Reasons Why You Should Have a Logbook
Marketing. Showing a completed logbook to a potential customer is a great marketing point. Like the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” a good logbook is worth a thousand flights. You can quickly demonstrate your flight experience by flipping through the pages. Furthermore, a well-kept and orderly logbook gives the impression that you are a professional.
Insurance. When you apply for insurance, they will ask you to fill out a form that is going to ask for all sorts of information. A logbook will assist you in filling out the form so you can receive the most accurate quote.
Benefits of Paper Logbooks
The FAA or Law Enforcement Can Request Your Logbook. If you are a commercial operator flying under Part 91 & Part 61 (like with a Section 44807 exemption), 14 C.F.R. § 61.51(i) says, “Persons must present their pilot certificate, medical certificate, logbook, or any other record required by this part for inspection upon a reasonable request by” the FAA, an authorized representative from the National Transportation Safety Board, or any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer. If your electronic logbook is on your device, do you really want to give law enforcement or the FAA your device? Furthermore, how are you to get the data off that device?
Required in Other Countries. Other countries such as South Africa require the drone logbook to be in paper. Paper is the current industry standard.
Less Cumbersome. If you are marketing to a potential client, you can scan pages of your logbook and send it to them. It is more cumbersome to get the data off a phone or website.
Very Little Problems. What happens if your phone is stolen, water damaged, battery dies, or there is poor cell phone signal? Paper does not need a cell signal or batteries.
No Data Theft. You don’t have to worry about data theft like you would with a website or an app.
Fidelity. Electronic logbooks can be changed while pen and paper are permanent.
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What the Inside of My Logbook Looks Like
How to Fill Out My Drone Logbook.
Starting at the top, there are two rows with asterisks which are references for the Type of Flight and Notes sections. There is also a handy time conversion.
DATE: The date of the flight.
AIRCRAFT/MAKE & MODEL: Put the make and model of the aircraft.
IDENT/Exemption #: In this column, you can put the registration of the aircraft. You can also put in an exemption number if you want.
LOCATION. Blanket COA reporting must list the city/town, state, and coordinates in decimal, minute, second format, (DD, MM, SS.S) N (DD, MM, SS.S) W, in the COA reports. Tip: Open up the iPhone compass app and it will display the GPS coordinates in the proper format at the bottom of the compass. 107 remote pilots or 101 recreational flyers are not required to log this but may adopt to.
BLANK COLUMN. You can track invoice number, the pre & post voltage of batteries, takeoff or landing damage, equipment malfunctions, or lost link events.
TYPE OF FLIGHT. 61.51(b) lists terms like solo/pilot in command/flight, ground training, training received, or simulator training received. Notice the * reminds you to look at the top of the page for suggestions. 333 exemptions allow logging of (training/ proficiency/ experience). Optional entries could be ($/testing/recreation).
NOTES. Here are some suggestions: memory cards [1,2,3], batteries [A,B,C], the name of the visual observer (“VO”), NOTAM filed, the ID of the COA you are flying under, did you file the plan of activities?, Invoice #, pre/post voltage on the batteries, and SQWK (which means you documented in the SQWK section the problems and fixes).
D/N. day or night? # of TO/L. Number of take-offs and landings (hopefully they are the same number :) COA reports want “Number of flights (per location, per aircraft)”
Total Flight. Use a new battery for each line and enter the time after each flight. A convenient list of numbers is located on each page to help determine the most accurate entry. .1=6s .2=12s .3=18s .4=24s .5=30s .6=36s .7=42s .8=48s .9=54s For each battery, make sure you log cycles at the bottom with tick marks. This way you can keep track of when to fully discharge the drone battery based upon the manufacturer’s recommendations.
SQWK. Squawk section where you list any issues you discovered during flight. Instead of putting all of this in the notes section, just write “sqwk” and you’ll know to look at the bottom. In that section, You look for the number corresponding to the line number because all of the squawks go into the bottom box.
You can keep track of firmware updates by listing them below the battery section.
When you are finished with a page, add all the numbers up, sign the page, and cut off the corner of the page. This makes it easy to find the most current tab using your thumb.