Actually anyone can do the annual, they just need to be 'supervised' by an A&P and the logbook has to be
signed by an IA. A lot of owners do 'owner assisted' annuals and save a lot of money. In the case of a homebuilt the builder
is given a repairman certificate for their particular aircraft
and they have the authority to do all the work and sign offs
without an A&P or IA.
The holder of an inspection authorization may not delegate the performance of an annual inspection to anyone else. It must be performed personally, and cannot be performed by a mechanic without the IA, or by an owner.
An owner may assist in removing components or inspection plates, or in performing maintenance functions under supervision, but may not perform the inspection. Only the holder of an IA can perform this inspection. The aircraft manufacturer or a repair station may also perform this function.
An annual inspection does NOT include any maintenance. Maintenance may be done in conjunction with an annual inspection, or may be required as a resultof an inspection. However, the annual inspection is nothing more than an inspection for conformity with approved data, more commonly known as "airworthiness."
The holder of a mechanic certificate with an airframe or powerplant (as appropriate rating) may perform maintenance required to bring the airplane into compliance, in response to the list of discrepancies that the IA must provide as the result of the inspection. The aircraft does not have to be in compliance at the conclusion of the inspection, nor does the IA need to approve the aircraft for return to service. Only perform the inspection. A mechanic without the IA may approve the aircraft for return to service, but may not perform the inspection.
In experimental airplanes, the holder of a repairman certificate may perform most of the maintenance required, including the annual condition inspection. However, any certified components which are to remain in certified condition, such as avionics necessary for operation under IFR, or a powerplant which will be maintained in accordance with approved data, require the services of a certificated mechanic.
This is also the case after the aircraft has been sold. The builder, who will be the holder of the repairman certificate (as the aircraft manufacturer) may continue to do the condition inspections (experimentals don't require an "annual"), but the new owner cannot. Additionally, the builder is not empowered to perform the work on any other aircraft, including aircraft of the same model built by other people.
When I owned a 150 we did pretty much everything for the annual......About the only thing the IA did was come look in the inspection ports, time the mags, and do a compression check.
And of course thats all he really needed to do.
However, we cleaned the A/C, greased the airframe, changed the oil, cleaned the engine, replaced the spark plugs, tore out all the interior so he could "inspect", drained all the applicable fuel drains. And of course we had two extra people looking in the inspection ports for damage or corrosion. Took a annual that would have cost 500 base fee, to about $150 base fee.
That's far from all the IA needs to do. If you look at 14 CFR 43, appendix C, you'll see the minimum scope that is required of the individual performing the inspection. Additionally, the entire maintenance history of the aircraft must be reviewed, as well as current times and compliance with airworthiness directives, etc. The IA must ensure that all repairs or maintenance previously done are in compliance with approved data, that all previously executed paperwork (STC's, 337's, etc) is in order, and that all repairs, modifications, and prior maintenance conforms to acceptable data and the published paperwork.
All of this must be done in conjunction with the latest edition and revision of maintenance publications and manufacturer data. There are no exceptions to any of this.
Again, the annual inspection is an inspection, and doesn't involve maintenance. Timing mags, changing plugs, etc, is not part of the inspection. Doing it at the time of the inspection is a good idea, but it isn't part of the inspection.
You are correct as usual...What I was merely pointing out was that alot of the "hard" "dumb" labor such as cleaning, greasing and removing inspection ports so the IA can "inspect" can be assited by the owner. Other than that its a paper work thing as you pointed out. In practicality you are correct, however I've never met a IA that has'nt drained the fuel selector valve, carb bowls, greased the airframe, or timed the mags during the annual.