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7 Answers

Taking aircraft logbooks to a practical test away from home base

Asked by: 4165 views , ,
FAA Regulations, General Aviation, Instrument Rating

I've been studying for my instrument rating oral exam, and I came across a comment in a particular set of review question notes that if you fly your aircraft somewhere to take your practical test away from your home base, you should not expect to have to review the aircraft logbooks with the DPE to show airworthiness (recency of inspections, compliance with ADs, etc) because it is considered "bad form" to ever fly an aircraft with its own logbooks on board. While I get the logic that if there were an incident the investigation would be hampered by the potential destruction of the logbooks, my private pilot DPE certainly had me show him the aircraft logbooks in this circumstance, and I can think of dozens of pilots who have done the same without anyone ever thinking twice about it.


What do you all think? Is it standard practice in your area to leave logbooks behind when visiting a remote DPE? If you were a DPE wouldn't you want to see the airworthiness demonstrated before climbing in for the practical test?

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7 Answers

  1. John D. Collins on Feb 22, 2013

    Our area DPE (not located at our airport) requires the logbooks and won’t conduct a practical test without reviewing them. When I owned a flight school, we had the student sign an agreement that if the logbooks were not returned and particularly if they were misplaced or lost, we would suffer a significant financial loss (up to 25% of the value) to the aircraft and that they would be required to reimburse us for that loss. We never did lose the logbooks, but in several instances, the AW Certificate or the Registration documents were misplaced and the airplane was grounded until they were replaced, We requested of our local FSDO to be able to only keep copies in the aircraft because of this issue, but they would not approve it. In several cases, it cost us days of lost revenue plus the costs of getting replacement documents.

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  2. Lagmanbek on Feb 22, 2013

    i took a checkride in Michigan, and the DPE almost failed me because of this issue: i didn’t bring the maintenance logbooks. The software test prep said don’t fly with a/c logbooks. That got resolved by photocopying and faxing the relevant pages to the DPE, and he reluctantly allowed the exam to go forward. i’m scheduled to take a CFI exam soon in South Carolina, and the flight school says they have been flying the plane with logbooks to the FAA in Columbia for years. The aforementioned software folks say these two FSDO’s are non-standard, but it seems that you should be sure to check with your examiner before showing up on this issue.

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  3. Gary Moore on Feb 22, 2013

    You should probably be photocopying your logbooks from time to time anyway – and putting that copy in a separate location….

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  4. Kris Kortokrax on Feb 22, 2013

    The “software folks” are mistaken. Any examiner/inspector who does not require the maintenance records is operating contrary to FAA Order 8900.2.

    This is available on FSIMS, fsims.faa.gov.

    Section 11 describes the conduct of an Instrument Practical Test. On page 7-102 the examiner/inspector is directed to advise the applicant to bring several documents/records to the practical test. On page 7-103, item 7 requires “the aircraft maintenance records.”
    The two FSDO’s mentioned above and any other FSDO/DPE who requires the maintenance records, are not “non-standard.” Bear in mind that the “software folks” who author prepware have no authority to make policy, nor to determine who is or is not complying with policy.

    Always go to the source for the answer. Also, take a look at the Applicant’s Practical Test Checklist in the Instrument PTS. It lists maintenance records as something to bring to the test.

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  5. Matthew Waugh on Feb 24, 2013

    I have heard of cases where a DE, flight school and the facility conducting maintenance have an arrangement whereby the DE is assured in some way acceptable to all parties involved that the aircraft meets all airworthiness requirements – and the logbooks do not need to travel.

    The purpose of bringing the maintenance record is to “determine that the aircraft is airworthy and suitable for the practical test” and the DE Handbook wants that accomplished by ensuring that “the applicant has the proper aircraft maintenance records, logbooks, airworthiness certificate, and aircraft registration”.

    There is no provision for an alternative means of compliance other than presenting the documents during the practical test – but it wouldn’t be the first time that people have taken liberties with the conduct of practical tests.

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  6. Gary on Nov 14, 2014

    If I were an owner furnishing an aircraft for a flight review I would ask the dpe well in advance if he would accept regular photo copies. If not, ask if he’d be ok with certified photo copies. If not, find another dpe.

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  7. Kris Kortokrax on Nov 16, 2014


    If you had read and understood the original post and ensuing comments, you would realize that no one was commenting on the requirements for a flight review. The original post and all comments are addressing practical tests.

    A flight review can be conducted by an instructor. Flight reviews are not required to be conducted by DPEs, although they can be.

    If I am conducting a flight review, I will want to see the maintenance records to assure myself that it is airworthy, especially if the pilot requesting the flight review is past the due date. This would necessitate my assuming the PIC role and responsibility for the flight.

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