You'll often find me making comments regarding aircraft log books and some goofy entries. I seem to have a knack for finding issues. However, I recently had a check ride where the log books looked good but the airplane itself had issues. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately depending on how you look at it), the FAA was there and they got to looking at the airplane and they grounded it.
The problems where easy to spot and presented a clear hazard. The FAA Inspector had a few words with the applicant and CFI who flew the airplane in and ended it with that. (Lucky!!!). A few phone calls where made and a Special Flight Permit was issued so the airplane could be flown back for repairs. The check ride will have to be rescheduled.
After looking at the airplane myself, I wouldn't have flown it. The instructor said he did squawk some of the items but he was basically brushed off my maintenance personnel.
My advice. If you think there is a maintenance issue that is being blown off, document it in the aircraft log books. This way an A&P must address it. For example: "Pilot seat back will not stay secure in the upright position" or "Dent in tail rotor blade".
I will tell you that this will tick off the owner/operator & mechanic of the airplane but if you think its a safety issue do it. Remember the buck stop at you and don't fly the airplane until you are satisfied its safe to do so! Here's the reg:
§ 91.7 Civil aircraft airworthiness.
(a) No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.
(b) The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight. The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.
Notice that the reg says "The PIC is responsible for determining whether the aircraft is in condition for safe flight".
That be you!