We all have them but what do we use logbooks for? The obvious answer is to record our compliance with the rules and regulations. For example, have we done enough instrument approaches in the last six months or do we have enough solo hours to take our commercial check ride?
After ten years and nearly 800 hours of flying, I’m coming to the end of my first log book.
When you think about it, saying that your logbook is just paperwork is like saying that your wedding ring is just a fashion accessory.
As I look back over the record of ten years’ flying, it makes me think that logbooks are more important than that. They do a lot more than record compliance:
- Names and faces. It helps me remember Tim Harvey my first instructor.
- Milestones. My first qualifying cross country, my first solo and “Satisfactory PL(S) requirements satisfied” which is the bureaucrats way of saying ‘you’re a pilot now’.
- Moments. The flight in NASA’s Space Shuttle simulator when I was a tech journalist (the remarks say: “One abort RTLS. Two approaches KSC RWY 15.”), that test flight in a PC-12 over the Alps or the flight to Old Warden with two WWII veterans.
- Friends and family. I took Ellie to the Isle of White, Claire to Stratford, Tim to Exeter.
- Weather. “TCUs after lunch”, “Sun in Haze”, 132 hours in real or simulated IMC.
- Exploration. All those trips to Holland to practice my Dutch. Flights to Germany, France, Belgium, Scotland and Ireland. Going out of my comfort zone.
- Learning. It really is a licence to learn. My log book records all the crazy new things my instructors tried to get me to do: “NDB tracking”, “holds”, “Chandelles”, “8s on pylons” and all those new systems to learn on the Garmin Perspective, Avidyne R9 etc.
- Lots of lunches. I think I can account for the extra pounds I gained in the last ten years by looking at all the restaurants I have visited.
If my log book is my best index to all those memories and significant moments, why is the ‘remarks’ section so small. In 150 years’ time when I am (just) too old to fly, my log book will be all I have to remind me of all those hours in the air and my overriding thought will be ‘did I have tiny handwriting?’