Your aircraft’s annual inspection is critical for good maintenance, safety, and compliance. So it’s important to get high-quality service from a technician who keeps you in the loop.
But what should your aircraft annual inspection cost you?
That’s a complicated question. The truth is, a flat fee doesn’t include everything you’ll pay. It can’t.
Think of it this way: A car enthusiast buys a 1969 Camaro—a classic car that runs but needs some work to be street-legal. It’s had several owners, each of which have added their own special touches.
The Camaro’s new owner calls a technician and asks for a price. The technician can’t possibly deliver an accurate quote without seeing the car. They need to understand the vehicle’s history, its quirks, and any potential safety issues.
As any experienced aircraft owner will tell you, it’s the same story with aircraft. Whether you have a new-to-you plane or one you’ve owned for decades, there’s always work to be done to keep it flying, and no two aircraft are alike.
Although some aircraft technicians offer flat fees, the price you’re quoted is rarely (if ever) the price you’ll actually pay. That flat fee only covers the cost to open the aircraft, look at it, and put it back together. In the vast majority of cases, there’s additional work to be done to get your aircraft up to spec.
In our experience, flat rate schedules are deceptive, and they waste your time.
That’s why we don’t offer a flat rate for annual aircraft inspections. Instead, we prefer to do the inspection and provide a realistic estimate based on what we find. Our process helps you understand your true costs and ultimately gives you a better value.
How Do We Calculate the Cost of an Annual Inspection and Maintenance?
The main drivers of annual inspection costs include:
Labor. Labor costs include disassembling, reassembling, inspecting, installing, removing, and replacing parts as needed to ensure the aircraft is safe and meets all requirements. Repairing damage, addressing corrosion, and doing touch-ups are other common labor-related costs. Technical research like looking up parts numbers and reviewing procedures in the maintenance manual also falls into this category.
Parts. During inspection, new parts may be required or some existing parts may need to go out for inspection and/or overhaul. We are constantly working to achieve the right balance between cost and efficiency when determining if a part should be shipped out for overhaul or a new or overhaul/exchange unit purchased. Sometimes the cost between an overhauled vs a new part may only be $100, while other times an overhauled unit could be half (or less) of the cost of the same new part. Also sometimes there is a part that we know has a high occurrence rate on core bill backs which would cause us to choose to purchase a new part or outright part rather than an overhaul/exchange unit, even though the new/outright part is slightly more expensive. We typically check a minimum of 3 vendors to make sure we are getting the best price on each part that we purchase. If it’s a hard-to-find part that is not stocked by our normal vendors, it could take multiple calls to 10 or more vendors to find the part and ensure we’re getting the best price. The time related to researching these various options is included in admin costs, not the cost of the parts themselves, as noted below in the Admin section.
Outside repairs. Most aircraft and engine accessories should be sent to a repair station that holds a certificate that authorizes them to repair or overhaul that part. While the FAA does not prohibit field repair on some parts, best practice dictates that a facility that sees a large volume of these parts on a yearly basis and has all of the appropriate equipment to bench-check the accessory after the repair is going to provide a higher quality product.
Freight. Freight for specialty parts and the need for overnight shipping are also contributing factors to cost. When you order a new part, your warranty begins immediately, not when it arrives or when it’s installed. Getting a part the next day maximizes your warranty time. It also means less disruption and faster turnaround.
Admin. Admin work includes the time it takes for things like researching various options for purchasing and/or overhauling parts, organizing maintenance records, and completing other miscellaneous tasks. While these services make up only a small percentage of the overall inspection cost, they do take time. Our goal is always to save you money in the long run. For example, by thoroughly researching all of your options when it comes to parts, we can make a more informed decision on your behalf – one that saves you money. Likewise, having a meticulous logbook will improve the value of your aircraft when it comes time to sell it.
How Double M Aviation Prices Aircraft Annual Inspections
Only a thorough, accurate inspection can determine exactly what your aircraft needs. As we work with your aircraft, we gain a comprehensive understanding of what parts, labor, and services are needed.
We keep you in the loop every step of the way, providing regular updates and partnering with you to ensure you understand exactly what’s happening and what to expect.
Along the way, we get to know you and your aircraft, developing a relationship that will help us deliver high-quality, personalized service for years to come.
Connect with Double M Aviation Today
To schedule your annual inspection or make a maintenance appointment, fill out our reservation form or call us at 863-940-3450.
Our established customers enjoy priority scheduling, faster turnaround times, on-the-road support, and the peace of mind that comes with being a Double M Aviation client. If you haven’t contacted us yet, now’s the time to get on board! We look forward to getting to know you and your aircraft.