work themselves. At most Approved Maintenance Organizations (AMOs) a lot of the work is usually accomplished by apprentices, under supervision of an AME. Most AMEs will also allow the aircraft owner to “work under supervision” and then they will inspect and sign for the work done. This is common and legal to do.
The key to a happy certified ownership experience often hinges on finding an AME with whom you can comfortably work. Often these will be “freelance” AMEs who are not part of an AMO, although many AMOs are great to work with as well.
How do owners find a local AME who will be easy to work with? Usually they are found by talking to other aircraft owners in your area. COPA Flights are often the best place to connect with other owners and even AMEs, too. Many AMEs are also pilots and can be found through your local COPA Flight or Flying Club.
Not all work on a certified aircraft requires an AME’s signature. There are actually some maintenance items that TC will let owners carry out and then sign for. These are referred to as “Elementary Work” tasks and are detailed in CAR 625 Appendix A.
That CAR says, “The following list is exhaustive; if a task is not listed, it is not elementary work”. That pretty much covers it – anything not on the list, other than normal servicing items (refueling, washing windows, etc) requires an AME’s signature.
CAR 625 Appendix A allows anyone who is not an AME to do the following
Elementary Work Task Listings
1) fabric patches measuring not more than 15 cm (6 in) in any direction and not requiring rib stitching or the removal of control surfaces or structural parts, on small privately operated aircraft;
(2) removal and replacement of tires, wheels, landing skids or skid shoes, not requiring separation of any hydraulic lines, on small privately operated aircraft;
(3) removal and replacement of skis on fixed landing gear, not requiring separation of any hydraulic lines, on small privately operated aircraft;
(4) repair of non-structural fairings, cover plates and cowlings, on small privately operated aircraft;
cleaning and replacement of spark plugs, on small privately operated aircraft;
checking of cylinder compression, on small privately operated aircraft;
COPA Guide to Certified Aircraft 25