Maintenance: Don't Get Mad, Get Educated?

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Long-time aircraft-owner-turned-A&P Mike Busch, co-founder of AVweb and its managing editor from 1995 to 2002, has a new venture -- he wants to help owners take more control of their aircraft outside the cockpit. Busch will hold a series of weekend Savvy Owner Seminars designed to help aircraft owners become more maintenance ... savvy ... and to give them the tools (figuratively) to become directly involved in maintenance decisions. "Owners have a lot more authority than they think they do," Busch told AVweb. The program is designed to teach pilots "how to have a better-maintained aircraft while spending less on maintenance." Busch said a lot of owners put themselves at the mercy of their mechanics and the results can be expensive. He said this "mechanic-as-God-syndrome" prevents owners from questioning decisions or seeking a second opinion when it's actually their responsibility to do so. FAA regs clearly put the onus on the owner to ensure maintenance is properly and effectively carried out. "My goal is to help owners feel more maintenance-savvy and empowered to manage the maintenance of their aircraft and to participate meaningfully in maintenance decisions," he said.

The seminars, the first of which will be held at Van Nuys, Calif., March 6 and 7, lead owners through various steps and toward an active role in their aircraft's maintenance program, including the fundamental task of choosing a shop and mechanic. "There's no such thing as a perfect mechanic," he said. The sheer scope of the A&P's profession ensures that some will be better than others at certain tasks. The trick for the owner is finding the right mechanic for their aircraft. The two intense days of presentations, problem-solving and breakout groups will also deal with coping with high parts costs, handling repairs away from home and troubleshooting elusive problems. "They'll take away dozens of specific tips and techniques for dealing with frustrating maintenance problems and saving thousands of dollars," Busch said. An aircraft owner since 1968, Busch took the A&P course about 10 years ago and has since become a consultant helping owners troubleshoot and fix the thorniest maintenance problems that have stumped their regular mechanics. For more information on dates, locations, tuition, etc., call Ann at 702-395-8109.