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Lost Pilot’s Logbook – What Should You Do?

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Lost Pilot’s Logbook – What Should You Do?

When a pilot loses or suffers a stolen flight logbook it will quickly become apparent that the flight logbook is a valuable personal document. The challenge of recreating the logbook will be made more difficult the more hours you have accumulated and greater period of time the logbook covers. This quick guide should help you resurrect your logbook quickly if the worse happens and also gives a few suggestions how to avoid this catastrophe happening to you.

Recovery Steps

There are several ways to recreate your logbook once it has been lost or destroyed by using other records of the flights, no matter what stage you are at in your flying career.

Hopefully your logbook will be found and returned, you did write your name and address inside, didn’t you?

First jot down when and where your flying hours were gained, the more detailed information you can provide the easier it will be for others to assist you. Use diaries, receipts for aircraft rentals, bank statements, and curriculum vitas to pin down flight dates and places.

If you have recently been undertaking training your flying instructors will each have their own personal logbook that has records of the flights that you flew together.  You could ask your flight instructors for copies of the relevant pages.

For solo flights the flight school or organization should have both financial records and aircraft records (technical logs) of the flights that you lost.  You should contact the flight school and ask for a copy of the relevant records.  It should be pretty simple to track down these records especially if you have a general idea of when you flew.

For private flying if you own or part own an aircraft check group flying booking and accounting records. You could also check the aircraft logbooks which should have a daily total of hours flown.

Contact your Civil Aviation regulator if you already hold a licence, they should have a copy of the hours you declared when applying for your last licence/rating or records from your last medical form. If you are intending obtain further licenses or ratings you may also be required to obtain a sworn affidavit from a solicitor detailing your claimed hours to the best of your knowledge.

If you are a professional pilot you can use company records to help duplicate your logbook.  Journey reports used for each flight are handy in the event something should happen to your logbook. For multi-crew operations you could ask your co-pilots/captains if they can provide you with details of flights where you have flown together.


A traditional paper logbook should always be kept in a location secure from both fire and theft, such as a fireproof safe. If you need to take your logbook with you, avoid bundling it with other high value items in your flight bag which could be a target for theft. A better, safer option is to use an electronic logbook, and make regular backups of the data.

There are many options when it comes to logbook software and online pilot logbooks. One of the nice things about electronic logbooks is being able to export your precious data files to many different formats for both printing and storing.

Personally I use an electronic logbook and have a backup copy of the logbook files on the hard disk, which is in turn backed up daily to a second hard disk. Once a month I also burn a copy to CD-ROM including printout of my logbook to a pdf file.

Other backup options could be to keep a copy of data files on a separate computer, laptop or memory stick. If your emails are stored online you could email a copy of your logbook data to yourself, otherwise consider an online storage vault, or keep copies at a different location.

Howard Birch is a director of Flyhoward Ltd a software company specialising in the aviation industry. Products include a JAA pilot logbook called Swift-E-Logbook.

The 2 Step Secret Of Learning How To Be A Pilot Without Spending A Fortune

Become a Pilot

In all of my travels and interactions in the world of aviation, I am always most personally inspired by Student Pilots. Through their excited conversations, frustrations, and enthusiasm, I am reminded of my own flight school days.

How exhilarating it was to be flight training! First struggling through, then perfecting a new skill – dreaming of my future days in the jet propelled flight levels (and wondering how I would ever get there).

And the most savvy “Pilots-In-Training” I meet are those few that are seeking to build a plan for their career path – even before they are actually able to enter the job force!

I have concentrated much of my efforts on discovering the best, most effective techniques and strategies for newly licensed pilots to move quickly through the ranks and directly into their Dream Jobs.

But there is also a way that a Pilot-in-Training can optimize his or her time in flight school in order to “hit-the-ground-flying” without delay, directly after graduation.

In other words, a Student Pilot can gain a significant advantage from the very beginning of his/her pilot career and reach his/her goal much quicker than the competition (and there WILL be plenty of competition!)

WARNING: I’m probably going to get a lot of hate mail from the flight schools about what I’m about to tell you here. And they may not be YOUR biggest fan if you decide to follow this advice because it just might be the complete OPPOSITE of their “recommendations”!

Don’t get me wrong…

Without a doubt, Flight Schools provide our industry with a valuable service. And most of them train pilots to an incredible degree of ability and professionalism. Without these essential establishments and the administrators, mechanics, and Instructor Pilots that work there – commercial aviation would cease to exist altogether!

The most savvy “Pilots-In-Training” I meet are those few that are seeking to build a plan for their career path – even before they are actually able to enter the job force!

But… they are a business and they must be profitable in order to sustain operations. And as with any educational institution, they are in the business of educating their clientele up until the point when they will inevitably leave the school to start their careers.

So once a Pilot-in-Training becomes a licensed graduate – they are no longer a paying customer!

Therefore, a flight school must make as much profit as possible from each Pilot-In-Training while he or she is still enrolled. (We’ll discuss the various ways this is accomplished shortly).

So, keeping all this in mind…

HERE IS THE 2 STEP SECRET to becoming a pilot – WITHOUT SPENDING A FORTUNE – so you can get your Dream Pilot Job as soon as possible: (I WISH someone would have told me THIS years ago!)

  1. Get through flight school as quickly as possible.
  2. Only spend your money on those things that are directly related to passing your next checkride.

It sounds so simple yet almost no Pilot-in-Training can do it! That’s why so many ambitious and deserving flight students run out of money before they earn all of their licenses – and have to DROP-OUT of flight school before they are qualified to enter the job force.

You probably already know that the more time you devote to your training – the more quickly you will learn to fly. It could take you a year or more to get a Private Pilot’s License if you only have 1 flight lesson a week – simply because you will spend so much time “remembering” the skills that atrophy over the course being away from the airport for extended periods.

That’s why I highly recommend attending a reputable full-time flight school and flying as much as possible EVERY day. That alone will save you many hundreds of dollars.

But the real secret to your success as a Pilot-in-Training lies more in what you should NOT do.

As I mentioned, the flight schools must take advantage of every day you are there to sell you as much as possible. (It’s okay – that’s how they afford that nice glass cockpit Cessna 172 you enjoy so much!)

And a major source of income is earned by selling the “extras”.

The real secret to your success as a Pilot-in-Training lies in what you should NOT do.

You know what I’m talking about. Pilots love shiny gadgets. They crave knowledge. They want to be “the best”. And they have money to spend – or big loans.

So the flight schools – and the “pilot supplies industry” – are happy to part you and your money by convincing you that you “need” all kinds of juicy extras.

Think about all of the fabulous toys that you could purchase above-and-beyond the actual requirements of flight training:

  • Aviation “Special-Topics” Books and Magazines
  • Training and Nostalgia Videos
  • A Handheld GPS or EFB Tablet
  • Flight Planning and Simulation Software and Apps
  • ANR Headsets
  • Chart Subscriptions
  • Yolk Mounts, Kneeboards and Other Cockpit Junk
  • A “Little John Portable” (ew, gross!)

I could go on and on…

But guess what?

You don’t “need” ANY of that stuff!

All those books can be bought in used condition online at a fraction of the price. (Even most of your REQUIRED books and charts can be downloaded for free).

You can use someone else’s videos and software.

And a GPS and fancy headset won’t help you pass your next checkride.

In fact, most of that stuff is more of a DISTRACTION than an ADVANTAGE!

But even more money (and time) consuming is what I call “extra-curricular” training courses often offered by flight schools.

They have various names, but they all fall into one of several categories:

  • Advanced flight training like High Performance, Tailwheel, Aerobatic, or High Altitude
  • Pay-for-flight-time or block hour time-building programs
  • Crew Resource Management Training
  • Glass Cockpit or EFIS Training
  • Fast-Track or Airline Prep Courses
  • Any training in a Level D simulator that does NOT result in a type rating

You get the picture.

It’s not that these courses aren’t great. I’m sure they are.

But taking them before you have earned all of your licenses and have built some real-world flight time is most likely a huge waste of time and money – for two reasons:

  1. You won’t be able to apply most of the skills you would learn during your first few years as a professional pilot. And you WILL forget them by the time you are in a cockpit that requires all that advanced training.
  2. Most prospective employers you meet won’t care anyway! (And they might wonder why you would pay for time in a B737 simulator when you didn’t even have enough flight time to get “insurance approved” to fly in the actual airplane!)

It’s simple. The most valuable training you can receive above-and-beyond your flight training will be earned “in the field” – while you are getting PAID as a Pilot-in-Command.

No “Fast-Track” courses can take the place of the skills you will gain while Flight Instructing or flying during your first job as a pilot.

And smart employers know this.

As a Chief Pilot, I would ALWAYS choose to hire a pilot that has proven himself in the real world – than one with a CRM Training Certificate and a Bose headset,but little or no PIC time.

So what can you do as a Pilot-in-Training NOW to get into the cockpit of your Dreams as quickly as possible after flight school graduation?

Here is my advice, take it or leave it:

When you are faced with the possibility of spending ANY of your money, get used to asking the question, “Is this absolutely necessary to pass my next checkride?”

It’s that simple.

Ask this question to yourself, ask it to your instructor, and ask it to the administrators of your flight school when you enroll or start your next rating.

Get used to asking the question, “Is this absolutely necessary to pass my next checkride?”

If the answer to that question is “No” – then DON’T buy it!

Resist your natural desires to “know it all” and “have that cool thing”.

This will give you two BIG advantages:

  1. You will inadvertently put yourself on an “information diet”. You will learn only what you need to know for your current rating and avoid crowding your mind with a lot of extra information. And because of this, you will pass your written tests and checkrides easier. You will know the right answer to any question asked – no more, no less.
  2. You will save a TON of money! And you can use that money for truly useful things, like your Flight Instructor rating (if you weren’t already planning on getting it), a Visa or work permit to fly abroad, or your first jet type rating that could enable you to apply for your Dream Pilot Job.

The objective of flight school should be to earn your pilot’s licenses. That’s it!

Everything else you need will come through the process of building your pilot career.

When on Final Approach to Land, Learn How to Work Out a Cross Wind Component in Seconds

When coming in to land can be difficult to work out the cross wind component rapidly. There are 2 quick methods I know to be able to do this and when you understand them choose the one that suits you best.

The first one is known as the clock code and with it you assume that any wind that is more than 60 degrees off the runway heading is a full strength cross wind. So if landing on say runway 27 which is 270 degrees from North, then if the wind direction is less than 210 or more than 330 degrees, whatever the strength is it is regarded as full cross wind. So if the wind is say 200 at 15 knots then it is a 15 knots cross wind.

Now to work out how much of a cross wind there is between these 60 degrees either side of the runway heading you imagine that the number of degrees off the heading are the numbers of minutes round a clock face. Then imagine how far round the clock face that is, and that proportion round the clock face is the proportion of the wind strength.

So if the wind is 20 degrees off the heading, say for example 290 at 30 knots, then 20 minutes is one third of the way round the clock face, so the cross wind component is one third of 30 knots which is 10 knots.

If the runway is 03 which is 030 degrees, and the wind is 070 at 20 knots, this is 40 degrees off the runway heading, and 40 minutes round the clock face is nearly nearly three quarters of the way round the clock face so the cross wind is three quarters of 20 or 15 knots.

As wind constantly varies in strength and direction, then you do not need to be highly accurate with your calculation. If the wind is roughly 30 degrees off, it is half strength so roughly half the wind strength is the cross wind component. 45 degrees off is 3/4 of the strength of the wind and 60 degrees or more full strength.

Another easy way to work out cross wind and head wind component is using this simple mathematical formula.

For calculating cross wind. If the wind it 30 degrees off the nose it is.5 the wind strength, 45 degrees off.7 the wind strength, 60 degrees off it is.9 the wind strength, and if 90 degrees of then obviously it is full strength. This also applies on cross country flights, and for working out the cross wind component when coming in to land.

If for example when coming in to land the wind is 60 degrees off the runway heading it is.9 times the wind strength, so using simple arithmetic on a 20 knot wind just multiply 9 by 2 which is 18 knots. For a wind of 30 knots and 45 degrees off the runway heading the calculation is 3 X 7 which is 21 cross wind component. If like me you learned your multiplication tables as a child, this is easy.

If you reverse the formula, you can use it to work out head wind or tail wind component as well. So if the wind is directly towards you, it is full strength, if 30 degrees off it is .9 of full strength, 45 degrees off .7 of full strength, and 60 degrees off it will be half strength.

If it is 90 degrees off then there is no head or tail wind component. However bear in mind that any strong wind will be affecting the aircraft by drifting and turning into wind will in effect mean that you have to fly a longer track than a straight line so it will always slow you down. The stronger the wind the more time your journey will take.

If the wind is coming from behind you, then the same proportions can be applied to work out the tail wind component, so if it is 30 degrees off your tail, it is.9 of the strength of the wind and so on.

For working out a diversion, you can apply this percentage to your airspeed to get the ground speed, and then to work out drift interpolate the following formula as well. The formula is that at 120 knots airspeed, half the cross wind component is drift.

But most light aircraft fly a bit slower than this, and so the drift is greater. So if you are flying at 90 knots then your drift would be 25% more than half the drift as 90 knots is 75% of 120 knots, so you add the difference to the drift.

This method can be used to quickly calculate heading and ground speed if a diversion is necessary, or if you want to check your calculations after using a computer to plan your journey.

Robby Davis

Robby Davis

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At CoastPrivate, we’re more than simply a jet charter company; we’re a full-service private aviation brokerage offering a wealth of solutions, from ad-hoc charter and elite jet card membership programs, to airliner charters, private jet leasing and private jet sales worldwide.

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