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8 Answers

Student Pilot Adding Oil?

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Student Pilot

This is kind of an odd quesiton. "is a student pilot allowd to add oil." My kneejerk response is of course they can. It is not listed in the Appendices on part 43 concerning prevenetative maintenance. So there is nowhere I can find that says they cannot. Guidance on this one is limited, seems like a bit of grey area. Does anybody know of a speicfic location with answers to this question?

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8 Answers

  1. Jim F. on Oct 22, 2012

    I sure hope so, considering I did it a lot, and it’s done often at my flight school. While not specifically stating engine oil, I would think 14CFR43 Appendix A(c)Preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is limited to the following work, provided it does not involve complex assembly operations: (6)Lubrication not requiring disassembly other than removal of nonstructural items such as cover plates, cowlings, and fairings. http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=45fc51ac4b63b4bce8c13f3892c9e627&rgn=div9&view=text&node=14:

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  2. Lukas Kusiak on Oct 22, 2012

    From a Canadian perspective, it certainly isn’t illegal for students to add oil when warranted, provided they know how. I remember once trying to add a half quart – put the can back in the plane before my instructor gave me a solid lesson on contamination!

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  3. Matthew Waugh on Oct 23, 2012

    I think the questioners problem is that Preventative Maintenance is limited to at least a Private Pilot certificate.
    In this case I think we assume the student is under the supervision of their CFI, who, we assume, does hold at least a Private Pilot certificate.

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  4. Jim F. on Oct 23, 2012

    Ooo… Good catch Matthew. I missed that previously. I’m guessing you’re talking about sub-chapters i and ii:

    “(i) They are performed by the holder of at least a private pilot certificate issued under part 61 who is the registered owner (including co-owners) of the affected aircraft and who holds a certificate of competency for the affected aircraft (1) issued by a school approved under § 147.21(e) of this chapter; (2) issued by the holder of the production certificate for that primary category aircraft that has a special training program approved under § 21.24 of this subchapter; or (3) issued by another entity that has a course approved by the Administrator; and

    (ii) The inspections and maintenance tasks are performed in accordance with instructions contained by the special inspection and preventive maintenance program approved as part of the aircraft’s type design or supplemental type design.”

    It makes me wonder how seriously the FAA pursues this. I have personally done this and witnessed others doing so with an FAA inspector wondering around the ramp. Nothing was ever said.

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  5. John D. Collins on Oct 23, 2012

    I would think that adding oil would fall under servicing the airplane, for example adding fuel, filling the tires with air, cleaning the window. Changing the oil and replacing the tires are preventive maintenance and may be performed by the owner-operator of the aircraft if they hold at least a private pilot certificate.

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  6. Jim F. on Oct 23, 2012

    John, that definitely makes sense. Although, referencing my first post, it would seem that the umbrella term “lubrication” in (c)(6) covers adding engine oil, as it doesn’t specify changing oil vs. adding oil. This is where the ambiguity of the FARs really hurts us pilots’ understanding and comprehension of the rules we are required to follow. Sounds like I’ll be placing a call to FSDO tomorrow to get this clarified.

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  7. John D. Collins on Oct 24, 2012

    Preventive maintenance does not include servicing, if it did, any servicing would require a log book entry every time you put air in the tires, added fuel, cleaned the window, or topped off the oil. Other tasks in the servicing category would be adding water to the battery and topping off the brake fluid reservoir. If it requires a logbook entry, it is some form of maintenance (including preventive maintenance), modification, repair. If the task does not require a log book entry it isn’t preventive maintenance.

    Sometimes the FSDO can be a helpful resource, but unfortunately they make a lot of mistakes and differ from inspector to inspector. That is why I will ask the FAA General Counsel to get a definitive answer to many of the tougher questions.

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  8. John D. Collins on Oct 24, 2012

    Oh, one more thought, the line boy can put oil in your airplane and many are not pilots.

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