Going to digital log books.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by AlphaMike, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well like most people I’ve got some extra time on my hands. It’s probably a great time to switch over to digital logs. I’ve got about 130 hours all in paper logs. Do I really need to go back and enter everything one by one or can I just add one entry with everything to date? What digital log app do you like? I was just going to use ForeFlight but i certainly don’t want to spend time doing this if there’s something better. Thanks for your advice!
     
  2. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    That won't take you long at all. ForeFlight is probably fine if you don't plan on switching. I use Zululog.
     
  3. dreyna14

    dreyna14 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I transferred my stuff to digital at about the same time as you. I haven't gone with any of the EFB logs. Instead, I made my own Excel logbook so I can customize it how I like. I also add tabs for training requirements for IR and CPL as well as IACRA and summary pages for currency. It's been very helpful.

    As for my paper logbook, I still use it and also scan each page as it gets filled up and keep a master PDF archived.
     
  4. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    One of the big benefits of digital logs is that you can easily satisfy strange curiosities, such as ‘how many night landings do I have at KSMO in a Cessna 182RG’? Therefore the more granular you make the underlying data, the more useful the reports can be. Especially with only 130 hours, I’d make sure every entry is there.
     
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  5. WDD

    WDD Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm all about using updated technology. But I still have and will continue to have a paper log book. Easy to input after each flight, like that I can put notes down right on the spot, and will be hard to argue that I fabricated the entries over the years.

    But - I also scan each page after it is completed as a back up. AND I keep a simple Excel sheet up to date so I can see how many hours I have for what not, can sort and what not.
     
  6. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    I agree. With 130 hours, I'd enter each flight. That way you'll have the data you need later. You could do it all as one line, but then you lose the underlying data. This would cause a problem with, for example, currency calculations or generating the IACRA flight time categories. With 130 hours, you likely only have somewhere around 100 flights. Just do it in batches of 10 or 20 and you'll be done in no time.

    With whatever logbook you choose, you need to make sure it has the ability to export your data in a CSV format. Preferably also can do it automatically as a backup, and send it to you (or save on a cloud account of yours). So even if the logbook app goes away tomorrow, you still have your data.
     
  7. Tspin

    Tspin Pre-Flight

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    +1 for entering every flight. I had way more hours and flights when I first started using an electronic logbook, and I brought in all of my flights. As RussR, break it into chunks and you’ll have it done in no time.

    As for which one, I’m currently using MyFlightbook. It’s free, well supported, and full featured. With a small one time donation, it will automatically backup each night to Google Drive. That way I always have a current backup in csv format.
     
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  8. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    This.

    When I was looking at log programs I found that many were happy to import various formats but few or none would export. Lock-in IOW. I ended up writing my own logbook program that uses the Microsoft Jet (aka Access) database.

    I agree on putting in all your flights. As I entered from my manual logbook (more like 500 hours IIRC) I found several arithmetic errors in adding page columns. Nothing too serious but definitely worth correcting.
     
  9. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Stupid question: How do I get CFI endorsements on digital logbooks?
     
  10. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I use my flight book .com ,also transcribe to my paper log book. Also print out recent pages ,very redundant.
     
  11. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I have a separate small logbook specifically for endorsements or training entries with a signature (such as when I did my SES). The endorsements all get scanned and placed together in the endorsement section of my master (digital) logbook.
     
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  12. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've been using MyFlightbook almost since it started. I recently asked the developer how long. Turns out I was the 18th user, subscribing October 25, 2006. Surprised me, although I've been using digital logs as backup since DOS.

    Yes, if you don't want to type your old entries manually, you can enter the totals and work from there. And yes, it has the ability to export your data in a CSV format. Manually any time; automatically with a small subscription fee. Manual download or to your cloud account.

    Most of the digital logbooks have the ability to collect instructor signatures following the FAA's guidelines for authenticity and prevention of unauthorized changes. If the CFI is a subscriber, the CFI endorses with their own password. If the CFI is not a subscriber, there is the ability for the CFI to manually "sign" a phone or tablet version with finger or stylus.

    CFI endorsements were the last part of my transition from paper. I stopped using my paper logbook except for third-party signatures and endorsements in mid-2013. Now paper is only for endorsements by CFIs who are uncomfortable with digital endorsements (those get scanned).
     
  13. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    that was my next question. The CFI I used for 99% of my PPL doesn’t use ForeFlight or any apps for that matter. Will I have to get him to sign every entry? He’s almost 70. I’m not sure how that would go? Lol.
     
  14. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I do the same. Everything goes into digital log book but still have a paper log book that gets only endorsements, dual, and sign offs....then that gets scanned into digital log book. CFI signs paper which is my "official" copy then I enter digitally for running cumulative total.

    Keeps it easier for all those that need to provide a sign off for whatever and if digital ever should God forbid crash or loose data, I have not lost those critical signatures. Hours you can re-create...harder to do with sign offs

    Now yeah, you could export and backup your digital only files off site disconnected from file source and computer...but I would suspect few are really disciplined enough to actually do that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
  15. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    130 hours can be entered in no time at all. When I started my electronic logbook I had around 10,000 hours in existing flights.

    If you have any intention of any form of commercial flying, I recommend an electronic logbook. Get one that has a serious company and business plan behind it; not an inexpensive one supported only as someone's hobby or side business. You want to make sure, to the extent possible, that the logbook, and your data, will be supported far into the future.

    I use Logbook Pro from http://www.nc-software.com/. It isn't cheap, and some functions (cloud sync, mobile sync, etc.) require subscriptions. You can use the stand-alone program just fine without any subscriptions. I've been using Logbook Pro since 2009 so am not current with the other options but I'm sure that there are other excellent options.

    I keep a paper logbook for endorsements but don't enter anything else in them. I can print and bind my electronic logbook to present along with the endorsement logbook for interviews, etc. As an airline pilot, I've never need endorsements for flight reviews, IPCs, etc. If I was to do a rental checkout I'd bring the endorsement logbook along with the printout from the airline showing my last checkride to document compliance with the flight review requirement. The CFI would fill out a normal log entry and checkout endorsement in the book then I'd enter the flight into the electronic logbook later.

    Doesn't really apply to your case but, this is how I entered ~10,000 existing hours into Logbook Pro.

    I immediately starting entering my on going flights electronically. At that time, it was manually via my notebook computer after a series of flights. Today it's through my phone after having most of the flight information pre-filled with a sync from my airliner's scheduling computer's trip display. I now have a flight logged and synced before more than a handful of my passengers have left the airplane. The ability to do that sync requires a subscription but, at around 70 hours per month, it is well worth it to me.

    At the same time, I went back and started entering my flying from the beginning, flight by flight. I entered each flight individually until I started flight instructing. At this point, I made a single entry for each page of my paper logbook. While flight instructing, I'd be flying different types aircraft so that had to be broken down by aircraft type so one page might have separate entries for C-152, C-172, and PA-28 totals for that page. This gave me to ability to do all of the sorting I might need for job applications, insurance forms, etc. even though it didn't separate it out by flight. Once I moved on to an airline job, it was just one entry per page as we only fly one type of aircraft at a time. I numbered each page in my logbook as I went and put that page number in the remarks section of the entry in Logbook Pro. This way I can go back and replace the single entry with entries for the individual flights one page at a time.

    It took several months of work to get everything entered in this manner but, once I did, it was very easy to fill out any application or flight time form. At some point, I stopped dual-logging non-endorsement flights in both paper and electronic logs and just use electronic.

    My bottom line is, start now and avoid the much greater pain that I had to go through.
     
  16. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The FAA requires every dual entry and ever endorsement be signed, so yes.

    What does being almost 70 have to do with it? How old are you?
     
  17. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m 46. Being 70 he’s just not as “up to speed” with all things electronics. The man is a great pilot and incredible instructor with more than 40k hours. But he doesn’t use ForeFlight and I just dread asking him to sign all this again. But I’m sure he’ll do it. After a moderate lecture about how none of this electronic stuff is needed.
     
  18. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    He doesn't need to sign it all again. Just carry the entries over and hang on to the old logbook. The old logbooks are great for nostalgia purposes anyway. ;)
     
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  19. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    LOL. I was hoping you were younger so I could say I've been using a digital logbook since before you were born. You were 20 when I wrote my first eLog.

    I wouldn't ask him to "sign all this again." I'd enter whatever I wanted into my digital logbook and retain the paper as the originals of past events.
     
  20. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That’s what I’ll do. I’m 2 pages in now. I’ll just enter everything from the paper book and go forward using digital logs. Thanks for all the advice!
     
  21. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I keep my log in three formats. Paper log. Excel spreadsheet. MyFlightBook. The only time my log book is with me is when I need a signature, like my annual flight review (club requires it annually). Oh, and my laptop is backed up via Carbonite all the time. Am I paranoid? Could be. But it works well for me.

    BTW, I'll be 68 next month. Your CFI doesn't sound all that old to me. :D
     
  22. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lol. He’s not so much old.. just old school! That’s a better way to describe him. I probably should have qualified my statement better! ;) I definitely respect him very much!
     
  23. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ForeFlight has a way of having an instructor digitally sign an entry. It's pretty cool.

    As for the OP: Yes, I would put in every flight. Not only for data granularity, but because IACRA is going to ask you about some things that normally aren't a separate column in the logbook, and the digital logbooks are much better at covering this. That's why I first switched to a digital logbook in 2008 when I was about to get my commercial.

    Do you know what you're going to use yet? If you have ForeFlight, I'd go with that as it ends up being very easy to keep up with it in the future since it can log flights automatically, lets you include pictures, etc... However, it's not as easy to start IMO just because you can't key in the flights on a laptop, you have to use a mobile device. However, you CAN key in the flights on a laptop in Excel and then import those files into ForeFlight. They have templates for that here (ignore the "digital" part - Once you key it in, it's digital): https://support.foreflight.com/hc/en-us/articles/215641157-How-do-I-import-my-digital-logbook-
     
  24. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks. Yeah I’m going to use ForeFlight. I’m 2 of 9 pages in! Lol. I’ll be working on my instrument training soon so I might as well get this done now.
     
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  25. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    This definitely seems like a comment directed to some (likely one) of the most popular online logbooks. I use such a logbook, and I have no fears of "losing" my data. That's the whole reason for my earlier comment to make sure that the data is exportable in a common format, and that it is stored somewhere that YOU have control of, not them. And preferably, that it's done automatically, even every day.

    The electronic logbook I use does all that, for a small annual donation. According to the developer, it really pretty much is a hobby for him. However, that doesn't bother me in the least. He has a great product, and if he ever decided to quit supporting it, or whatever, it would be a minor inconvenience for me as I find another one and import the data I had just exported from the old one.
     
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  26. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    I had too many hours when I started using digital. I just carried over the totals to start with and went from there.

    and that was with a free logbook that was doing basically everything Foreflight started doing later.
     
  27. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I used FlightLog for a few years, then it just stopped doing arithmetic, so I created my own electronic log book.
     
  28. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Looks like everyone is talking about flight logs, what about maintenance logs? I am manually taking a picture of the pages, is there a good app to create a pdf of pictures? It must allow editing (appending and deleting).
     
  29. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    I selected Logbook Pro more than a decade ago. That was the last time I looked at any other logbook programs. I have no knowledge of anything else that is currently offered.
     
  30. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He does a heck of a lot of work for what began as a hobby.
     
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  31. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    I use myflightbook it is free. I also use paper. I export myflightbook to excel as well as a back up. I like having the paper log book but use both basically so I can do quick searching and have a backup if my logbook gets destroyed.
     
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  32. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have been backing up my logbook in an excel spreadsheet since my first lessons.
    I like it because I can see how I am against the minimum requirements for ppl, IR, commercial, etc.
    But I have to do double entry on paper and excel...
     
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  33. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    Myflightbook will also import from a spreadsheet, which is how I got all my starting time in. Much easier to just type 100 rows in a spreadsheet than to enter 100 flights one at a time through the application interface.
     
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  34. 1SGBrokePilot

    1SGBrokePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    I used the foreflight template .csv to input about 280 hrs of flights.. it took an hour or two.. so not too bad. While doing this I realized that I really messed up the math on my hours early on in my training. I gained 8.6 hrs that I had not accounted for because of my bad math. Now I keep the paper log and my foreflight log synced every time I get to the end of a page in the paper log.
     
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  35. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yes! The earlier you do it, the easier it is. I had about 700 hours when I converted over in 2008, and it took me three solid days. Not fun. But, I'm glad I have the granular data, 'cuz I'm a data geek.
     
  36. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Your avatar plus elog don’t compute. Not saying you’re old or anything, lol.

    I use paper. Maybe someday my kids (or future grandkids way off in the future) can decide to throw it away or display it as decor.
     
  37. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    :biggrin:
    I always use paper. Then would make a digital copy with Flightlog (just the last 8 years). Then FlighLog forgot how to do arithmetic, so I wrote my own program.
     
  38. EricBe

    EricBe Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In MyFlightbook, there are a few ways:
    • If you use the mobile app, the instructor can use a finger-scribble to sign a flight or to issue an endorsement
    • Or, you can set up a student/instructor relationship and the instructor can issue a "digital" signature (that is, no fingernail-scribble, because they've authenticated themselves digitally by signing in).
    • Or, you can upload scans of paper endorsements.
     
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  39. EricBe

    EricBe Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think I know which one you're referring to as well. It's open source, and backed up by a bank account and backup admins that will allow it to run for many years if the developer were to get hit by a bus.
     
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  40. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    I use Foreflight.. I did the painstaking process of writing everything on their CSV template and importing it.. took a 2-3 weeks of doing it here and there. It wasn't bad, made for some nice trips down memory lane

    What I like about Foreflight is all the additional tracking and stuff it does for you.. I land, go home, and boom there's an entry there, I correct the Hobbes and PIC figures, add a comment, and I'm done
     
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