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Paper vs. Electronic Logbooks for Helicopter Pilots

Which One Is Right for You?


Paper logbooks have been around for decades and are still the preferred choice of many helicopter pilots. They are simple to use, relatively inexpensive, and can be easily backed up by making a copy. However, paper logbooks can be easily lost or damaged, and they can be time-consuming to update and maintain.


Electronic logbooks (ELBs) offer a number of advantages over paper logbooks. They are more secure and easier to back up. They also make it easier to track flight trends and generate reports. However, ELBs can be more expensive than paper logbooks, and they can be more difficult to use in the cockpit.



Which type of logbook is right for you depends on your individual needs and preferences.


  • Cost: Paper logbooks are relatively inexpensive, while ELBs can range in price from free to over $100 per year.

  • Convenience: Paper logbooks are easy to use, but they can be time-consuming to update and maintain. ELBs can be more difficult to use in the cockpit, but they offer a number of features that can make it easier to track your flight time and experience.

  • Accuracy: Paper logbooks are more prone to errors, while ELBs are less prone to errors.

  • Security: Paper logbooks are more vulnerable to loss or damage, while ELBs are more secure.

  • Backup: Paper logbooks can be difficult to back up, while ELBs are easy to back up.

  • Tracking: It is difficult to track flight trends and generate reports from paper logbooks, while ELBs make it easy to track flight trends and generate reports.

  • Endorsements: It is more difficult to get endorsements from flight instructors in paper logbooks, while it is easier to get endorsements from flight instructors in ELBs.


Here are some additional things to consider when choosing between a paper logbook and an ELB:


  • FAA requirements: The FAA does not require pilots to use a specific type of logbook. However, pilots must keep a record of all flight time and experience. This record can be kept in a paper logbook, an ELB, or a combination of both.

  • Flight instructor endorsements: Flight instructors can endorse paper logbooks or ELBs. However, some flight instructors may prefer to endorse paper logbooks.

  • Compatibility with other systems: If you use an electronic flight bag (EFB) or other flight planning software, you may want to consider an ELB that is compatible with these systems.

  • Ease of use: ELBs can vary in terms of ease of use. Be sure to choose an ELB that is easy for you to use and navigate.

  • Cost: ELBs can also vary in terms of cost. Be sure to compare the cost of different ELBs before making a decision.


If you are still unsure which type of logbook is right for you, it is a good idea to talk to other helicopter pilots and get their recommendations. You may also want to try out a paper logbook and an ELB for a while to see which one you prefer.


Here are some of the best ELB apps for helicopter pilots:


  • ForeFlight Logbook

  • MyFlightLog

  • LogTen

  • NavLogs

  • PilotLog


When choosing an ELB app, be sure to consider the following factors:


  • Cost: ELB apps can range in price from free to over $100 per year.

  • Features: ELB apps can vary in terms of features. Some apps offer basic features, such as the ability to track flight time and generate reports, while other apps offer more advanced features, such as the ability to sync with EFBs and other flight planning software.

  • Ease of use: ELB apps can vary in terms of ease of use. Be sure to choose an app that is easy for you to use and navigate.


No matter which type of logbook you choose, it is important to keep it up to date. Your logbook is an important record of your flight experience, and it can be used to verify your qualifications to potential employers or insurance companies.



Pro tip: Small logbooks are a good alternative to the larger official logbooks. You can keep your official logbook at home and use a small logbook to jot notes as you progress through the day. You can then transcribe these notes into the official logbook at the end of the week or month.

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