Decisions

CAT File No. C-1192-33
MoT File No. RAP6504-P102780-026265

CIVIL AVIATION TRIBUNAL

BETWEEN:

Minister of Transport, Applicant

- and -

Raymond Eldon Renaud, Respondent

LEGISLATION:
Aeronautics Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. A-2, s. 7.7
Air Regulations, C.R.C. 1978, c. 2, s. 210(1)a)
Airworthiness Manual, s. 575

Maintenance release, Certificate of Airworthiness


Review Determination
Gordon R. Mitchell


Decision: April 6, 1996

I find that the Respondent, Raymond Eldon Renaud, did contravene Air Regulation 210(1)(a).

I confirm the Minister's decision to assess a monetary penalty totalling $250.00 to be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada and sent to the Civil Aviation Tribunal within fifteen days of the receipt of this determination.

A Review Hearing on the above matter was held Thursday, March 28, 1996 at 9:30 hours at the Valhalla Inn, in the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The Notice of Assessment of Monetary Penalty reads as follows:

Pursuant to section 7.7 of the Aeronautics Act, the Minister of Transport has decided to assess a monetary penalty on the grounds that you have contravened the following provision(s):

COUNT #1:

Air Regulation 210(1)(a) in that, on or about January 24, 1995 at or near Thunder Bay, Ontario, you did unlawfully fly a Maule M 5 210C aircraft bearing Canadian Registration Marks C-GVBI while the Certificate of Airworthiness was not in force by reason of the fact that float gear had been removed and land gear installed without a certification release in accordance with Chap 575.107 of the Airworthiness Manual.

COUNT #2:

Further, in that, on or about February 22, 1995 at or near Thunder Bay, Ontario you did unlawfully fly a Maule M 5 210C aircraft bearing Canadian Registration Marks C-GVBI while the Certificate of Airworthiness was not in force by reason of the fact that float gear had been removed and land gear installed without a certification release in accordance with Chap 575.107 of the Airworthiness Manual. A violation of Air Regulation 210(1)(a).

THE LAW

Certificate of Airworthiness

6. Unless expired, suspended or cancelled in accordance with the Air Regulations, this certificate shall remain in force so long as the aircraft identified above is maintained and certified airworthy in accordance with the Air Navigation Orders.

Airworthiness Manual Chapter 501

"Maintenance" means the preservation of an aeronautical product to its approved design standard, and includes repair, overhaul, inspection, alteration, and the replacement of parts, but does not include servicing (maintenance).

Airworthiness Manual Chapter 575

575.103 Maintenance Release

(a) Except as provided in 575.109, where an aircraft has undergone maintenance, the certificate of airworthiness or flight permit of that aircraft is not in force until a maintenance release has been signed in respect of the work performed.

575.105 Conditional Release for Flight Test Purposes

(a) Where the person signing a maintenance release determines that a flight test is necessary to verify that the maintenance performed is satisfactory, the person shall complete the release statement by adding the phrase "subject to satisfactory test flight".

575.109 Exemptions

(a) No maintenance release is required in the case of:

(1) Elementary maintenance tasks listed in Appendix "A", performed on a piston engine powered, unpressurized aeroplane of 5700 kg (12,566 lb) or less maximum allowable take-off weight, a glider or a balloon, not engaged in commercial operation, when the work is performed by the holder of a pilot licence who is the owner or operator of the aircraft;

APPENDIX A

ELEMENTARY MAINTENANCE

(3) Seasonal reintallation of skis on fixed landing gear, not requiring separation of any hydraulic lines;

OVERVIEW

Mr. Raymond Eldon Renaud is the owner of Maule M-5-210C aircraft, registration C-GVBI, serial number 6152C. He has owned the aircraft for over six years, and during that time it was kept and maintained at Lakehead Aviation (Melnick brothers). A dispute over work performed on February 12, 1994 carried on until Mr. Renaud decided to move his aircraft elsewhere. On January 14, 1995 Mr. Renaud changed the aircraft over from floats to wheel undercarriage and then installed straight skis. He did not have a qualified person in attendance at the changeover, and no entry is shown in either the Journey Log or the Technical Log for this work which requires a proper maintenance release by a qualified person.

Mr. Renaud flew the aircraft on January 24, 1995 and again on February 22, 1995; no entries have been made in the log books for these flights. The allegations against Mr. Renaud result from these two flights.

EVIDENCE

The Minister's first witness Inspector E. Dittbrenner presented eight exhibits as follows:

M-1: A certified true copy of the Aircraft Journey Log for Maule M-5-210C registration C-GVBI dated from 1989 to August 22, 1994.

This copy consists of pages 1 to 8 along with the two cover pages, the last entry being August 22, 1994 on page 7; page 8 is blank.

On January 14, 1995, no entry was made for the changeover from floats to wheel undercarriage.

M-2: A certified true copy of pages 23 to 26 along with the cover page of the Technical Log for C-GVBI.

The first entry in this log is August 26, 1989 on page 23, and the last entry is July 5, 1993 on page 25; the last page is 26 which is blank.

M-3: Copy of Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Airworthiness for C-GVBI.

M-4: Airworthiness Manual 575.105(a)

M-5: Airworthiness Manual Chapter 501

M-6: Airworthiness Manual 575.103(a)

M-7: Airworthiness Manual 575.109(a)(1)

M-8: Airworthiness Manual Chapter 575 Appendix A (3)

The Minister's representative asked Inspector Dittbrenner if he knew of a reference in the Elementary Maintenance list that allowed a changeover from floats to skis. The inspector's answer was, "No".

Harley Melnick, the second witness for the Minister, stated that he held an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer's Licence, Category M2 and along with his brother operated Lakehead Aviation Inc., a company incorporated in October 1990.

One of Lakehead's customers was Mr. Renaud, the owner of Maule aircraft C-GVBI. Lakehead had maintained the aircraft from 1989.

Mr. Melnick said that C-GVBI had been changed over at Lakehead's premises by Mr. Renaud on January 14, 1995. He stated that the change from floats to wheel undercarriage and skis was not under his supervision.

The aircraft had been stored at Lakehead Aviation, and Mr. Melnick stated that to the best of his knowledge the Technical and Journey Logs were in Lakehead's premises during January and February of 1995.

Mr. Melnick stated that he had seen C-GVBI flying January 24, 1995, and that it was flown by Mr. Renaud. He said that it was flown again February 22, 1995, and that when it left the Lakehead area it did not return.

Mr. Melnick said that, during the time the changeover took place and when the aircraft was flown January 24, 1995 and February 22, 1995, he believed the log books were in Lakehead's possession as this was where they were kept normally, and further that no one had asked for the logs at this time.

Hallory Melnick, the Minister's third witness, stated when asked that he was the Inspector of Maintenance for Lakehead Aviation. He stated further that the Maule aircraft C-GVBI belonging to Mr. Renaud was stored in Lakehead's compound and that on January 14, 1995 Mr. Renaud was allowed to use the hoist to do the changeover on C-GVBI from float gear to wheel undercarriage and skis.

Hallory Melnick explained the changeover procedure he would follow if he were doing the work on this aircraft and stated further that this is work normally done by an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer followed by a signed maintenance release for return to service. Hallory Melnick related that after the changeover on January 14, 1995 the aircraft remained in the Lakehead compound until January 24, 1995 when Mr. Renaud flew it and then returned and left it parked on the ice adjacent to Lakehead Aviation.

Hallory Melnick stated that on February 22, 1995 Mr. Renaud again flew C-GVBI and this time did not return to Lakehead Aviation. Hallory Melnick stated that he was not in attendance during the changeover, that he did not know of an AME being there and that he did not sign out the aircraft after the changeover.

Mr. Renaud waived any questions for this witness.

The Minister's fourth witness was Peter Hothins, Superintendent of Airworthiness in the Thunder Bay region. When Inspector Hothins was questioned as to his involvement in the issue at hand, he related that he had received an anonymous phone call during this period regarding lost log books. He told the caller the procedure to be followed and asked for his name or aircraft registration, saying that he could then take care of the problem. He said he later had assumed that the caller was Mr. Renaud.

In cross-examination Mr. Renaud actually began giving evidence, not questioning the witness. Mr. Renaud stated that he had called Inspector Hothins and that he had given the Inspector Hothins his name and address.

In re-direct Inspector Hothins was asked if he had any further involvement with the log books for C-GVBI. His answer was that the Journey Log and the Technical Log for aircraft C-GVBI were brought to him by Harley Melnick and that he in turn sent them to the Winnipeg Office as requested by Inspector Dittbrenner.

Mr. Renaud was sworn in and made a presentation on his own behalf. He mentioned the dispute with the Melnicks (Lakehead Aviation) about the work on his aircraft completed on February 12, 1994 (page 6 in the Journey Log, Exhibit M-1). He was concerned at what he felt was an overcharge. He said he checked with two other sources, and in his estimation this verified his conclusion. This, Mr. Renaud stated, "was the dispute that started the whole thing". He stated that the dispute continued, that they (Lakehead Aviation) would not give him his log books and that he felt he had to get his aircraft off their property.

Mr. Renaud said that he had a letter (not produced) from the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association related to the Airworthiness Manual, Chapter 575, Appendix A, Elementary Maintenance quoting Item (3), indicating that no maintenance release was necessary for seasonal reinstallation of skis on fixed landing gear, not requiring separation of any hydraulic lines.

Mr. Renaud said that he had asked Lakehead for his log books four times and received excuses for not producing them. He stated that if he had had the logs he could have gotten them signed. He said he could have had another engineer sign them, but he did not have the log books.

When questioned, Mr. Renaud said that he always carried the Journey Log in the aircraft, that it was never taken out of the aircraft but that when he went to changeover it was missing. Mr. Renaud said this was the first time he had changed the aircraft, that previously it had always been done by Lakehead Aviation, and he said he had the bills showing this.

Mr. Renaud, when questioned, stated that he kept his aircraft locked and that the log book was kept in the pouch behind the seat.

CONCLUSION

This aircraft, C-GVBI, had been changed over previously by Lakehead Aviation, although there are no entries showing this. There are seven signed maintenance releases between July 7, 1989 and August 22, 1994; none of these refer to undercarriage changeover. One of these entries in the Journey Log on February 12, 1994 indicates a return to service pending a satisfactory test flight. No test flight is entered following this. The final entry in the Journey Log on page 7 is dated August 22, 1994, and page 8 is blank.

The Technical Log contains even less properly documented information. The opening date is August 26, 1989 and the final date is July 5, 1993; page 26 is blank.

An entry on April 2, 1991 shows the prop removed for overhaul, in the aircraft Technical Log, the next entry shows the prop reinstalled after overhaul, there is no signed maintenance release in the appropriate column.

It is the owner's responsibility to see that the aircraft log books are properly maintained.

The central issue at this hearing is the changeover of C-GVBI from float gear to wheel undercarriage and skis carried out by the owner, Mr. Renaud, without proper supervision and signed maintenance release entered in the log books.

In the Airworthiness Manual, Chapter 575, Appendix A, item (3) is not being interpreted correctly. There is no mention of float gear or wheel undercarriage being removed or reinstalled. The correct meaning of this item (3) is simply the removal of the wheels and the reinstallation of skis. The exception (not requiring separation of any hydraulic lines) would refer to certain wheel-ski assemblies.

The enormity of the task of removing float gear and installing wheel undercarriage precludes any thought of this procedure being classified as ELEMENTARY maintenance. The 22 items listed in Exhibit M-8 are intended to be of a more minor nature therefore the heading ELEMENTARY MAINTENANCE.

The owner or operator of an aircraft must keep himself current on regulations as they apply to his operation of the aircraft. Mr. Renaud was not aware of all of his responsibilities in this case, and some of the qualified people he has had maintaining his aircraft are lacking in this area as well. This is proven by the lack of pertinent entries in his log books.

DETERMINATION

I confirm the Minister's decision to assess a total monetary penalty of $250.00 for Counts #1 and #2.

Gordon R. Mitchell
Member
Civil Aviation Tribunal