One of the key concepts in the CARs for all aircraft is that the owner is responsible for the maintenance of the aircraft. This is carefully spelled out in CARs 605.84 to 605.86 for all aircraft other than ultralights and hang gliders.
The owner’s responsibilities are laid out in these regulations and are pretty straight forward. The owner is not permitted to let anyone fly the aircraft unless:
The aircraft is maintained in accordance with any airworthiness limitations
applicable to the aircraft type design
The aircraft meets the requirements of any airworthiness directives issued
When the aircraft has undergone maintenance, that the work has been certified
by the signing of a maintenance release as required in CAR 571.10
The aircraft is maintained in accordance with a maintenance schedule that
conforms to the Aircraft Equipment and Maintenance Standards.
That doesn’t mean the owner can do the maintenance work themselves or even that they are permitted to sign for it – just that if the aircraft is flown when its annual, ADs or other required maintenance are expired then it is the owner’s responsibility, not the AME’s. AMEs and maintenance shops (AMOs) are responsible for the work that they are asked to perform by the aircraft owner. They are not responsible for scheduling the aircraft for maintenance. The responsibility for signing maintenance releases is spelled out in CAR 571.10.
This means that AMEs and AMOs have to sign for the work that they have completed and certify that it meets the applicable standards of airworthiness spelled out in the CARs Part V. If they complete work that the owner requested and it is not done in accordance with the airworthiness standards then they are responsible for that work and liable for the consequences.
When an AME signs for maintenance that they have done or supervised they must use the statement specified in CAR 571.10: “The described maintenance has been performed in accordance with the applicable airworthiness requirements” or a similarly worded statement – look for it in your logbooks.
Working with an AME
Some AMEs have poor opinions of pilots and refuse to work with aircraft owners
these are the ones to avoid. These days most AMEs are aware that aircraft owners want
to know more about their aircraft and also want to use that knowledge to save themselves some money on aircraft maintenance.
The CARs are pretty clear that only an AME can sign for most of the work that is done on a certified aircraft, but that doesn’t mean that they have to physically do all the
COPA Guide to Certified Aircraft 24