Pilot’s Most Prized Asset: Logbook
Category : General
Pilot’s Most Prized Asset: Logbook
By Ofonime Essien
Pilot logbook (Paper or Electronic) is the most important book a Pilot has. It is one of a pilot’s most prized possessions. It provides pilots with a complete way to record their flight experience from the beginning of their flight training through to advanced ratings and endorsements. Condensed in its pages is the sum total of his training and experience, measured in tenths of hours, and highlighted by brief remarks.
The worst thing that can happen to a pilot is to lose his logbook. In effect, your logbook is a birth certificate and detailed history of your life as a pilot. Without it you essentially cease to exist because you have no record to substantiate all the knowledge and experience you’ve acquired to earn the ratings stamped on your pilot certificate. Without a logbook, a pilot has virtually no record of his experience, and may find it difficult to earn a new certificate or rating or to land a flying job.
Keeping a record of your flight time isn’t just a good idea, it’s a requirement. According to NCAR 188.8.131.52, each pilot shall show the aeronautical training and experience used to meet the requirements for a licence or rating, or recency of experience, by a reliable record. The logbook must also include any flight time or endorsements necessary to establish that the pilot meets the recent flight experience requirements to act as pilot in command or to fly under IFR. Regulations aside, you’ll encounter plenty of other reasons, such as landing a flying job or meeting insurance requirements, why you need to log your flight time.
The NCAR give the basic information your logbook entries must present. The general information includes the date, total flight time or lesson time, departure airport (location for simulated flights), and the type and identification number of the aircraft, flight training device (FTD), or simulator.
The entry must also include the type of experience or training – solo, pilot in command, second in command, flight or ground instruction received from an authorized instructor, or training received in an FTD or simulator from an authorized instructor. Finally, the entry must include the conditions of flight: day or night, actual instrument, simulated instrument conditions in flight, in an FTD, or simulator.
Remember, your logbook not only records your flight and sim time, but also your ground instruction time, because these may also constitute a part of the requirements for pilot certificates and ratings. And although the regulations provide the basic guidance we need for filling out a logbook, we need a whole lot more to document our time accurately and completely.
How to Secure Logbook
Logbooks and their loss are a recurring theme over the years. Preventing loss or theft of your information is just the starting point though. A traditional paper logbook should always be kept in a location secure from both fire and theft, such as a fireproof safe. If you need to take your logbook with you, avoid bundling it with other high value items in your flight bag which could be a target for theft.
With all the great technology available, please think about:
A) Scanning your logbook periodically. Save it at home and work.
- B) If you don’t have a scanner then take a digital photo.
- C) Make copies of your logbooks.
A better, safer option is to use an electronic logbook, and make regular backups of the data.
Recreating Lost Logbook
There are several ways to recreate your logbook once it has been lost or destroyed by using other paper records of the flights, no matter what stage you are in your flying career.
Your flight Instructors. Your flight instructors will have their own personal logbook that has records of the flights that you flew with them. You could ask your flight instructors for copies of the pages where you flew together. You could easily use that in a new logbook.
2) Your flight school. The flight school should have aircraft records of the flights that you lost. You should contact the flight school and ask for a copy of the aircraft hobbs records. Usually the hobbs will record the name of the instructor and student so it should be pretty simple to track down these records if you have a general idea of when you flew.
3) Company Records. If you are a professional pilot you can use company records to help duplicate your logbook. Make records of the company forms you use in the aircraft and keep them handy in the event something would happen to your logbook.
4) Electronic Backup. There are many options when it comes to logbook software and online pilot logbooks. It could be Microsoft Excel or other electronic logbook programs like Logbook Pro, Flightlog Backup.
Always keep your paper logbook in a location secure from both fire and theft, such as a fireproof safe.
Avoid bundling your logbook with other high value items in your flight bag which could be a target for theft.
Make copies of your logbooks.
Use electronic means to back up your logbook – Microsoft Excel, Electronic logbook softwares, Scanning etc.
Don’t leave your logbook in your car, helicopter or in your flight bag.
Keep in touch with your Flight Instructors.
Other backup options could be to keep a copy of data files on a separate computer, laptop or memory stick. If your emails are stored online you could email a copy of your logbook data to yourself, otherwise consider an online storage vault, or keep copies at a different location.