Should an aircraft logbook stay inside of the airplane, or on the ground with maintenance?


As an aircraft owner in the US I never kept a logbook in the aircraft. I do this for two reasons:

  1. Someone from the FAA can come up and ask to the see the logbook when I am on my way someplace. They can then tie me up for hours while they peruse the logs. And if they find something they do not like ground the aircraft until we get the issue resolve. That would strand me at some airport. If the logbook is at home I can tell them to have their local office make an appointment.

  2. If the log books are in the aircraft they can be stolen when the aircraft is parked. Since the log books are a history of troubles repaired on the plane, service performed, etc, they are the authoritative history of the plane's health. As such the log books represent a significant portion of the value of an aircraft (say 10-15%).

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    $\begingroup$ I'd daresay that the reason that the aviation agency of the country can request the aircraft logbook is the reason why some countries require it to be carried around. No FAA regulation regarding the logbook? $\endgroup$ Jul 22 '14 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ @SentryRaven Under US regulations you are required to produce the aircraft logbooks if the FAA (or other authorized agency) requests them, but you are not required to carry them in the aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jul 22 '14 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ Out of curiosity, do you carry around a copy of the last page or anything to prove the plane is airworthy, e.g. not exceeding TBO? $\endgroup$ Jul 22 '14 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Sentry Raven - I never carried anything, but I have heard about other owners carrying photocopies of certain pages. Usually things like completion of an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) that allowed the aircraft to burn car gas instead of aviation 100LL. $\endgroup$
    – JerryKur
    Jul 24 '14 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ A friend carries an electronic copy of his maintenance log book so that should he need maintenance far from home, the A&P at the remote location can view what has been done in the past. Just like the pilot's log book, there is no requirement to carry it. Should you need to show either log to the FAA, producing it in a reasonable amount of time (i.e., go home and bring it to the FSDO next week) is entirely acceptable. $\endgroup$ Jul 25 '14 at 18:32

This is depending on which country the airplane is registered in, as the requirement to carry the logbook can be implemented per country, e.g. Germany requires the logbook to be carried onboard the airplane.[LuftBO §30 Abs. 5]

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    $\begingroup$ In that case, how do they audit the logbook after a crash? $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Jul 21 '14 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ There must be a copy, or something in the ground. But what about the US, they require the logbook onboard? $\endgroup$ Jul 21 '14 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ @abelenky If the original logbook is destroyed, information can also be taken from maintenance logs, older logbooks (need to be kept for 2 years) and other suitable documentation, where hours and cycles can be deducted from. $\endgroup$ Jul 21 '14 at 14:49

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