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6 Answers

Electronic Logbook & CFI(I) Endorsements

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FAA Regulations

I have recently started using an electronic logbook.  I like a lot of the features if offers, but there is one area I'm unclear on.  Is there an FAA acceptable way for the CFI to 'sign off' on your logbook when it's electronic for my BiAnnual, or Instrument Proficiency Check, tailwheel, etc.?  There is certainly room to list the CFI's name and certification number and what was being signed off, but I have no idea if this is 'official' since it's pretty easy to fake. 

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6 Answers



  1. Paul Pilipshen on Jan 31, 2013

    In the electronic logbook I use, you cannot modify the entry once the CFI has signed it. If you do unlock and modify the entry, the CFI’s signature is wiped out. There isn’t much guidance on this in 61.51 and it does not say it has to be a paper record, but it does state “authorized instructor’s signature, certificate number, and certificate expiration date.”

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  2. Paul Pilipshen on Jan 31, 2013

    The electronic logbook I use locks the activity once it’s signed by the instructor. If you try to unlock or modify the activity, it wipes out the signature. There isn’t much guidance on this and 61.51 doesn’t say it needs to be a paper record, but it does state “authorized instructor’s signature, certificate number, and certificate expiration date.” So whatever you have needs to have a way of capturing the instructor’s signature.

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  3. Ron Klutts on Jan 31, 2013

    The CFI digital signs the logbook and and there’s a checkbox too for Flight Review and then the record is locked to prevent changes. There’s always a way to fake it, either in a paper logbook or digital one.

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  4. Paul Pilipshen on Jan 31, 2013

    Sorry for the double post. I thought it got wiped out and tried to remember what I said.

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  5. Mark Kolber on Jan 31, 2013

    Mark, you ask an excellent question. It is one that, IMO, remains without a satisfactory answer.

    The FAA has, so far, not come out with any specifics on what is a “manner acceptable to the Administrator” under 61.51 with respect to electronic logs, although there have been some =very= general comments that it would be acceptable.

    The security and authentication of endorsements is a legitimate FAA concern and I would guess that a secure method such as Paul describes would be be acceptable (Paul, would you mind mentioning what software you use?)

    That said, the reality is that there is nothing preventing a pilot from creating a fake instructor endorsement in a paper logbook either. In both cases, it would escape normal detection; in both cases, falsity would come to light in an investigation.

    I’ve had a eLog (home grown) since DOS. But I continue to maintain my paper log until the FAA speaks more definitely on the issue.

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  6. Chris Carlson on Jan 31, 2013

    Not turkey an answer to this question…but like mark said, keep both. Paper and electronic. I know a few electronic logbooks allow you to print off in logbook form, and you could get that signed

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