When flying, do airlines check your flight history? If yes, then how often? And if no, why not?
The aviation industry has always been a highly regulated sector. Airlines are required to file their flight records with the relevant authorities, such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
This information helps them to ensure safety standards are met.
These records include details of each flight, its route, duration, passengers, crew, aircraft type, maintenance status, etc.
The CAA and other regulators use this data to monitor compliance with regulations. They also offer it to air accident investigators.
Airlines can be fined for failing to comply with regulations or for inaccurate reporting. In addition, they may face criminal charges for operating unsafely.
But are airlines required to look directly at pilot personal logbooks? In this article, we answer your questions on what airlines look at and whether they look at log books or not.
What Is A Pilot Log Book?
Before answering your question about airline scrutiny of pilot logbooks, let’s first understand what a pilot logbook is. It is a record of every flight you have flown in an aircraft. It contains all the details of every flight including:
- Aircraft registration number
- Date of departure
- Time of departure
- Duration of flights
- Flight plans
- Air traffic control clearance
- Weather conditions at the destination airport
- Landing times
- Take off times
- Number of take-offs/landings
- Fuel consumption
Although logbooks check these essential facts, logbooks are not just a record of your flights, but also a representation of you as an aviator.
Your logbook represents your personality, skills, and experience. A skilled pilot will have a better logbook than a beginner, and in some cases, they can determine your ability to get hired by a certain airline.
Some companies use logbooks to work out if applicants are qualified to work in the cockpit, and that is why you must keep yours up to date.
Logbooks are important documents. You should always take them seriously and pay attention to details. Don’t forget to sign them and total them correctly.
You need to document your logs and back them up with photos or scans, and it needs to be kept legible, organized, and signed.
A pilot could also take a photo of every new totaled page, and keep them in a folder that’s on a laptop, and synced to an internet server.
If you lose this only copy of a logbook, you’ll likely lose tons of hours of progress, which will be hard to re-record accurately.
Keep them safe by keeping them somewhere safe, such as a fireproof safe, but if all else fails, the totaled pages will then be backed up on a computer.
Companies such as PSA and ExpressJet suggest that pilots use an electronic logging system to log their flight activity. They both stress the importance of formatting the data correctly.
Pilots who attempt their own formatting often make mistakes and could end up with records that are not accurate or left incomplete.
Pilots should therefore use a well-known and recognized software package if they are creating an electronic logbook.
Do Airlines Look At Logbooks?
Many people ask how much airlines look at logbooks. The truth is that they do look at logbooks and they need to make sure each entry has the necessary information.
A pilot logbook is evidence and provides a reliable record of aeronautical training and experience so that the airline knows they have employed a reliable pilot.
Given the information that must be logged, a logbook can be used for more than just finding out a pilot’s qualifications.
The FAA may use it to identify who operated an aircraft on a flight or arrival, and departure locations could be used to identify what kind of operations the aircraft is conducting.
Moreover, flight times can be compared with other pilots’ log books or aircraft records, and this could work out discrepancies.
Pilots need to be aware of regulations concerning logbooks. A pilot’s logbook is an important piece of evidence if he gets into trouble with the FAA too, and a pilot must provide a copy of the logbook to the FAA upon request.
The FAA may also inspect the logbook if presented by an authorized representative of the NTSB or by a police officer.
In the sign of trouble, an inspector may take pictures of the logbook pages. In this case, the pilot might have refused to provide his logbooks because he believed the FAA had no reasonable basis to demand them.
Logbooks are important documents. They are part of the pilot’s record and they help prove that the pilot was qualified when he took off.
They are also used to determine whether the pilot was properly certified and trained before operating an aircraft and therefore, yes airlines do look at them.
How Do I Get Started With My Pilot Logbook?
If you want to get started with your pilot logbook, there are several steps you need to follow.
First, you need to decide where you’re going to store your logbook. It’s best to choose a place that’s secure and away from any heat sources like radiators or vents.
For example, you could put it inside a filing cabinet in a room that’s cool and dark. This would prevent the logbook from getting damaged during extreme temperatures.
Next, you’ll need to buy some blank paper or a logbook online. You can find these at pilot office supply stores. Make sure to buy enough paper so that you won’t run out while you’re writing down all your entries.
The next step is to start writing down everything you’ve done since you last updated your logbook.
Remember to include details about how long you were flying, how many hours you flew, and how high you went. If you fly for a company, you should write down the names of the flights you made and the dates you flew them.
The final step is to fill out the FAA Form 80-8500 (or 80-8501) which will require you to list all the training courses you’ve taken and the type of license you hold.
You’ll also need to list the type of aircraft you operate and the number of hours you’ve flown in that type of aircraft.
Once you complete all the required forms, you’ll need to file them with the FAA. This process usually takes around three months. After that, you’ll receive a letter stating that your logbook has been approved.
What Is An Aircraft Flight Record?
Aircraft flight records contain information about every flight an airline operates.
These records are kept by the airline itself and not by the FAA (see also “How Do I Find My FAA Records?“). However, the FAA does keep copies of these records and uses them to check up on airlines.
An aircraft flight record contains information such as:
- Flight numbers
- Date of departure
- Number of passengers
- Duration of the flight
- Route flown
- Type of aircraft operated
- How many hours the pilot was flying
- What kind of weather conditions prevailed during the flight
- Any other pertinent information
Why Should I Keep Records Of My Flights?
Keeping records of your flights is a good idea if you plan on applying for jobs as a commercial pilot. When you apply for a job, the employer will ask you to submit proof that you have the necessary qualifications.
One way to show this is by submitting your pilot logbook. The employer may also ask you to provide proof that you’ve completed specific types of training.
Another reason to keep track of your flights is to make sure that you don’t exceed the amount of time you’re allowed to work.
Many employers limit their employees’ total working hours per week. They do this because they want to ensure that their employees aren’t overworked.
We hope after reading this article you have learned a little more about logbooks and how they can help a pilot keep track of his/her flights. We also hope you now know what an aircraft flight record is and why it’s important.
Airlines do check logbooks, and this is why it is so important you write them and total them accurately, so your data can help you prove your experience as a pilot whilst also helping you get hired over someone who has taken less time to keep their logbook up to date.
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