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8 Tips For Keeping Your Logbooks Clean, Professional, And Interview-Ready

Your first logbooks are usually the messiest and most disorganized. It makes sense; as you start flight training you're bound to make a few mistakes, and that's OK. But if your goal is to be a professional pilot, you should try to log flights as a professional from day one.

A logbook is essentially a legal document, so make sure it's legible, organized, signed, and totaled correctly. If you can, find a good electronic program to begin logging flight times alongside your paper copy early on. It will save countless hours down the road.

1) Find A Good Way To Back-Up Your Paper Logbooks

Don't forget to document your logbooks and back them up with pictures or scans. Personally, I take a picture of every new totaled page and keep them in a file that's on my laptop and synced to an online server. If you lose the only copy of a logbook, you'll likely lose dozens of hours of progress, and much of it will be hard to re-record accurately. Protect them by keeping them somewhere safe.

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2) Add Sticky-Note Tabs For Certificate Requirements

As you reach flight time milestones, add a tab for each date you met a new pilot certificate requirement. If your goal is to become an airline pilot, focus on adding tabs for each ATP requirement you've met.

It will impress both interviewers and examiners if you can show the exact date and flight you met your experience requirements.

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3) Keep Your Logbooks Somewhere Dry

Humidity and moisture will ruin your logbooks. Have you ever seen a waterlogged book with damp, wrinkled pages? Don't let this happen to your valuable logbooks. Keep them dry!

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4) Which Electronic Logbook Should You Use?

According to our regional airline partners, self-made spreadsheets contained the most errors, inaccurate information, and are generally formatted less professionally.

So which electronic logbook should you use? There are plenty of options out there. Here are two of the most popular options: LogTen Pro and ForeFlight Logbook.

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5) Number Of Logbooks Matters Less Than Accuracy

If you have 6 or 7 logbooks that's OK. Just make sure each logbook is totaled at the end, and the times are carried forward accurately to the next logbook.

In the airline world, pilots sometimes use small trip books to keep track of their flights and duty times before they have time to pull out the physical logbook for making entries.

Swayne Martin

6) Blue Or Black Ink Pens Should Always Be Used

Use pen, even for individual entries if possible. Avoid pencil if you can. The signature on each page MUST be in pen, with each and every page signed.

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7) Cross Through Mistakes With A Single Line

It's easy to make mistakes, especially as you're starting a flying career. When you do make an error, corrections are all about cleanliness. Cross through the mistake with a single line, and write in the margin "see next line for correction."

Other forms of correcting, like whiteout, can be acceptable, but that might depend on interviewer preference.

Swayne Martin

8) What If Your Logbook Is A Complete Disaster?

Don't worry if you think your logbook is messy and beyond salvage; you have a few options. When a pilot applicant comes in with re-written logbooks (alongside the originals), explaining that they want to present their most organized and professional entries, the interview panel is always impressed. That extra effort goes a long way in proving how much you care about your professional appearance to a potential hiring flight department.

Another option is to make sure your electronic logbooks are correct and updated, explaining to an interview panel that in order to present organized and clean entries, you spent extra effort making sure your electronic copies were accurate and ready to go.

While they usually won't make or break an interview, logbooks are one great representation of you as a pilot. If you want to present your most professional self to a potential employer, keep them well organized, clean, and accurate. Click here to learn what else you can do to prepare logbooks for an interview.

Logbooks are an easy problem to fix, and one of the best ways you can prove your professionalism.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and commercial pilot for Mokulele Airlines. In addition to multi-engine and instrument ratings, he holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525). He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018. He's the author of the articles, quizzes and lists you love to read every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures at http://www.swaynemartin.com.

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