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10 Answers

When do I get to log my flight time?

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Student Pilot

Hello, Just wondering when I am able to legally log my flight time? I am pre-solo, and my CFI always signs my logbook after each lesson, I wasn't sure if it's until I receive my PPL. No big deal, but just wondered how this works. Thanks!

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10 Answers

  1. Best Answer

    Wes Beard on Jul 17, 2013

    The CFI is required to sign the training they give. I always make sure the entries are correct so I refer to fill put the student logbook entries that I sign.

    When you solo, the instructor will not sign tour logbook so the instructor should show you how to fill in your logbook.

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  2. Gary Moore on Jul 17, 2013

    Also – remember – it’s YOUR logbook – you can put anything you want into it….

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  3. Ryan Jones on Jul 17, 2013

    Oh ok, that answers my question thanks!

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  4. Mark Kolber on Jul 17, 2013

    Also – remember – it’s YOUR logbook – you can put anything you want into it….

    That’s a dangerous fallacy and half truth to be telling a new pilot. Just ask the pilots who had all their certificates and ratings revoked by the FAA under 61.59 because they put anything they wanted to in it.

    Yes, you bought it and you paid for it. But the logbook is first and foremost an official record of your flight time for the purpose of showing qualification and currency. One doesn’t need to enter every flight but if you enter something, it needs to be either in accord with 61.51 or at least contain an explanation that it doesn’t count for anything.

    For example, enter a few extra hours in that PIC column? The FAA is well within its rights to assume you wanted to count it for an official purpose and can revoke your certificates and ratings, even if the time was more than you technically needed for something.

    Best example I can think of is the case of the pilot who padded his time for a type rating. His defense was that he qualified for the type rating without the extra time so no harm no foul. It just wasn’t important. He had time to contemplate the wisdom of that viewpoint since he was no longer able to fly (at least until 6 months passed and he re-took his private, instrument, commercial, and ATP tests. http://www.ntsb.gov/alj/o_n_o/docs/AVIATION/5039.PDF

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  5. Mark Kolber on Jul 17, 2013

    Separate from my disagreement with Gary’s post, I’ll add just a bit to Wes’s.

    In addition to being required to endorse all training, it’s the CFIs responsibility to ensure that all of the prerequisite tasks for your solo privileges, cross country privileges, and private certificate are properly logged. While some instructors will teach logging protocol at an early stage, most simply find it easier to make the entries themselves. You have a lot more to deal with in terms of both flight and book learning than making sure that every task is loged

    Of course if, instead of learning what you need for the various knowledge and practical tests associated with solo and the private certificate, you want to study 61.87 (pre-solo tasks), 61.93 (pre-solo cross country tasks) and 61.107 (pre-private tasks), and learn how to make the entries, by all means discuss it with your CFI 😉

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  6. Sam Dawson on Jul 18, 2013

    I only have one thing to add. The logbook at this point is kind of a joint document between you and the CFI. On the one hand there are endorsements the CFI must put in your logbook; ALL training, both flight and ground MUST be logged and signed by your CFI. If it is not logged somewhere it did not legally take place. Make sure your CFI is logging the ground training. I have picked up students from other CFIs and found none of the ground training logged. Although the student claimed they did the training we had to cover the material again as there was no record.
    In addition, while your CFI is responsible for ensuring you have the correct endorsements this responsibility can be viewed as a joint responsibility depending on the circumstances. If you deviate from the endorsements in your logbook or do something without your CFI’s knowledge that requires an endorsement the FAA could come after you.

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  7. Gary Moore on Jul 18, 2013

    Well Mark – I understand your caution – and I’m certainly not advocating lying about your flight time. But there is no requirement to even HAVE a log book. You do have to show a written record of any time used to qualify for certificate/rating or currency – but you could do that on a roll of toilet paper if you want.

    I’ve asked many pilots (student and above) why they crammed so much text, scrawled in tiny script, onto a single line – only to have them respond that they thought they ‘had’ to.

    My favorite logbook of all time was a pilot who was also an artist – he used a full two page spread in his logbook to depict every flight – drawing pictures and making elaborate journal entries about every flight – it was beautiful.

    While abiding by the regulations – you can put whatever you want into your logbook – pictures, descriptions, reminders, and you can color outside the lines….and if you want to record your pre-solo flying with your own words you can absolutely do that!

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  8. Mark Kolber on Jul 18, 2013

    I agree with your clarification Gary. But that’s not what you said the first time around, hence my comment.

    OTOH, not everyone appreciates the personal touch. I know of one situation in which a pilot was rejected from an aircraft co-ownership because the majority co-owner thought that the pilot’s logbook, with its pictures and a few clippings of his activities showed he didn’t take his flying seriously. Will the inspector who is investigation the pilot’s violation to determine what enforcement path to go down treat the diary/logbook in the same way?

    That certainly would’t be my position about it but you never know. My completely personal choice is that my logbook and my diary are separate.

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  9. Hans Mathews on Jul 19, 2013

    In regards to my read of the question.

    You log (write down and count) all of your time as flight time, pre and post solo. However none of your time will be Pilot in Command (PIC) until you get your PPL.

    As to who fills out the log book, generally the instructor when you are getting instruction. Once you solo you may or may not make the entries. Just depends on your instructors preference. It’s been 20 years back for me, but as I recall I had to be signed off to solo each time. May have been a flight school thing.

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  10. Mr NineThreeKilo on Jul 21, 2013

    Pre solo,

    any time you fly with your CFI you log it as instruction received but NOT as PIC

    After solo,

    any time you fly with your CFI you log it as instruction received but NOT as PIC
    any time you fly solo you log it as PIC

    After PPL

    any time with a CFI you log as BOTH instruction received & PIC
    obviously anytime you fly without a CFI is PIC

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