Will your heirs even want your logbooks?

dbahn

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Dave Bahnson
I've pondered this recently, and I've come to realize that most of my 7 logbooks contain "drudgery" that in and of itself just isn't that interesting, even to a pilot - lots of airport names, hours flown, weather conditions, etc., but only little tidbits of what those flights meant to me.

It occurred to me that it might be more meaningful for me to list, say, my 10 most memorable flights or trips and the dates they were taken, and describe the feelings and emotions associated with those, a small journal so to speak that could be referenced by date in the logs (if anyone were actually interested in that aspect of it). There is some interesting stuff buried in there, but finding it could be hopelessly tedious for my kids.
 
I know if I came across the logbooks of a relative, I'd definitely want to see and keep them. Ultimately to decision is up to your decedents as to whether they'd like to keep them or not. As more and more goes digital, records are easier to store but less likely to be perused for historical or reminiscing purposes.
 
Dunno about heirs, but I wish I could have had my high school mentor's certificate or logbook after he passed.
 
I know a few who have looked at a relatives old log books. I guess it’s fun to reminisce, especially if they were on those flights
 
I have my father's logbooks, they are meaningful to me. I also have some of his auto racing trophies. I also participated in both of those activities. I have two daughters, I sincerely doubt my logbooks would be meaningful to them since they never flew with me.
 
It's funny what could happen . . .

I worked with a lady a few years ago. She had recently gotten her PPL, and somehow or another got word that a plane that she had flown in with her father when she was very young was on the market. She verified this with her father's logs, and ended up buying the plane - a Lockheed 12A! She wasn't able to fly it, but she had flown in it with her dad and "had to have it!"
 
Be aware that it might skip too.

My grandad (maternal) flew the P38 Lighting in WW2. None of his 5 kids became pilots, but one of his grandkids (me) did, but not until after he passed (he died in 94 and I started flying in 2012). LUCKILY, one of my uncles kept his logbooks and is going to give them to me, I'm keenly interested in it. As I've been looking through my paternal gradad's war memories (he was an A&P in WW2 primarily in the 8th air force, but did serve in the 3rd as well), there is a chance they were both in the 3rd airforce at the same time in Florida, even though they wouldn't have known each other from adam. I'm interested to look at the records side by side and figure out if they might have been "same place, same time" in that crazy war.
 
I became a CFI at about 1000 hours. Up to that point, my logbooks (like most hobby pilots) are filled with fun trips, some that would have enjoyable memories and be interesting to look back on. Since becoming a CFI, there's a whole lot of pages of nothing but "1/22/24, John Jones, KXXX to KXXX, 1.4 dual given", etc., etc. Nothing much to look at. And since becoming a professional pilot, I typically don't even have any remarks. Which actually makes it better, since when I do put in remarks it's for something actually remarkable.

But since I stopped keeping a paper logbook about the same time I became a full-time pro pilot, I don't expect anyone to want to browse through my MFB account.
 
The meaningfulness of your logbook to someone else has nothing to do with your prediction.
 
I will have my Dad's logbooks from the Navy.

I would have like to have had my FILs logbooks, but some morons threw them out when they did some remodeling when he had a stroke. And one of them was a pilot. STUPID. FIL flew B-24s and B-29s
 
I add remarks in my (paper) logbook of what my flight was about more than half the time. If only for my own reminiscing when I'm too old to fly any more... things like "ride for so-and-so", or "low level beach cruise", "strong gusty xwind", or simply, "beautiful evening".
 
Some people are into those things and some are not. I guess finding who is interested is the hard work otherwise it would have been a waste.
 
I didn't keep a logbook when I was in the Air Force. Our time was logged for us, and when I got out, they gave me a computer printout.

I was showing it to some pilot friends on Thursday. One column jumps out: 303 combat hours. I guess the only way I can get more in that column is to fly low over the woods during deer season.
 
I think the further away the descendants get the less interested they'll be.... unless maybe in the case of a logbook that contains something historic and noteworthy such as a world record breaking Lindbergh flight, or a combat logbook of a WW2 ace.....
just like photographs. Once you get a few generations beyond the younger generations have zero memory of you and there's not really a connection....so not much value in it to them.
I'd like to have a photo or two of my great great grandparents and so on, but I reckon that my great great grandkids might only value one or two photos of me....not the thousands of digital photos that probably exist. It's all just more or less trash at some point.
 
I like in my FF logs I can add pics, so especially fun flights w pics I can look back someday n see the memories attached.

As to if anyone will look when I’m gone, who knows. No one looks for long no matter what… how many keepsakes do you have of just your great grandparent, let alone great-great grandparent. I don’t mean that as a downer-it’s just reality…
 
I have my Dad's log books.
I fly with his license in my lanyard I wear around my neck.
That is pretty cool.
A sort of similar story - My son went to the same high school I did. When he was on the JV team he wore one of my old Varsity jerseys. A girl asked him about it and he said it was his fathers. The girl said, "Your father is on the varsity team?" I still get a kick out of that.
 
I didn't keep a logbook when I was in the Air Force. Our time was logged for us, and when I got out, they gave me a computer printout.

I was showing it to some pilot friends on Thursday. One column jumps out: 303 combat hours. I guess the only way I can get more in that column is to fly low over the woods during deer season.
I started one of those big blue logbooks they sell at UPT bases when it was at CAFB for pilot training. I figured I’d eventually stop or forget it on a deployment, lose it or something but I kept at it and have every flight from my 21 years of military aviation in there. I don’t know if my daughter would think much of it but I enjoy having it. I even have my little paper chit from my initial tweet solo taped in the back.

What was surprising to me was that when I went to Delta for an interview back in 2014, I just used the USAF ARMS printouts for my mil time but when I compared them to my personal logbook I was less than one hour off after over 2k flights.
 
I was gifted a friends father in law's log book.

It has flights from NAS Pensacola in 1945. SNJ4, PBY-5-B a CNT (?) and a couple other planes are in it.

His other log books are still with the Lexington at the bottom of the Coral Sea :)

It is a cool piece of history.
 
I've pondered this recently, and I've come to realize that most of my 7 logbooks contain "drudgery" that in and of itself just isn't that interesting, even to a pilot - lots of airport names, hours flown, weather conditions, etc., but only little tidbits of what those flights meant to me.

It occurred to me that it might be more meaningful for me to list, say, my 10 most memorable flights or trips and the dates they were taken, and describe the feelings and emotions associated with those, a small journal so to speak that could be referenced by date in the logs (if anyone were actually interested in that aspect of it). There is some interesting stuff buried in there, but finding it could be hopelessly tedious for my kids.
I think part of the answer hinges on whether or not there are any pilots among your descendents.
 
I was thinking more about this. I've seen some snips out of some old military logbooks that look to be just page after page listing dates, aircraft, and airports. There is not much there interesting to look at. I'd imagine airline types are the same.
What is interesting is the comments...and I suppose also the trivia (have you ever been to X?) My logbook is all training and personal stuff. I did try to fill out comments often, but I've gotta say I always limited myself to the tiny little blank provided for comments...so a lot was left unwritten & wish that I'd have done even more of it. I should have just taken another line or two in the book when warranted, to keep more of a journal.
 
I'm not sure I want to look at my own logbook, I know my kids would have no interest at all.
 
I like to review my log books from my earlier days of flying on occasion. My heirs would have no reason to want my logs ,as they have no interest in aviation. They will want the airplane to sell however.
 
First positive in the likelihood of my heirs wanting my log books, one son has a PPL.

Next, my wife flew with me 80% of my flight time.

Both of my sons flew with me about 60% of my flight time. Until there was a weight problem, both on the same flights, then one commercial out, the other commercial back.

I will be interesting which one gets the logs. I expect to give them up while still in full use of my faculties, but that is not too far off.

Meanwhile, I refer to them to find the facts for posts here, from the olden days, when all the charts were paper, VOR navigation was state of the art, and Bendix ADF's were so good that one of the Bonanza pilots on the field with tip tanks, tuned WTOP while on the ground in Miami, and used the ADF for the entire flight. True Great Circle navigation.

The aviation museum at College Park has expressed an interest in my logs, if my sons do not take them. They already have a tube type NAV/COM and E6B from a B 24 bomber pilot who gave it to me when I was a student. I have always regretted that I did not have him scratch his name and data on that, making it more historically significant.

One thing that makes my logs more readable is use of the airport name for the departure, and code for landing, so non pilots recognize Savanah International, Washington National (Now Reagan National), or Jekyll Island.
 
One of the lessons I took from my Dad's passing is that nobody wants your old stuff. Kind of shocking how quickly it all disappears. Things you thought were important become junk.

That said, I have his Vietnam boonie cap on display to remind me who he was and what he did. It was a treasure to him and it is a treasure to me.
PXL_20240125_144234504.jpg
So I would say it just depends on whether said logs have an emotional meaning for said heirs, or are historically significant.

Fairly sure nobody will give a damn about my logs. But I've got two well-worn green berets on a shelf for my sons to find and keep if they want.
PXL_20240125_144333857.jpg
 
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One of the lessons I took from my Dad's passing is that nobody wants your old stuff. Kind of shocking how quickly it all disappears. Things you thought were important become junk.
Yeah, it's only the really notable stuff that people want to keep around. My wife's family was part of the Heath candy company, so we have a coffee table fashioned from one of the original copper kettles used to make toffee there. My grandfather spent five years in Japan in the 50's starting the caterpillar tractor operations there and we have some beautiful carved wood panels from that adventure. My wife is a musician and we have her mother's piano.

That's really all I can think of. Between us there are four parents, eight grandparents and 16 great-grandparents and we have three things. And the piano barely counts. We only took it because my wife is actually a musician. Most people think of pianos as heirlooms, but in real life you can usually get a piano for free because so few people want them. My brother has been getting free ones for a few years now and breaks them down into parts to make art out of. That's how little economic value there is to a piano these days.
 
I’ll keep them just in case my daughter wants to become a pilot. It may mean something to her or it may not.
 
The wife of my friend COL Ralph W. Evans USAF (Ret) sent me these after he passed in 1994. He had family, but they weren't interested in keeping any of his belongings. Ralph flew B-29 missions out of Saipan and commanded a SAC B-52 squadron.

It's an honor to have them.

33986389430_bcc6ebdeca_c.jpg
 
My great-grandfather, who died before my grandfather had reached the age of majority, had no way to know that I would keep his pocket watch on my desk at work and wind it every day. You never know what kind of sentimental fools will spring up from amongst your heirs.
 
It's funny what could happen . . .

I worked with a lady a few years ago. She had recently gotten her PPL, and somehow or another got word that a plane that she had flown in with her father when she was very young was on the market. She verified this with her father's logs, and ended up buying the plane - a Lockheed 12A! She wasn't able to fly it, but she had flown in it with her dad and "had to have it!"
Having thoroughly enjoyed reading Martha Lunken's account of working Lockheed Electras (10s, not the smaller 12s) through Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan in the 1960's, 'Once I Built an Airline' (Flying: April 28, and August 20, 2012), I can only imagine the value of those logbooks.
'
 
The wife of my friend COL Ralph W. Evans USAF (Ret) sent me these after he passed in 1994. He had family, but they weren't interested in keeping any of his belongings. Ralph flew B-29 missions out of Saipan and commanded a SAC B-52 squadron.

It's an honor to have them.

View attachment 124680

:cheerswine:

That would look really nice framed with a photo or two, if you have any. I presume the cartridge is from the salute at the funeral?
 
The wife of my friend COL Ralph W. Evans USAF (Ret) sent me these after he passed in 1994. He had family, but they weren't interested in keeping any of his belongings. Ralph flew B-29 missions out of Saipan and commanded a SAC B-52 squadron.

It's an honor to have them.

View attachment 124680
FIRST CLASS.
 
My great-grandfather, who died before my grandfather had reached the age of majority, had no way to know that I would keep his pocket watch on my desk at work and wind it every day. You never know what kind of sentimental fools will spring up from amongst your heirs.

My great-grandfather's pocket watch is sitting on a stand on my bookcase and I'm looking at it right this moment. It's a true RR watch, and he had it when he worked for the old Seaboard rail line. I used to keep it wound, but it began to run very slow and would occasionally stop. I need to have it serviced.

One of these days I'll pass it along to @SkyChaser 's husband (who seems to be banned at the moment).
 
:cheerswine:

That would look really nice framed with a photo or two, if you have any. I presume the cartridge is from the salute at the funeral?
It is. After Ralph died, I mentioned to his wife's son and my good friend I would like to have Ralph's wings when she passed, assuming she would keep them as a memento. I had a really good relationship with her too, and about two weeks after my discussion with her son, the package showed up unannounced with a very nice note inside. She died in 2015 at the age of 99.

Some things have an unexpected emotional impact, and for me, that was damned sure one of them.
 
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