Pilot Logbooks – What Are They & Why You Need One?

Are you interested in becoming a pilot? If so, you may need to know about logbooks. These items are crucial for pilots. Find out what these logbooks are and what their purpose is.

What Are Pilot Logbooks?

Pilots are required to complete a flight logbook every time they fly.

This document contains details such as the date, time, weather conditions, fuel consumption, and other important information pertaining to the flight.

These books can also be used to record the time used in a flight simulator. This is because flight simulation is an important method used to train pilots.

It allows them to practice flying without endangering real people or property. Yet, potential pilots will get the impression of a real flight.

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) does not require pilots to keep a record of their flights. However, each pilot can have a unique logbook if they choose.

These logbooks do not need to be official according to the guidelines of the FAA.

To protect these records, logbooks often feature hardback covers. The cover protects the book from damage while it’s being transported.

Some pilots use soft-cover books instead. However, this type of book is more likely to tear apart.

Why Do You Need A Pilot Logbook?

Every pilot needs a logbook. There are several reasons why these books are so crucial, including:

  • To prove that you have flown on certain dates: if you need to prove that you were on a certain flight at a specific time, you can use this logbook as evidence.
  • To help maintain records: it is always a good idea to keep your own records. This is because official records can occasionally be inconsistent.
  • To demonstrate that you have met the requirements for a certificate: to obtain certain pilot certificates, you will need to meet requirements. For instance, you may have to fly for a specific number of hours. A logbook can prove that this requirement was fulfilled.
  • External auditing: some companies require their employees to keep logs. This helps ensure that all work is completed accurately. An external audit is performed by an outside figure who needs to verify that everything is done correctly.

How To Use Your Pilot Logbook

Logbooks come with different features depending on the company that produced them. Some logbooks include space for recording notes and comments. Others provide easy access to data.

If you want to make sure that your logbook is up-to-date, you should check it regularly. You should update the book whenever necessary, namely after you have performed a flight.

How Can I Get My Pilot Logbook?

If you want to start keeping a logbook, there are many options available to you. First, you can purchase one online.

Many websites sell logbooks. If you prefer to buy locally, you can visit a local bookstore. These stores usually stock a variety of items, including logbooks. However, smaller bookstores may not supply them.

You can also ask your instructor about getting a logbook. They might offer to give you one. At the very least, the instructor will be able to make recommendations regarding where you can find these books.

Are Logbooks Necessary?

The necessity of these items varies from place to place. While the majority of countries have made logbooks a legal requirement, others have not. Here are some of the laws surrounding logbooks from different countries:

The United States

In the US, logbooks are optional. In fact, they are not required at all. It is possible to get away without having one. However, it is recommended that you use a logbook regardless.

You will also need to record your flight times if you are hoping to achieve a certificate or review. Keeping a record of the flights from the start of your career means that you can win future certificates.

In the case of a certificate, you should only record the flights that will allow you to reach this target, meaning that you don’t need to record every flight.

The United Kingdom

In the UK, logbooks are necessary. You must keep your logbook for 2 years after your last flight, even if you have retired.

If you plan on being a pilot in the UK, you must use your logbook to record essential details, such as the type of aircraft and the flight times.


In the rest of Europe, you can use a suggested format that has been created by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Among the information required, you should include:

  • The locations of the flight
  • The dates and times in which the flight departed and landed
  • The class of aircraft
  • The names of the individual pilots, primarily the pilot in command
  • The type of engine used e.g. was it a multi or single-engine airplane

If you use a flight simulator, this should also be documented. Namely, you must record the simulator time.

Can I Use A Digital Logbook?

This will depend on the place. In the United States, pilots who choose to keep one of these records can opt for an electronic logbook.

Many people find these digital logbooks to be more convenient and easier to use than paper logbooks.

However, in other countries, physical logbooks are preferred. This is because they cannot be tampered with as easily.

It can be straightforward to change an electronic logbook. Meanwhile, paper versions can be altered, but you can usually tell if this is the case.

As a result, some countries will not accept digital logbooks if they are being used as evidence to obtain an award or certificate.

If you are unsure about whether you should be keeping a paper log or an electronic one, you should consult your flight instructor. They will be able to give advice that is applicable to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Logbooks Will I Need?

This number will vary depending on how long you have been piloting. The longer your career, the more logbooks you likely have. This is because you will fill lots of books, meaning that you need to acquire more.

This will not be too important though. Whether you have just one logbook or 8 of them, it will not be too crucial as long as you record the information.

Should A Logbook Accompany You On A Flight?

For the most part, it is not advised that you bring the logbook with you on a flight. This is because it could be damaged or lost during the flight.

This will mean that you lose access to all the important information that the logbook contains. Instead, you should keep the logbook in a safe space.

On the other hand, if you are participating in training by yourself, the logbook might be required.

Will I Get In Trouble For Losing A Logbook?

This will depend. You may face consequences for losing the logbook, though the most likely punishment is a stern lecture from your superior. The reason why you may get in trouble is that you have lost access to paramount data.

To avoid losing this logbook, ensure that you leave it in a location that you will remember.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, the above information will help aspiring pilots to better understand the purpose of the pilot logbook.

From our experience, there is often not enough information about logbooks out there for student pilots to receive.

As a result, future pilots may be confused as to what these products are and why they are necessary. With any luck, this guide will change that by clarifying the need for these documents.

Jacob Stern
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