Fear of a lost logbook

I don’t often use this space to plug other blogs (the boss likes us to write our own, for some reason), but this one is too good not to share with the training and wannabe-professional audience. Adam Fast takes a really good look at something we all know is possible but fervently hope will never happen to us: losing a logbook.

Using a friend’s mishap as a cautionary tale, Fast explains that the worst part of losing a logbook (or a medical certificate) is the fact that without that documentation, the evidence of all those hard-earned and expensive flight hours evaporates. And he points out that not only do you have to worry about misplacing these documents, you also have to worry about theft or fire or other natural disaster that could render your documents null and void.

Being a self-professed geek, Adam carefully examines options you can take to back up your records. Think you’re good because you use an online logbook? Think again, and take Adam’s advice because hey, he does this stuff for a living. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some photocopying to do.

How do you protect your logbook? Please tell us in the Comments section.–Jill W. Tallman


  • http://stoneponyband.com Doug

    I photocopy the page as I complete it & save the image to both my home computer and a jump drive.

  • http://flyingadventures.weebly.com shane

    I lost my log book when I had around 100 hours. I had to reconstruct it from receipts, aircraft logs, emails, friends’ logbook who trained with me, and memory. It was painful. Since then, I do the following:
    1. keep a logbook accurately and leave it in a safe at home
    2. keep an electronic version (and use multiple copies in my pc and on our server)
    3. use scanned copies and email (gmail) them to myself and keep for good
    3. photocopy and keep in a separate safe.

    I am paranoid. I cannot lose my logbook any more. and I will not, now that i have 4 backups.

  • David Wyatt

    I do two things to mitigate the risk of a lost log book:
    1 – Scan each page as I fill it out, or after a significant key entry (endorsements or flights that would be expensive to repeat or not possible to reproduce, like flying overseas, first solo, etc.). Now I have a digital copy. Plus I need this as anything requiring a CFI signature cannot be in a simple, digital logbook like an Excel spreadsheet.

    2 – I record flights online. I use http://www.vortexlog.com. Nice thing here is I can now produce reports/queries for currency and to fill out my flight club’s overnight/long XC forms, which ask for # of hours in plane type, last 90 days, and also track XCs and IFR flights towards my IFR certificate. I can see how many flights and hours per plane, per type, night flights, etc. I can export that out to a .txt or .csv file, and it is a great cross-check against my paper logbook math.

  • Robert

    The blog in question brings up some good points, but utterly fails on the part of a lost medical. You do not have to pay for another exam. A facsimile of your medical may be obtained from the aeromedical decision of the FAA for a tiny fee. These replacements are easy to get and easy to spot. They bear the signature of Warren s silbermann and have nothing on the back of them as traditional medicals do. A request cand be maid via mail, or online from the FAA website. The facsimile arrives quickly leaving you free to fly the friendly skies….in no time. P.S. You can do almost the same with a lost pilot certificate, only they can’t fax that over, a replacement will be mailed via snail mail, and email or fax sent with a letter from the FAA authorizing temporary exercise of privileges until the replacement comes in the mail. The letter is only good for 60 days, but it keeps you flying. In summation if you loose FAA documents the FAA is truly there to help you, and will do so quickly. Just my .02!

  • Jill Tallman

    Thanks everybody! Shane, what a pain (sorry, couldn’t resist) but luckily it was 100 hours instead of 1,000. Robert, thank you for the observation about the medical replacement. I hope you commented on Adam’s blog because I’m not sure he’ll read the comments here, and you have a valid point.

  • Mark C

    I plan to set up a spreadsheet on the computer on which I can duplicate all my logbook entries, but haven’t yet taken the time to do so. When done, I will then email them to an on-line account and save them in a folder as I update the spreadsheet. Until I find the time to set that up, I am using the “James bond” method, I take pictures of each logbook page with my good-quality pocket camera and store those on my computer and in my email account. That actually works great, as I get not only the entries, but all signatures from instructors and examiners in a photographic record.

  • Glenn

    I feel your pain brother. I went to see an instructor a few years back who was at a flight school that specializes in training kids. I was showing my log book (which doubled as an autograph book for some celebrities that I ran across) to the instructor and put my gear down to do some looking around. It had the signatures of many family members and close friends that were happy for me that I had got my ticket and trusted me enough to go flying with me. After the flight we could not find it. Losing it was not something that had occurred to me-but let’s be honest-someone stole it. My name was in it-albeit with obsolete address info-but anyone can be found in this day and age-and everyone cannot be a pilot. Even getting a low level rating is level of accomplishment that many out there can only hope to aspire to.