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PittsS2B

The saftey of rental aircraft?

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I all of my real world flying in rental aircraft because I lack the funds required to own an airplane. Im just looking for some opinions of how safe rental aircraft are, my biggest concern in aviation is mechanical problems because there is not as much you can do to prevent them. So waddaya think?

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They all have to go under the hundred hour since they are for hire. The only thing I worry about is losing the vacuum system or having the engine fail. Luckily the only ones that I rent are owned by the state so they are maintained to the T.

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Alright, My biggest worry is also the engine, anyway to find out which ones are maintained by the state?

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Depending on the FBO, rentals are probably maintained better that most privately owned planes. The planes at Robinson are all given 50 hour inspections. You could eat off the engines, and three of the planes just got brand new interiors.That being said- I have had:a spongy right brake (barely worked at all- parking brake didn't work). Would have been a problem on a short runway for sure.Non-working landing light (disconnected for some reason)Screwey flap handle- flaps popped up on final- wouldn't 'click'.Broken transponder knob (came right off)Flaky transponder signal (tower and approach couldn't see me)So, like anything else- they are machines that get used A LOT. As long as the important bits and pieces all remain functional, and in their proper locations, I can live with the niggles. Actually, dealing with small issues like this is actually good- tests your critical decision making skills, and gives you practice with the higher workload involved when something is not quite right.My friend has a Maule that has like 2800 hours on the engine. They found metal shavings in the oil. He still flies it almost daily.

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Alright thats reassuring, thanks for the info.

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My dad was a pilot in the air force and I remember as a kid he was going to rent a plane and take the family up for a sightseeing tour. No idea what kind of plane it was, but when we got down there and went out to it he had a look and said no way were we going up in that. Everyone got back in the car and we went home. I was some disappointed, both in not going and in him being "scared." I don't know what it was that he saw, but obviously something that made him not want to trust his family in that aircraft. Bill

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I've flown some beat up airplanes that are some of the most mechanically sound airplanes you'll ever come across. Just because the paint is chipping or faded doesn't mean the engine doesn't purr like a kitten or the wings are going to fall off. Just review your regulations on aircraft maintenance and determine how well the aircraft was maintained based on what the logbooks show.

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I had a situation where my Baron broke down (with new engines) in a little town in Missouri last November. There was no way to get home-no taxi, rental cars etc. but the fbo offered their 172 to make the trip home while repairs were being made. It looked real beat up but they assured us it was up to snuff including current ifr.We took off-found out that almost nothing on the panel worked-ils/vor, and the big one-the altimeter was 300 ft. off. Luckily was a fairly vfr day and made the trip fine-the engine worked at least!Anyway-I'd check everything out before going up-if it had been an ifr day we would have had our hands full upon finding the vor/ils didn't work and the altimeter was 300 ft. off-would have made one challenging approach!http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg

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And these were the folks fixing YOUR aircraft!!!I'm biased - www.flyairorlando.com . Come visit me anytime!W. Sieffert

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Mike,A lot depends on the vintage of the aircraft (is it old or newer) and how well it has been maintained. There is a distinct tension between keeping aircraft in tip-top shape and in an FBO making a buck.One way to get a feel for an FBO's level of maintenance is to ask to see the aircraft logs. If they can't produce them or don't want to show them to you, I'd be hesitant to rent. Even though the owner/operator is responsible for maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition, you as PIC can still be the target of an enforcement action if you fly an aircraft that is not in an airworthy condition. AOPA Pilot had a good article a month or two ago about a pilot who came to grief in a rental aircraft and was targeted by the FAA because he failed to verify that all the inspections were current. They also went after the FBO for not maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition.Many of the GA training aircraft out there are over 25 years old. Nothing lasts forever, so do a thorough pre-flight. Things I've seen include tires with chord showing, cracked prop spinners, engine oil leaks, loose flap bellcranks, numerous missing cowling screws, corrosion, cracked seat rails, inoperative equipment that wasn't placarded and deactivated, leaking fuel tanks, panel lights that don't, and the list goes on and on. Never assume that a rental aircraft is a bucket of bolts, but don't just assume that it isn't.Another thing to ask about is the insurance deductable the FBO has. And having your own rental insurance is a good idea because if the plane gets damaged while you're operating it, the FBO's insurance company will most certainly come after you for the entire amount (not just the deductable). Remember that the FBO's insurance is meant to cover the FBO from loss, not you.John

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All the above posts make sense in one way or another, but remember, like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. If you rent from a reputable FBO then you should have no worries. If you rent from an FBO that looks like a Rent-A-Wreck leasing agency then you may save some money but.........John M

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Alright, thanks for the valuable info;).

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Good advice in this thread. Last Saturday, I took my wife and son up for a 2-hour round trip up to KFFZ in Mesa in a rented 1965 172 - same vintage as me, but a lot better maintained! :DIn addition to checking maintenance logs, I'd look for the general attitude of the FBO towards the condition of their planes - do the primary avionics and instruments work, are the engine cowlings clean inside and out, any missing screws in the cowlings - all clues about their attention to detail. The cosmetic condition of the airframe and interior is less important, but I've found that a clean airplane is usually a well-maintained one. YMMV.John G.

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