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3 Answers

Logbooks: Paper or Plastic?

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General Aviation

Just wondering what you thoughts were on logbooks?  Do you swear by and only recommend the traditional paper logbook (I have a tattered Sporty's version)? Or do you think one of the software based (I kinda like the SafeLog product) is a good idea.  Do you think one type is preferable?

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3 Answers

  1. Best Answer

    Matthew Waugh on Jul 29, 2010

    If you intend to do much flying then I recommend that you start an electronic logbook.

    One day, for reasons known only to themselves, an insurance company is going to want to know how many red, retractable gear, single engine, taildraggers with an N-number ending in 6 or H you have flown. An electronic logbook will make it much easier to respond to these bizarre questionnaires.

    So the next question is do you maintain a parallel “traditional” paper logbook. The more time passes I say not because more and more people are getting comfortable with electronic storage systems. I guess I would recommend that as you work through your electronic logbook, when you complete a “page” you print that page out and sign it. Then you have a contemporaneous record. You will still need somewhere to put and keep your endorsements at a minimum, and many flight instructors use their students logbooks to track the student progress (even though they shouldn’t) so there are some practical issues with not having a paper logbook in at least some form.

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  2. James MacGregor CFI on Jan 23, 2011

    The paper logbook is easy and doesnt fail.
    ONE TIP: go to your local copy shop and scan your log, license and medical everytime you get a new rating or every 3 months, email it to a web baised email (like yahoo to gmail) that way even if your house, computer and everything else burns down you still have a copy.

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  3. Kent Shook on Jan 23, 2011

    What Matthew said.
    It’s quite easy to fill out your 8710 or IACRA for your private pilot checkride when you have barely 40 hours. Going back and answering everything for the instrument is difficult. When I finally decided to get my commercial after about 700 hours, it took several hours to figure things out – That’s when I finally wised up and got an electronic logbook. When I took my multi ride, a few clicks and I was done. 
    I still have the paper logbook of course, and I update it every so often, but the electronic one lets me quickly type in a few things on my iPhone at the end of the flight so that I have the correct data, and then I can sync it to my computer and fill in details later. It’ll tell me how much time I have left for day and night currency for ASEL, AMEL, Tailwheel, etc. as well as instrument currency, all at a glance. Getting things like time in type is easy for insurance…
    DO be sure you are backing up properly – Keeping scanned copies of your paper logbook for endorsements, and keeping backup copies of your electronic log in several places (if your house burns down, a backup on another hard drive won’t help you). Automate it if possible so you can’t forget, but doing a second manual backup is good too. 

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