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The Fundamentals of Aircraft Inspections

The Fundamentals of Aircraft Inspections

Aircraft inspections are  an FAA requirement, and are the responsibility of every person who owns or operates aircraft. These inspections preserve the safety of passengers and air and ground crews, lengthen aircraft life, and keep repair costs down.

Inspection Types

Landing gear airplane nose wheel

Inspections of aircraft occur annually, every 100 hours, progressively and pre-flight..


The aircraft annual inspection is required, and a mechanic with inspection authorization must sign off on it. There are several areas of focus:

  • Flight controls
  • Avionics check
  • Engine inspection and testing
  • Aircraft logbook review
  • Flight surfaces checks
  • Removal and replacement of unsafe parts

The annual inspection applies only to certain aircraft, such as those with a special flight permit or experimental certificate.


Aircraft-for-hire that carry passengers other than crew are subject to the 100-hour inspection. The entails the removal of an aircraft’s struts, fabric of fuselage, brakes, cabins, and cargo, as well as:

  • Checking the cabin
  • Cockpit inspection
  • Oil change
  • Examination and cleaning of spark plugs

This inspection must be completed by an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic.


The schedule of progressive inspections are determined by aircraft owners, so only select owners qualify to perform them.

Items checked during progressive inspections are the same as those checked in the 100-hour inspection. However, the progressive inspection is typically completed in 25-hour intervals.


A regular and routine inspection for all aircraft is the preflight inspection. This final check ensures the general integrity of aircraft, that all required documents are on board, and that the runway is clear.

The cabin is inspected during preflight for:

  • Location and number of spare fuses
  • Removal of trash and unsecured tools
  • Tightness and integrity of seat belts
  • Battery magnetos in the off position when battery is off
  • Recording of fuel gauge reading with battery on
  • Proper position of cockpit switches and valve toggles

The exterior is also inspected to ensure nothing was missed or became damaged since the last inspection. Several items must be checked, including

  • Brake pads, discs, tires, and oleo struts
  • Rigged controls for free movement
  • Control hinge fasteners for security
  • Oil leaks in propellor

One incredibly important item to include in any preflight check is for FOD, or foreign object debris such as nuts, bolts, and rivets that may be on the runway, under tires, or in areas located near the aircraft.

Once found, FOD must be safely and completely removed. Otherwise, this debris can cause major damage to aircraft and personnel when projected off the ground or into engines. An essential component of any foreign object debris prevention program for the wider airfield operations should be a sweeper system that allows for reliable debris removal.

A Patented FOD Removal System

fod boss duplex triplex

The FOD*BOSS from Aerosweep has been tested by the U.S. Military,  is NATO-listed and used by every major airport, airline and air force around the world. Our low-impact, high-performance sweeper systems include our patented Debris Retention Blade, which securely traps nuts, bolts, and screws etc. until the unit is opened and emptied.

Learn more about why the FOD*BOSS remains the best sweeper in the industry. Visit us online or contact us today.

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