A logbook is one of the most important tools for a pilot.
When buying a (new) logbook, it’s important to consider which features are best suited for your needs. We’ve compiled this list of considerations below so that when it comes time to buy a pilot logbook in 2021, you’ll be able to make an educated choice. Additionally, we also show you some of the most popular options when it comes to paper and electronic logbooks.
What is a Pilot Logbook?
In its essence, a logbook is a place to document the hours a pilot has flown, where and when.
Particularly for commercial pilots, a logbook is vitally important to document and prove their flight time and experience to (future) employers and authorities.
A pilot logbook isn’t just a piece of tedious bureaucracy; you can also think of it as a diary of your flying achievements – a little book that can serve as a great way to collect your flying achievements and to look back on past experiences and memories.
Things to Consider When Buying a (new) Pilot Logbook
Paper logbook vs Digital logbook?
A question we often receive is, “Should I use a physical (paper) logbook, or an electronic logbook?”. Our answer is… use both.
We explained above your logbook is both proof of your flight time and experience, as well as a collection of your past experiences and memories.
Nowadays, not having a backup of your precious family photos is a risky move, so it makes sense to also have a backup copy of your logbook.
We recommend using a physical paper logbook as your ‘main’ logbook, and an electronic one as a backup.
A big advantage of electronic logbooks is that you can carry around an electronic version easily (e.g. on a tablet or smartphone), so you’ll never be without access to the records when traveling, or whenever and wherever you need them.
Another reason to use a paper logbook is when you’re a student pilot. During flight training, you will need to collect a lot of signatures from your instructor(s) and eventually the examiner. Having them sign on an electronic device just isn’t as convenient as on a regular paper.
Is the person who will be filling out this logbook a helicopter pilot, an airplane pilot, a glider pilot, or somebody with experience in both? It’s important to consider the type of aircraft you’re flying before purchasing a logbook, as some types of aircraft might require additional fields to include specific information.
When you’re flying gliders, for example, specific logbook columns may include the launching method, cross country distance, engine hours (if the glider is equipped with a self-launch or a turbo sustainer engine) etc.
These pilot logbooks may be much simpler than pilot logbooks for professional pilots flying larger aircraft under IFR rules.
Your (Future) Pilot License
Another factor that plays a role in determining which logbook you need is your (future) pilot’s license and flying/career goals.
A very simple pilot logbook might suffice for private pilots, but if you’re planning on adding additional ratings, such as Instrument and Turbine, you will need a logbook that offers additional columns.
Another important aspect to consider is aviation regulations. Rules concerning pilot logbooks may be dependent of your country and (inter)national aviation regulations, such as differences between EASA, CAA and FAA.
Different aviation authorities require different logbook layouts, columns and ways of filling in your hours.
If you’re purchasing a physical paper logbook, it’s important to double-check the logbook’s format. Most electronic logbooks, however, allow you to easily switch to a different layout, and often even choose additional data columns to add.
Lastly, you should consider logbook sizes. Depending on your specific situation, one size might be a better fit than another.
Although a larger logbook might be more convenient to write in, a smaller one will be more convenient to carry in your flight bag.
The Best Paper Pilot Logbooks to Buy in 2021
1. Jeppesen Pilot Logbook
Crafted with durability and a highly functional design, Jeppesen Pilot Logbook has become an industry-standard – made to go the distance. Large flight-time spaces arranged in accordance with FAA regulations and 520 flight entries ensure plenty of note-taking. And “easy-on-the-eyes” green pages resist ink bleed through. Bound in a scuff-resistant cover.
Measures 8″ x 5 1/4″
2. The Standard Pilot Log
The finest and most verstile logbooks for aviators, The Standard logbooks have been supporting the aviation industry for over 60 years and comply with the FAA’s recordkeeping requirements. Versatile, easy-to-use and flexible enough to fit any pilot’s needs, student or ATP.
Measures: 9″ x 5.5″
3. The Standard Pilot Master Log
ASA’s popular logbook is formatted to comply with the standards for all international flyers. In addition to complying with FAA recordkeeping regulations, this logbook complies with ICAO, JAA, CAA, and CASA recordkeeping requirements pertaining to pilots — including JAR-CFL 1.080.
Columns provide standardization, but are flexible enough to allow pilots to customize to fit their needs. Summary pages allow pilots to track experience, aircraft types, currency, medical dates, flight review, and more for quick reference.
Measures: 11″ x 6-1/2″
ASA also offers a handy logbook cover for this logbook:
4. Peter Beilenson Pilot Log Book
This handsome and durable logbook satisfies FAA regulations. It includes places to record certificates and ratings, medical certificate and flight proficiency history, endorsements, and more. Aviator green paper deflects glare and resists bleed-through.
Measures: 8” x 4-1/2”
The Best Paper Electronic Logbook (Apps) in 2021
1. ForeFlight logbook
The popular flight navigation software Foreflight has a logbook built-in to the app, making it easy for pilots to log and share flights, track hours, review currency, record certificates and ratings, receive electronic instructor endorsements, and generate experience reports.
As it is not available as a stand-alone app, you will need to have an active Foreflight subscription to access its features.
Logbook.aero is a simple, multiplatform pilot logbook, available for IOS, Android and as a website.
This is the electronic logbook we personally use and love! It has many features, including pdf exports, detailed reporting, digital signatures, time calculation, import/export, license tracking, and more. All for the incredibly low price of $5/month or $50/year.
Logbook.aero offers a 14-day free trial.
3. LogTen Pro
LogTen Pro is one of the most popular electronic logbooks apps that has been around for quite some time now.
You can choose to format your logbook with name brand logbook formats like ASA or Jepps, select fully customizable options.
Unfortunately, this app is only available on Apple devices.
LogTen Pro offers multiple subscriptions, depending on the number of devices you use; iPhone + iPad, Mac, iPhone + iPad + Mac, or a business license.
They also offer a free subscription for student pilots (up to 250h total time) with more limited features.
FLYLOG.io is not just another electronic logbook; it also features VFR navigation and maps.
A good inexpensive alternative to Foreflight with its built-in logbook functionality.
FLYLOG is available as logbook-only ($.49/month) or bundled with VFR navigation ($7.99/month).
5. CrewLounge PILOTLOG
Lastly, there’s CrewLounge PilotLog. Formerly known as MCC pilot log, this app is another popular solution that offers plenty of features for any type of pilot.
Altough heavily focused on professional and airline pilots, it enable logging for all kinds of flying (fixed wing, rotorcraft, ultra-light, ballooning, gliders and even drones).
One of the major advantages is the extremely low price: plans start at €2,99/month, up €3,99/month. There is also a free forever plan that allows you to log up to 100 flights.
Some Additional Pilot Logbook Tips
- You should always keep your logbook up to date, as the sooner you record information on a flight, the less time you will need to spend later.
- Make sure that your hours are properly and accurately recorded. Especially for professional pilots, a logbook is an important part of your resume.
- Sign each and every page in the space provided at the bottom.
- Make sure you have backups. Whether you use a backup logbook, make copies of each page, or use an electronic backup, it will save you from many worries.
- Attaching a small passport photo to your logbook’s first page may be a good idea. People might not know your name, but they may recognize your picture if your logbook gets lost.
Some specific tips for professional pilots:
- If you are meeting with a potential employer, bring your paper logbook for the interview. Aside from conveying your training and experience, a neat and tidy logbook is a good advert to future employers.
- Put a label with your name on the front and back cover of your logbook. This will make it easier for a potential employer to find your logbook when it’s amongst a pilot of others.
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