Aircraft records that have been lost or destroyed are a highly debated subject. Some say that 30% to 50% of the value of an aircraft resides with the maintenance records. Whether this is accurate or not, they represent value and should be treated with care and respect their value and impact on your aircraft.

Occasionally, the records for an aircraft are lost or destroyed. In order to reconstruct them, it is necessary to establish the total time in service of the airframe. This can be done by reference to other records that reflect the time in service; research of records maintained by repair facilities; and reference to records maintained by individual technicians, etc. When these things have been done and the record is still incomplete, the owner/operator may make a notarized statement in the new record describing the loss and establishing the time in service based on the research and the best estimate of time in service.

a. The current status of applicable ADs (Airworthiness Directives) may present a more formidable problem. This may require a detailed inspection by maintenance personnel to establish that the applicable ADs have been complied with. It can readily be seen that this could entail considerable time, expense, and in some instances, might require the AD being performed again to establish compliance.

b. Other items required by section 14 CFR 91.417(a)(2), such as the current status of life-limited parts, time since last overhaul, current inspection status, and current list of major alterations, may present difficult problems. Some items may be easier to reestablish than others, but all are problems. Losing maintenance records can be troublesome, costly, and time consuming. Safekeeping of the records is an integral part of a good record keeping system.

Additional guidance can be reviewed in FAA Advisory Circular AC-43-9C, Chg-2, dated May 8, 2018

For additional information or to determine value of your lost and/or destroyed records, contact:

Ken Dufour, ASA, MAM, ATP, CFI
VRef Publishing CEO
PistonPower, Director or 815-391-3153


Jason Zilberbrand, ASA, CAA, ISA AM, AOA AM, MRAeS
VRef Publishing President or 844-303-VREF ext 700

The above article is intended to provide an explanation and augment in pilots or technicians language, topics to introduce aircraft owners and operators with supplemental information for     our VREF subscribers. It is intended as guide. Contact your nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or for additional information.  The data/information is obtained from numerous FAA and other industry sources. It is edited and believed to be accurate. VREF does not warrant the accuracy or the source material and assumes no responsibility to any person in connection with the use of this VREF article. Permission to reprint this article is granted, so far as the context of the information remains intact and appropriate credit is given to VREF Publishing.