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With the correct keywords on Google, it is possible to find Boeing MPDs (Maintenance Planning Documents), as well as Task Cards, and other technical documents.

I'm wondering, could a software vendor with the need to access these documents legally obtain them?

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    $\begingroup$ I assume that "anyone" can legally obtain them by buying the corresponding plane. Could you be more precise? $\endgroup$ – David Richerby May 3 '14 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ Sure, it's obviously infeasible to buy the plane to get the manual but you don't give any indication of what would be feasible. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby May 3 '14 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ @DannyBeckett and thinking it would be illegal to own those manuals is common sense? $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jun 13 '14 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ @jwenting They generally have copyright notices on them, at a minimum. $\endgroup$ – Danny Beckett Jun 13 '14 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ @DannyBeckett so do the novels I buy regularly from Amazon. Those mean you can't make copies and sell them, not that you can't own the thing... $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jun 13 '14 at 16:23
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Everything is available for a price, and you don't need Google's help: You can get the Boeing Maintenance Performance Toolbox right from Boeing if you contact them.


You can also Google around and get PDFs of Boeing maintenance documents but these would be from unofficial/unauthorized sources (at least one Boeing maintenance manual made it onto Wikileaks).

As Boeing likely holds a copyright on their maintenance documents obtaining them from an unofficial/unauthorized source would be an infringement on that copyright.
More importantly you can't guarantee documents from an unofficial source are correct, current, and unmodified. If you intend to use the document for any aviation purposes (like performing maintenance on an aircraft) you would want to be absolutely certain they are the latest approved revision from Boeing.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'd love to know roughly how much this costs... $\endgroup$ – Danny Beckett Apr 18 '14 at 5:32
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    $\begingroup$ @DannyBeckett I would assume "A Lot." -- The service manual pack for Piper Cherokees runs about $600, and the docs for a Cessna 172 will set you back over $1000. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Apr 18 '14 at 5:47
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The majority of maintenance manuals are customised for a specific fleet, i.e. specific to a particular airline.

That way Boeing only provides information that is applicable to those aircraft and even with a given manual you need to be able to filter on applicability to ensure that specific maintenance information is applicable to a specific aircraft.

Having worked with airlines using Boeing maintenance data, the position pre-B787 was that the maintenance manuals were owned by the airlines but that Boeing were responsible for the original content. Boeing seem to be trying to change that for the B787, possibly in an attempt to get all B787 customers to use their Maintenance Performance Toolbox authoring/consultation tool instead of being able to use third party solutions or even Airbus's Maintenance documentation solution

So back to the original question, the answer is Yes , if an airline gives it to you, or No if you go knocking on Boeing's door.

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