I took flying lessons when I was a senior in H.S. in Illinois. I got through solo and all of my x-countries (even the long one). I was about a month away from finishing when we moved to Colorado and I started engineering school. I intended to continue flying but school became the priority. I lugged my log book and text books around for years (I can remember seeing my log book only 4 years ago). I am about to finish what I started and go back and start the process again. Now of course I cannot find my log book (I have turned my house upside down) :(

I want to state (because I know someone will make the point) that I am not looking for a short cut and I fully intend to make sure I get great training (its been 20 years) and plan on working my way through the requirements for a second time. I will defer to my instructor on what I need to learn and practice. I remember I had about 80 hours and I would like to get credit for them (if only to show the new school that I'm not starting from ground zero) as well as I plan on getting my instrument as soon as I can and the hours would help.

The flight school is no longer in business. I remember the first name of my instructor (and have the first solo picture). I thought I could contact him if I could find his last name and search some sort of data base? I have searched the business records of the state and found a business record that for the old flight school that lists the owner. I thought I would start there and see if I get lucky. If I can find the instructor's name I think there is a good chance he'll remember me and could provide documentation that would allow me to start a new log book with credit for my existing hours.

I found a local news paper article from the time period that mentions another flight instructor that worked there (AmCorp out of Lansing, Illinois in 1995) at the same time. Is there a way to look them up in some sort of pilot data base to contact them and see if they remember my instructor's last name?

I remember filing my flight plans (I assume there is no record of that with the FAA because it's so long ago)?

Hopefully you get the idea of my quesition and hope you guys can give me any ideas on resources that I don't know of that may help me out.


2 Answers 2


You will probably not be able to recover any solo flight time you have completed to this point, but contact your previous flight instructors in Illinois. They should have logged the training time they did with you on dual instruction, which will allow you to recover that flying time this way.

If you don’t have contact information on this instructor, you may be able to search them out, either on the FAA’s website or third party flight instructor directories like this one.


Good luck

  • $\begingroup$ We’ll i found myself in the airman database at least (just medical certs). Thanks for that resource (now I just have to find his last name). I’m part 91 school (I own a business so this is for that and recreation). I signed up for an online written testprep and will take it before I go back to the new school. I figure if I can get a letter verifying my past training I can count the hours? My thought is that if my skills end up not starting at zero I will be glad I have the hours to be able to move forward towards instrument rating sooner than if I have to build them up again? $\endgroup$
    – Nate
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ Well in order to apply for private pilot certificate, you will need at least 20 hours of dual instruction time. If you cannot locate that old logbook, you will have to make that time up with a new instructor. Then again having not flown for 20 years now, you may have to spend that much time training in order to be proficient for the practical test. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 3:37

This situation periodically comes up. You did not give a good indication of how much flight time you had, but here is my generalized take.

Start anew. Your prior experience will speed your training. At least in my neck of the woods, most people who are 40 yo old are taking 60 to 65 hours to get their private accomplished. Even if your previous flight time was 35 hours, you will likely require 30 to 40 hours to get preped for the private checkride.

If you end up finding yourself ready after 25 hours, which I doubt will happen, you can fly several longer cross country solo trips, or get some additional dual to enhance your attitude instrument flying and navigation skills.

The only students I have seen who are ready for their checkride before the FAA minimum hours are reached are young pilots, especially female ones. 40 years ago it was different, and there were students who were ready after 30 or even 25 hours if they came from a background with aviation (like family members who flew).

Therefore, it is rather unlikely that having those previous records will save you money on your training. I would focus on starting, and making good headway. If it appears that you are progressing very rapidly, then I would suggest that you get an appointment with an FAA FSDO Operations Inspector. With any records, and perhaps even with an affidavit (assuming you clearly recall) you may get them to consent to a reconstructed log.

Focus on the work ahead of you and do well. Remember that there is no restriction on when you can solo, so if you are advancing quickly, you will get some early indications, and can plan accordingly.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "students who were ready after 30 or even 25 years" - I assume you mean "hours" there, not years? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ Uh, yes. I will edit. Thanks. At least someone reads what I write. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – mongo
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 18:59

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