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Lost Pilot’s Logbook – What Should You Do?

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.

Prevention

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.

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