The Pros and Cons of Using Your Local Field Mechanic vs. an Established 145 Repair Station

Let’s say the owner of an aircraft makes the decision to use a non-145 repair station and uses local mechanics on the field to perform maintenance. Let’s also assume that these mechanics, unlike most reputable Part 145 stations, are not well insured. If that plane is in a situation where insurance comes into play, will the owner of that aircraft be at any additional risk? Are there insurance incentives to use certified and well-insured 145s?

In short, the answer is “absolutely.” In fact, we come across this exact situation nearly once a month with an operator and/or mechanic. There are pros and cons to using your local field mechanic, but depending on what work you’re having done and what kind of equipment you operate, the cons often outweigh the pros.

Here’s the long answer: On the mechanic side, we often get calls from A&Ps who work for corporations, but freelance on the side to make some extra money. The problem with that is, if they don’t have their own insurance policy, they’re essentially performing work that is uninsured. They’re fully protected while working for their corporation or flight department, but when they go out on their own, they need to get their own insurance. Often the insurance cost for a “one-man band” in the maintenance field can be prohibitive (i.e. $5,000), so unless they have a steady stream of customers, they don’t buy it and/or can’t afford it. Therefore, if a freelance A&P performs any work under these conditions, though licensed to do the work, he or she is either not insured or underinsured if something goes amiss. It’s a personal financial risk the mechanic takes but may not realize.