I've started flying again, and some of the things/places I fly are more interested in time in type than my old paper log shows. I'm considering going to some form of electronic logging (currently for Android and/or Linux but likely moving to iPad next year for EFB compatibility).

Question: When I start up with a new program, do I merely summarize my flight experience and ignore the tail number and a/c type? I've flown a few different birds in my time, and trying to go back through 3 logs and setting everything correctly would be a royal pain.

  • $\begingroup$ This question is somewhat related. $\endgroup$
    – Farhan
    Dec 23, 2014 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Only somewhat, and I'd read it before posing the question. I already span several logbooks, and once upon a time, I had a rather legally questionable (at the time) complete log as a dBase-4 database and app. If only I could find that old floppy... and something that'd read it... If I had infinite time, I'd take the time to create a PostgreSQL database consistent with my needs, and do it that way. Making the schema is trivial; writing the app and associated SQL queries will drag on my available time! $\endgroup$
    – GerryC
    Dec 23, 2014 at 19:37

2 Answers 2


Logbooks are an interesting blend of personal and professional recordkeeping. The FAA doesn't really make a big deal about what method you use to log your flight time, just as long as you log all flight time which you're going to later use to justify currency or a new certificate.

This means that you can do whatever works best for you, as long as you (and your future employers) are happy with it.

When I transitioned to Safelog, I decided to spend a few weeks worth of evenings and just enter everything, line by line. I did this because I had a lot of spare time, and because from now on I've got a pristine digital copy of everything, which is a nice feeling.

However, this is certainly not necessary, and there is no reason why you couldn't summarize your totals with one or a few line items. In fact, Safelog provides a function to do exactly that: you create a pseudo-aircraft type which is defined as "summarizes several aircraft".

You can get as coarse (1,302 hours in airplanes) or as fine (389 hours in blue C-172M's with the funny starter that sounds like you just dropped a shot glass in a garbage disposal) as you want.

I would say that whatever you choose to do, just be sure that you enter it using a format which will be compatible when you switch from Android to iPad. It's bad enough to do it once, why put yourself through the hassle of doing it twice?

  • $\begingroup$ The FAA doesn't really care if you log all your flight time, so long as you can show currency and compliance with applicable regulations (like aeronautical experience requirements for various ratings). When you elect to log a flight though there are certain requirements your entry must meed :-) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Dec 23, 2014 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, Steve. That's what I was hoping someone would propose. $\endgroup$
    – GerryC
    Dec 23, 2014 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ Summary entries (or "starting totals") seem to be common to all logbook software and web sites; I have nothing against Safelog, but this answer could be read as implying it is unique in having this, whereas it is definitely the norm. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Mar 19, 2019 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ Also, most logbook software/web sites also allow exporting/importing via spreadsheets, which can make bulk data entry a lot easier. You can use this to move your data from one place to another if you change your mind later, so if you do the bulk entry, at least you can be confident it's a one-time cost. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Mar 19, 2019 at 22:00

It's up to you. I started an electronic logbook just by using an excel spreadsheet which I made myself. I too entered line by line, as it's incredibly satisfying having a complete digital backup of your logbook. After a few months, I ended up buying a professional Excel spreadsheet template which worked the same as my basic one but with a whole lot more currency features etc. I got it from Excel Pilot Logbook

  • $\begingroup$ Does foreflight do logbooks as well? $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Mar 19, 2019 at 21:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This doesn't provide an answer to the question looking for best practices. "Do whatever you like, I did & it worked out okay for me" isn't exactly a best practice, as the term is generally understood. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Mar 20, 2019 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads, yes, ForeFlight does logs. And pretty well. I'm still trying to consider whether I'll enter everything (except my original logbook with my solo flights: lost that one!) or summarize. I have enough entries that I'd have to dedicate a fair bit of my life to accomplish it, if I don't summarize. $\endgroup$
    – GerryC
    Mar 20, 2019 at 22:08

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