How Do You Read A Pilot Log Book?

A pilot logbook is a record of every flight he or she has ever flown. This document contains important information such as the date, time, weather conditions, altitude, airspeed, fuel consumption, etc.

Pilots usually carry their logbooks with them at all times. They also take notes during flights and write down important details. The logbook is a valuable tool for pilots because they can refer back to it whenever they want.

How Do You Read A Pilot Log Book

However, when you are first learning how to be a pilot, you might be confused on how you actually read a pilot log book.

They are full of abbreviations that only a pilot would understand. Let’s take a look at how you read a pilot log book. 

What Is A Pilot’s Logbook?

A pilot’s logbook is a record that keeps track of everything a pilot does when flying an aircraft. It includes things like:

  • Flight plans
  • Airspace restrictions
  • Weather forecasts
  • Aircraft maintenance records
  • Pilots’ logs
  • Flight history
  • Airline regulations
  • And more!

As you can see, pilot log books include lots of information about the pilot and the flights that they have taken.

If you want to know how to read one of their log books, the easiest way to do it would be to ask them what they have written, as they are much more equipped with this knowledge than you are. 

Reading A Pilot’s Log Book

The most common way to read a pilot log book is by looking through the pages in chronological order.

For example, if you were reading the pilot log book of someone who had just completed his or her first solo flight, you would start from page 1 and go through each column until you reach the end. 

Then, you would move onto the next page and continue reading.

A typical log book will have multiple columns of data for the pilot to fill in. Bear in mind that every log book is different, so you might have more or less information on a page in front of you than we are about to look into. 

However, a standard log book will look something like this. 

DatePlaneID NumberDepartureArrival
8/7BushcatN339BLKJKA – 13.12LICC – 2.58
8/9BombardierG356HPEGLD – 14.12EGPH – 11.01

Of course, a real pilot log book is sure to have much more information than this example that we have created above. However, this is simply a way of showing you how you might expect to see a log book filled in. 

Let’s take a closer look into all of the information that a pilot might be required to log into their log book for a single flight. 

Logged Hours

One of the first things that you should look out for when reading a pilot log book is the hours logged. These are the number of hours that the pilot has been flying since they started.

Most people think that these numbers represent the total amount of hours that the pilot flew before taking their test. But, this isn’t true.

Instead, the hours logged in a pilot log book represents the total amount of hours the pilot has flown since they received their license.

On a single log book entry, the hours that they have logged will be how long the flight took. For example, a flight that took 1 hour 35 minutes will be logged as 1.35. 

Another way that pilots log their hours is by writing the time in decimals. If you look towards the bottom of each log book page, you should see a total hours flown box.

This is where the pilot will add up all of the hours flown to demonstrate their work done for the week. 

Writing their hours in decimals might be easier for them to add up the hours at the end of the week.

So, if you see numbers such as 1.58 or 2.13 in the logged hours column, they might be doing this to make the total hours easier to add up. 1.58 is another way of writing 1 hour 35.

Their logged hours will be the time taken between the first moment that the engine starts to when it is turned off at the end of the flight. 

Operating Capacity

Operating Capacity

The next column should include the operating capacity of the flight. This is often categorized as P1, P2, P/UT, PICUS, and more.

There are lots of different abbreviations that a pilot uses in their log book which makes them much harder to read to people who don’t speak in pilot lingo. 

So, here are a few of the most common categories that you could find in the operating capacity column of the pilot’s log book. 

P1 (Otherwise Known As Command Time) 

PIC is the most common acronym used in a log book, and it refers to Pilot In Command. This is the time that the pilot has flown solo and under supervision while being in charge.

Student pilots are keen to get as much PIC time as possible, so this column will most commonly be filled out.

PICUS means Pilot In Command Under Supervision. This will be written when a pilot is co-piloting a plane with another pilot who is in command.

Another reason to use this abbreviation is if the pilot was conducting a flight test with a CAA or EASA Authorized Examiner. 

P2 (Otherwise Known As Dual Time)

Pilots use the P2 abbreviation for when they are flying as a co-pilot to another who is recorded as PIC.

This is not always the most accurate abbreviation to use as there are certain rules around using the Co-Pilot acronym. However, this doesn’t stop a lot of pilots using it incorrectly. 

P/UT is another acronym that is used to describe Pilot Under Training flight time, and it is considered as dual-time. 

Operational Conditions

Other columns will refer to the conditions that the pilot went through during the flight. These can describe the night flight, how many instruments were used during the flight, and other flying that was used.

Other flying won’t contribute to your license application, but some pilots like to log them for their own records. 

Aircraft Type

This is usually written in its own column of the log book page. It describes what type of aircraft the pilot flew during the flight.

The log book will ask for the make and model of the plane, its identification number, and more information of the plane. 

Starting And Finishing The Flight

Logging your take-offs and landings are important so that you can show them with a license application.

Pilots will most likely need to show up to 90 days of take-offs and landings, so it’s important that the pilot write these into their log book. 

These will be written as times, as well as any additional information that the pilot thinks that was important during the take-off and landing. 


After all of the above information is logged, the pilot will then add a summary section at the end of the log book. This is where the pilot will note anything else that happened during the flight. 

Thanks for reading our article on how to read a pilot log book! Hopefully you can use this information to read the log book easily.

If you’re still having trouble, you can always ask the owner of the log book, as they will surely know what they wrote! 

Jacob Stern
Latest posts by Jacob Stern (see all)