It may not come as much of a surprise to learn that pilots should carry their valid license and logbook to fly aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict requirements that every pilot has a current medical certificate and logbook while there are also requirements on how a logbook is completed.
While some states require pilots to carry their licenses and logs, some don’t.
If you live in a state where pilots are not required to carry their licenses or logs, you should check with your local aviation authority to see if they require them.
In this guide, we will look at why licenses and logbooks are important, what information should be included in a logbook, the license requirements, and why you may not need to carry your logbook.
Why Licenses And Logbooks Are Important To Pilots?
A license and logbook are important because they allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to keep track of all the hours that you have flown.
The logbook, in particular, should be considered important and carried with a pilot as the logged flight time is required to meet the minimum requirements for a rating, flight review, certificate, or instrument proficiency check.
Keeping a record of your flight time is simply good practice as well as you do not want to try and recall a flight sometime after you have completed it.
For many pilots, learning to complete a logbook with all the required detail is an important habit to get into, early on in a flying career.
Once you start flight training, you may make mistakes with your logbook and it may be disorganized yet over time those errors can be ironed out.
This is a part of a pilot’s job that can be worked on every time you log a flight. The logbook effectively becomes a legal document so a paper version should be signed, legible, and totaled correctly.
The detailed information kept in a logbook helps regulators determine whether a pilot’s knowledge and experience are up-to-date.
If it is not kept up to date or there is information missing then this does not put a pilot in high esteem with the regulators and can lead to fines and even suspension of their certificate.
Logbook maintenance is covered by the FAA in CFR Title 14 which covers information that is to be covered from a flight. These details include the date, total time, the pilot in command, and the locations of takeoff/landing.
As a means of recording a pilot’s many early experiences, a logbook can also be a training record and helps represent a pilot’s skill set.
This is important for a pilot who is in training that is looking to be recruited as a lot of the hiring process is not just based on the certificates that an individual may hold but the knowledge that has been amassed.
In some cases, the logbook can display your ability and help you get hired.
The Information That Should Be Recorded In A Logbook
A pilot needs to show their flying proficiency and demonstrate that they have performed a certain amount of hours for a further certificate or rating.
Some details are considered quite basic yet others tell a lot about the specific flight.
These details include the flight conditions (day, night, or instrument), type of pilot and their experience, aircraft make, model, and identification, as well as the name of the safety pilot.
The logbook can also display a pilot’s currency to comply with a range of current regulations.
In that sense, the logbook can show that a pilot keeps on top of regulation changes and does their utmost to maintain relevant records.
While a pilot is required to log all their flight time, this is to meet the minimum requirements for a rating, certificate, flight review, or instrument proficiency check.
That does mean that a pilot should not need to record every one of their flights but they should do it as simply a means of maintaining accurate records.
License Requirements For Commercial Pilots
The FAA requires commercial pilots to hold a current medical certificate and a logbook. These requirements apply to both single-engine and multi-engine aircraft.
For a Medical Certificate or FAA Medical Clearance, a pilot can use the online FAA MedXPress system to electronically complete their application.
The information presented in the system is available to the Aviation Medical Examiner that is designed for an individual pilot at the time of a medical examination.
Do Pilots Have To Carry A Logbook?
There are certain instances where it is required that a pilot carry their logbook during a flight and these include as a sport or recreational pilot.
Student pilots on a solo cross-country flight which is part of their training must carry their logbook as well as a flight instructor with a Sport Pilot rating.
In these instances, the pilots are only allowed to fly with endorsements authorized by the instructor and when challenged by an inspector, the logbook must be in the aircraft and include those valid authorization signatures.
While a pilot may not be required to carry their logbook, the FAA may require them to be made available for their next review.
The items that a pilot must carry with them on every flight include their pilot and medical certificate, as well as a government photo ID.
If a pilot chooses to exercise their pilot privileges as a flight crew member then they must have their valid pilot certificate on them or have it readily accessible in the aircraft.
The only exception to this is if they have special authorization and can prove it.
Pilots should carry their licenses and logbooks with them yet do not have to though they should keep up records of their flying time.
Pilots should be aware of the regulations that relate to logbook records to remain eligible for further certificates and ratings.
Keeping track of landings and takeoffs is also important because it is a legal requirement to make three takeoffs and landings within the previous 90 days to legally carry passengers.
The logbook should also be completed and carried to make for easy reference and its filling in is a good habit to get into.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is The Formatting Of A Logbook Important?
While it should be important to maintain a logbook, the FAA does not require the logbook to be official or in an official format.
Several formats are available and pilots can even use digital methods such as using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or filling in the logbook information online.
Some pilots also keep a paper copy of their logbook as well as an online version too.
There is also Leidos Pilot Web Portal which allows pilots to file their flight plans online.
As with any vital information, it is important to back it up too so try to get into the habit of taking a photo of each completed page in your logbook.
When Can A Pilot Log The Night-Time?
This counts as sunset to sunrise when the lights are turned on. That period of time is also classified as between the end of evening civil twilight and the start of morning civil twilight.