspection themselves or oversee and instruct an individual performing the inspection. The end result will be a maintenance entry in the aircraft records with the IA license number and signature. If your having trouble finding an aircraft mechanic with an IA endorsement submit a maintenance request to our network of mobile aircraft mechanics below.

Summary

The shop or mechanic you choose will be the largest influencer aircraft annual inspection cost. The old saying you get what you pay for couldnt be more true with annual inspections. Finding a shop or mechanic that fits your needs is key. If you’re a budget flyer and can barely afford flying than asking around for the 500.00 dollar mechanic may be what you do. Remember you get what you pay for and this is flying not driving. Were not the only ones who think this way… Want another good read? Check out this article on Cheap Annual Inspections

Annual Inspection Typical Labor Download
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