The topic of maintenance includes scheduled and unscheduled overhaul, repair, inspection, modification and software maintenance and upgrades.
While pilots in command have the responsibility to conduct preflight inspections to determine airworthiness, there are also responsibilities which rest with the operator (the company). This means that there has to be a system in place, which ensures that maintenance work for drones and drone system components is carried out responsibly.
Appendix C of the FAA 107-2 Advisory Circular contains maintenance and inspection best practices, which can serve as reference.
If maintenance work is delegated to third parties, due diligence needs to be applied to the selection of responsible service providers.
Drone manufacturers often provide maintenance programs. If the company decides to deviate from manufacturer’s recommendations this decision needs to be based on expertise in the field.
- Accidents due to inadequate maintenance.
- Reduced service life of drones and related equipment.
- Interview pilots, flightcrews and maintenance personnel to ensure a common understanding of their respective responsibilities.
- Interview pilots, flightcrews and maintenance personnel about past problems related to a lack of clarity regarding respective responsibilities.
- Interview pilots, flightcrews and maintenance personnel about the performance of third party service providers.
- Review and assess reporting lines of pilots, flightcrew and maintenance personnel.