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Should I fly it? (kinda urgent)

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Well-known member
Dec 25, 2004
Here's the story: Me and my instructor were making some crosswind landings, and one one, the nosewheel steering linkage broke. As in, no more nosewheel steering. Not really a problem, since it has a centering spring. So now that's fixed, I just called his hangar and one of the guys that works for him told me he (the guy working for him) has it fixed, and just needs someone to taxi it and make sure it works. My instructor has signed me off to fly within 25 nm.

Question: Should I go and fly it? (btw, the plane belongs to me) Even if it breaks again, it's flyable, so that wouldn't be an emergency. I'm leaning toward going for it.
Well if its been fixed and tested, why not. Do a thorough preflight inspection of the nose gear and check the degree of movement while taxing. Be aware of any anomolies you might encounter. Make sure the nose pivots full left or right. The POH will indicate what the full range of movement for the nose gear is.

If there's any indication of a loss of directional control after landing you should inform the tower promptly since you may not be able to exit on to a taxiway. This way ATC can have that traffic go around should you still be on the runway.

One other thing, make sure the rudder moves full left and right in the proper direction during your runup inspection of the control surfaces. This may be an issue if the rudder linkages were at all worked on.
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well, it depends, If they are looking for somone to do a post maintenence check flight as required under 91.407 (b), then no, you cannot, as that muct be done by somone who holds at least a private pilot certificate.
After a lengthy reply was lost, I'll be brief. You're using your flight isntructor's certificate, not just your own...why are you asking here, when you should be asking him or her?

How do you know the work has been done properly? Because someone told you? Can you recognize a proper repair? You should, if you're going to accept responsibility for the work...and you are, if you fly it.

The mechanic can approve the work for return to service, but he cannot return it to service. You do that. You do that by flying the airplane. In so doing, you take full repsonbility for the safe and airworthy condition of the aircraft. That particularly includes the work that's been done.

So as a student pilot you're asking an anonymous web board if you should fly this aircraft, instead of your instructor? What makes this flight so urgent?

How do you know additional damage hasn't occured? If the linkage was broken as the result of shimmy or vibration, common damage includes engine mounts, vertical stab attach brackets, firewall damge, and rudder linkage.

You'd surely hate to have a stuck fully deflected rudder as you flare or land in a crosswind, or to have to fly a go-around like that for a pattern to landing, because of unseen damage. It can occur, trust me.

How about you ask your instructor, first? Do you know what maintenance entries to look for? Without all the signatures and paperwork done the airworthiness certificate is invalidated. There's more to the issue than you may think, so don't rush off and do something without your instructor and knowing everything you need to know to do it right.

ASquared noted the possibility of you needing a private pilot certificate. This is the case if the aircraft "has been maintained, rebuilt, or altered in a manner that may have appreciably changed its flight characteristics or substantially affected its operation in flight." That may, or may not be the case here, and without seeing the aircraft or knowing the specific application, it's hard to say.

The fact that you own the aircraft is irrelevant, and shouldn't be a part of the discussion.

One step at a time, grasshopper.
Well, I went and flew it. Everything worked fine, nada problemo. I might not have gone if I had read your second post, avbug, but I had already left. Hmm.

The fact that you own the aircraft is irrelevant

I know, I just included that to save everyone from duscussing something to do with it being rented.
avbug said:
The fact that you own the aircraft is irrelevant, and shouldn't be a part of the discussion.

Actually since he is the owner it is highly relevant. As the owner HE is the one responsible for maintaining the airplane in an airworthy condition and not releaseing it for flight by anyone unless he is satisfied that it is airworthy.

Just because your mechanic said he fixed the nose wheel steering link, does not absolve the owner of the responsibility of makeing sure that nothing else was broken. A mechanic is only responsible for the work he performed, not the overall condition of the airplane.

In this example it is the owner's responsibility to have the mechanic inspect any other systems that may have been affected (ie: rudder cables, linkages ect).

As a new pilot and owner, you need to find a mechanic you trust, and thoroughly educate your self about your responsabiltes as an aircraft owner. Just tossing your mechanic the keys does not absolve you of these responsabilites no matter what he says. "It's good to go" doesn't mean anything to the FAA unless the logbooks are filled out.

Read the following articles


Especially this one


Also in the future, untill you get a good bit more flight time (at least your PPL) have an instructor or pilot rated mechaic fly any post maintence test flights with you. Things ocasionally go wrong on test flights, and having a more experianced pilto with you can be a life saver.
The point, I believe, is that as the PIC of the aircraft, he shares that responsibility. The owner is ultimately responsible for the airworthy condition of the aircraft, but at the time of operation, the PIC is both pilot and operator, and shares equally in that responsibility.

Your point is well taken, but for the purposes of my post, his ownership is irrelevant, as he already owns that responsibility as the PIC returning the aircraft to service. More importantly, he's betting on it with his life.

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