Flight logbooks are a vital part of the flight training process and can be used to prove that you have met all your requirements for your Private Pilot License (PPL).
If you lose or damage your logbook, you may not be able to fly legally until it is replaced.
This article will help you understand what happens when you lose or damage your PPL logbook, how long it takes to replace a lost/damaged logbook, and what options you have available if you need to replace your logbook quickly.
What Happens When You Lose Your PPL Logbook?
If you lose your PPL logbook before completing your required hours of flight time, you must recover it so that you can still use your flight hours to contribute to your license or training.
To do this, you will need to copy all of the information that was in your lost flight logbook into a new one.
But how are you supposed to do this when the original logbook has been lost?
Luckily, there are other paper records of your flights, so your logbook should not be the only place where this information is. This means that you will be able to use these other paper records to reconstruct your logbook.
Reconstructing A Flight Logbook
There are a number of ways that you can start to reconstruct your logbook, which we will look at now.
The amount of time it takes you to reconstruct the entire document will depend on how many hours you have accumulated flying.
For example, a logbook with 40 hours in it will certainly be annoying to reconstruct, but it will be a much quicker and easier task than doing the same for a logbook with 4,000 accumulated flying hours in it.
Let’s look at how you can go about finding the information to reconstruct your logbook.
Ask Your Flight Instructors
If you have flown with any instructors who were also certified as an FAA examiner, they might be able to give you some pointers about how to find the information needed to rebuild your logbook.
They will know exactly where to look in order to find the information that you need.
Even if your flight instructor isn’t an examiner, they should have their own records of your flights. They will have recorded them as they can accumulate hours being your co-pilot.
So, you can ask them for the pages of their logbook from the flights in which you took them together.
If you have only a few instructors, this will be the easiest method of reconstructing your logbook as you will be able to use the majority of their pages instead of one page from lots of different instructors.
Turn To Your Flight School
Your flight school should keep a record of every flight that you take, including the date, time, location, weather conditions, aircraft type, pilot names, and comments.
These records would include the pages of the logbook that correspond to each flight.
You can use the aircraft hobbs records to find the information you need to reconstruct your flight logbook. The only issue with this method is that it will take you quite a long time to look up every single flight you have lost.
Using the hobbs method would be better for if you have lost only a few flights from your logbook rather than the entire thing.
Check Your FAA Form 8710
The FAA Form 8710 is one that you fill in before you take your checkride, and it is essentially a flightman application form. On this form you will need to enter details of your flight experience and hours.
By locating this form you will be able to use the data that you put on it to replicate your old logbook.
In fact, losing your logbook is more common than you think, and therefore this is a common reason why the 8710 form is so important.
Look Through The Company Records
If you are a professional flying with a company, you will be able to use their records to reconstruct your logbook. These records should include all of the data that you might need for your logbook.
Thank Your Past Self And Use Your Back-Ups
When you lose your logbook, you might get worried about the momentous task of reconstructing it – that is, before you remember that your past self was incredibly smart and made copies of your logbook in case of this very reason.
If you have a backup logbook or an electronic copy of all of the pages, give yourself a pat on the back and breathe a sigh of relief. You can use the backups to quickly rewrite all of the data into a new logbook.
Creating Back-Ups Of Your New Logbook
Of course, if you’ve made your way to this article, then you probably don’t have any back-ups of your old logbook and therefore you will need to find another way to get the information that you need.
Once you have created your new logbook, though, we cannot recommend enough that you make a back-up copy so that you don’t have to go to all of this trouble again.
There are a few ways that you can create a logbook back-up, so choose the best option for you and don’t slack on the back-ups! Your future self will curse you when they lose their logbook again.
1. Take Pictures And Keep Them On A Hard Drive
This is by far the simplest way to create a back-up logbook. All you need to do is take pictures of your logbook’s pages and store them in a safe place, such as a hard drive, until you need them again.
Make sure that the pictures are clear and that you can read your writing.
2. Make A Note Of All Of Your Flights
Carry a notebook around with you and create a list of all your flights that you take. Include information such as the flight name, ID number, date, and time.
Using this information will help you use other records to find the correct flights and therefore information, should you lose your logbook again.
3. Write Two Logbooks Simultaneously
This is our favorite method as it just makes sense. Carry around two logbooks and create a record of each flight in both of them.
Alternatively, leave one logbook and home and fill it in with missing information from your primary handbook after you’ve finished a few flights.
Filling in two logbooks will allow you to always have a spare one should the primary logbook go missing.
This way, you won’t even need to fill in the information all over again when you lose it, because it will already have been written!
4. Use An Electronic Logbook
There are some electronic logbook softwares out there that allow you to keep a record of your flights electronically so that they cannot get lost while on your person.
If you were to lose your logbook, you could simply print out the electronic logbook pages and put them into a new physical copy.
Once printed, the electronic logbook would still be online and therefore usable time and time again. This means that you can lose your logbook multiple times without having to rewrite any of the data.
We hope that you have found a suitable way to reconstruct your logbook thanks to this article. The important thing to remember is not to panic, and that you will get it rewritten – it’s just going to take some work.
If you’re lucky enough to have a backup logbook, great! If not, then you’ll need to look at creating a back-up using one of these methods. Either way, you’ll want to write down all of your flights in case you ever lose your logbook.