Of flying with dad and digital pilot logbooks

Lately, I’ve been getting the urge to flush hard-earned money down the toilet. In other words, get checked out at a local airport and burn holes in the sky. You know, in search of the $160 (current C172 / hr rental) hamburger. I’ve also been spending a bit of time on barnstormers and tradeaplane, which is stupid right? What do they say, if it floats, flies, or “smiles”, it’s far cheaper to rent? Or, “if you think boat ownership is expensive, let me introduce you to airplanes.”

To that end, I spent a 1/2 day searching for and then unpacking a box that I’ve not thought about since we moved 4 years ago. On the top written in Sharpie states, DAN’S OFFICE - FLYING GEAR. Inside I found assorted ASA and Jeppesen publications, one of my dad’s mechanical USAF E6Bs, 2 x digital calculator style E6Bs, two flight bags, an Icom IC-A6 handheld, 2 x David Clark H10-40 headsets, a 9 volt powered intercom, a plastic plotter, a couple of VFR sectionals from 2009, assorted flashlights, earplugs, wine bottle opener, fuel sump tester, 3 x kneeboards, a Private Pilot certificate, a 3rd Class Medical, AOPA membership card, and most importantly, a black book entitled PILOT LOGBOOK, modestly containing 34 pages of flight entries, BFRs, a high performance sign-off, a tailwheel endorsement, and the like.

It’s undoubtedly pitiful compared to that of the other members of this forum, but reviewing some of the entries brought back a number of memorable flights, especially one on 14 Feb 1987, when I took my dad flying in a C152. We rented it at the now closed Stone Mountain Memorial and flew over to Winder to have - wait for it - hamburgers and check out some OV-10s parked on the ramp. I guess that we were over gross in the front row, but somehow survived to tell the tale. I offered him what I’m sure was his last known landing, recorded nowhere but the logbook of my heart. The last time he had flown was 15 years earlier piloting an F-4E Phantom. He asked me one question, “What does she like over the fence?”, to which I replied 60 kts. Of course the wheels kissed the pavement imperceptibly when we returned to earth. Glancing his way I detected a smirk on one corner of his mouth, dad’s equivalent of dropping the microphone. Nothing was said between us, but his satisfaction filled that tiny cockpit. No matter the conveyance, clearly he was still master of his air domain. I was paying for the plane and the burgers, but this ■■■■■ was still his. I loved it.

As priceless as that moment was, what would have probably hurt more financially is if I had lost the logbook during our move. So I set about scanning it yesterday, something I had procrastinated doing for what, 3 decades? That went well, but it got me thinking about migrating to digital. I mean certainly pilots don’t carry little books around with them in the connected age? While there are some good online articles on the subject, I wondered what the Mudspike brain trust is using.


Wonderful memory!
I can’t help you with digi-logs. The company logs everything and that’s the only flying I do, these days.


I do carry around mine. Solid honest paper.

Nice write up @chipwich, I am recording each flight in a way that I recall with whom and where I flew. After reading your story I make sure I keep it this way :+1:

That’s when I started my PPL course.

Here in Luxembourg it means Petit Pilot Luxembougeois :laughing:


Agree, I wish that logbooks had more room for notes. A lot of it is compressed and illegible. Maybe a casual logbook, vs. professional :smiley:


Same here, if I do any recreational flying I don’t normally log it (although I suppose technically should for SE/Tailwheel currency under Part 91 :roll_eyes:). Unfortunately I haven’t filled out my personal logbook since 2018-ish. If I ever apply somewhere else I might have to bring it up to speed, which would probably take a week! :open_mouth:


Great recollection…and a great example of why I missed this place. What special memories.

In the next few years I’ll have to figure out what the boys want to do with regards to flying. It has gotten ridiculously expensive. I have some connections, but even those would require a significant investment of money. Moreover…even though I’ve held on to my CFII, I don’t even know HOW to teach flying anymore. Things have changed…ACS standards instead of PTS…changes to what is required. Even though I take a CFI refresher every two years, I sorta phone that in via the internet course and not much of it has registered.

Anyway - I’m still pretty old school. I fill out a paper logbook…though I do let it get six months to a year behind before I grab all my flight paperwork from trips and move them over into the logbook. I have one of those student pilot logbooks full…and one of the Professional size ones full…and maybe halfway through a second one of those. Many memories in some short and terse entries in the comments sections…just a few words as the footnotes to something spectacular or frightening or memorable in some fashion or another. I’m not sure on the hours at this point. Maybe 8 or 9,000… Not that much compared to 800-1000 hour a year pilots. I’m happy to log my measly 300 or so per year…that feels like work enough.

A lot of my friends have gone to digital logbooks. I like the pen and paper…physical copy for some reason. Something about it. My son will probably have to agonize over throwing it away some day in his future. But maybe he will flip through it see his old man did some stuff. Maybe we can do it together. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Thanks for sharing your story @chipwich - that is another great one.


Random page from my logbook maybe from last year…these are the types of comments I scrawl in the comments/endorsements section…


I started with a paper log book but migrated to an Excel spreadsheet during my flight instructing days. It worked ok-ish but I still needed to sit down at the computer and compile my notes into the spreadsheet once a day/week (or let’s be honest, once a month when I actually felt like doing it)

I have colleagues who swear by Logten Pro. I never got past the subscription model just for the logbook, or the fact that it was only available for iOS devices. Maybe still is(?) Those I know who have used it mostly have good things to say about it’s ease of use and entry.

Personally where I landed was the logbook function on Foreflight. We get a subscription for it anyway through my job, and I used it extensively when I was a full-time instructor. I’m not sure what the base level subscription costs anymore and I haven’t paid for it out of pocket in several years. However the last time I looked at it and I leveraged buying charts and supplements for a years worth of flying, it was about even.

The selling points for me on Foreflight’s logbook function was I didn’t need another subscription like with LogTen Pro, and it was able to import and export csv files. So besides for a few minor tweaks, I was able to avoid the tedious line by line entry if I wanted to import my previous flights. And because it exports, if I ever decide to leave, I can just download everything in it to a csv. For bonus points it will also compile experience reports for total time and per aircraft/person/type and will keep track of pilot currencies and medical expiration.

There are also “free” apps galore on the app/play stores but I have not had much luck finding anything that did what I wanted.

TLDR: Foreflights logbook especially if you already use it for charts, gets my vote for a good digital logbook.


I have to admit that I haven’t kept my paper logbook up. I do download the flight logs from my company every 12 months or so. I really should make the effort to get my paper logbook caught up…there is something about having it all written on paper in your own handwriting. It’s very personal and something you could hand down to your kids one day… but I don’t have any.


“Baby coded”


I flying flippin’ tourists who’s biggest crisis is loosing an AirPod in the seat


That one hit me way too close to home as well.

Had to go hug my daughter a bit tighter before we tucked her into bed.


I have one full logbook and a bit into a second. Haven’t flown for nearly a full year due to work commitments. I do intend to get back to it but its just very hard to find the mental capacity to get back in the cockpit after so long and so many hours at work.
If the kids were more interested I’d be a lot more motivated but going on my own just feels a bit lonely up there and time is precious when I work so much.

I vividly remember my last flight, great weather, 4 B52’s underneath me at Fairford and all I could think about was that I needed to order parts for a job on monday and that my van needed the brakes doing. Its no fun when the magic goes.

I only do it to share with the kids and they don’t seem interested at the moment


That one hit me hard too. @BeachAV8R I couldn’t do what you guys do every day. God bless you for doing it.

We do organs and recipients, and I fly a handful of those a month on short notice. The stress (and internal pressure, frankly) to ‘make it work’ is immense, and emotionally agonizing on the (thankfully) rare occasions where it just can’t, or things go bad. I never mind telling a passenger/client ’no’, and have an excellent DO that knows the book, lives by it, and backs us 100%, so there’s never any external pressure for cowboy stuff.

But telling a recipient or med team we can’t go because X or Y is rough. I’m not made of the stuff to do that day in & day out.

That will change when they get old enough to figure out how cool their pops is.

When the time comes to dive back into it, you might be surprised. Flying is still flying, they just have to keep making it easier. Kids these days…


If it helps any, all I have is a single entry from my Cessna Experience hop. One of these days I’d like to start adding on to that, but life keeps getting in the way.


And B.O.A.T’s = Break Out Another Thousand ($)


Owning a boat is like standing in a cold shower tearing up large denomination banknotes


I take it none of y’all have ever owned a horse?


Worse. I dated a horse chick for 3 years! :woozy_face:


I made a joke on a humvee forum a few days ago.

If a boat is a hole in water that you throw money into, A HMMWV is a hole in my driveway you throw money AT.


where to start :slight_smile:

burning holes in the sky for $160/h is very efficient way of doing it.
I similarly, few weeks back, got checked out in C172 [unable to fit into local C152, the hand rests on the doors were just big and wrongly positioned on this particular bird] after long pause. its €240/h over here.

wish there are more light [understand cheap for rent] planes on the local airports.
the colsest airport with such planes is some 70km away. what in fact isnt that far actualy would say :slight_smile:

so my way of doing the after flight records is still good old paper books [for both wings and rotary].

though for some quick and tempo logs I am using google sheets on my phone. its convenient.

but agree, for some memorable flights, such as yours, there is not enough space usualy. and the cryptic notes, at the end of each line, are not suficient sometimes to decode the message.
but there is some space at the end of standard logbooks for flights like check outs and the like. this space can be used also for some private extended notes if needed imo.