Electronic Pilot Logbooks (preview of episode 6)

Over the last couple days I’ve been testing some electronic logbooks, and the episode covering them is here. Here is a comparison (my notes) about some electronic logbooks.


The most important feature of an electronic logbook is “export” if it has nothing else, a logbook must have this! You don’t know if you will keep this service/application for your entire career as a pilot. You want to be able to change to another service whenever you want. Importing is also important, but it’s really up to you if you carry over your old data into the new system, or just start from scratch.

Still, the whole point of even considering an electronic logbook is to track your “currency” automatically. I wouldn’t consider a logbook that didn’t make this easy. For some people a customizable spreadsheet is all they need. I like something that tells me “X days left on VFR Day Currency”. “Medicals and Certificates“, “Flight Reviews“, and “Flight Limits” fall into the same category. It’s just a question as to what you’re comfortable with.

Reports handle viewing your data, but what about other things you want to track? “Configurable Fields” are important to allow you to track stats which not typical. Also, custom field ordering is important to see and understand your stats at a glance. Remember, the application must to work for you. There’s no point in using an electronic logbook if you are a slave to it, so I feel that custom fields are very important.

Inflight Timers” are simply cool. I don’t know how useful they are in practice, but if it means that all you have to do is tap a button to start and stop a timer to calculate your day and night portions of a flight, and not have to do any math – I’m for it!

Airport” and “Aircraft” databases are simply nice. It’s not a “must have”, but being able to look up an airport and have consistency is great. Also, some logbooks will calculate the distance flown based on the airport locations and way points – This is cool (a feature of LogTen).

if you’re a student (we all are on some level) then tracking “Practical FAA Requirements” can be useful. Very few logbooks do this. Some applications have reports which accomplish the same thing, but SafeLog actually has a specialized feature that tells you exactly what minimum requirements must be met for your certification. This is pretty cool, but not a “must have”.


Mozy
Finally, if you’re going to store your logbook in byte form you’ll need a backup solution. Yes, this is a plug for a sponsor Mozy, but I really do believe in them, and it’s extremely important to have a backup solution. Use our coupon codes “PFT“, or “PFT15” for the pro version. You will save 15% on the price of a backup subscription.

Now, to the electronic logbook feature comparison:

Logbook Software Platforms Web Mobile Features Additional Information
 
Windows

OS X

Web (monthly cost)

iPhone / iPod

iPad

Droid

Windows Mobile

PDA

Import & Export

Configurable Fields

Inflight Timers

Currency

Medicals / Certificates

Flight Reviews

Flight Limits

Airport DB / Aircraft DB

Practical FAA Requirements

Notes

Logbook Pro $70 $1.67 for backup +$30 +$30 +$30 Y Y  
Safelog $80 $3.80 soon free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Comprehensive, though a bit clunky.  Trial version avail.
Airlog $90     palm Y Y Y Y P   Build your own airport and aircraft DB –  implementation is nice.
Logten $100   +$30 +$60   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y   OSX software free for 40 flight hours. Froze once during testing.  Fairly logical, and convenient.  More automation would be nice.
Climb! $35   +$5   Y P Y Y Y Y   Missing "holds" column, but you could use "other" column instead.  Is very spreadsheet-like.
AVJournal $3.33       Y Y Y   No export.  No aircraft templates.
intelliPilot     $15   Y Y P P Y   Create reports by date
ZuluLog Free for basic / $8 a month for platnum     Y P Y Y Y Y Y   Must pay to get import, unlimited export, and custom currency reports.  Free 3 month upgrade.
FreePilotLog Free     Y Y Y   Does not support Safari.  Doesn’t automate calculatable data.  Doesn’t query for currency, better than nothing.
PilotPal Free     Y P Y   Okay, but limited.  Best feature is the journal.
LogShare Free     P Y Y Y Y   Can’t import. Has email reminders.  Limited and simple, but has all the basics.
mcc pilotlog Free   free free free   Y Y Y Y Y Y   Euopean. Reports defined by queries. Clunky
MyFlightbook Free Free dual app   Y Y Y Y   ipad Crashed once during testing.
FlightBox   Free Free       Costs more for additional non-logbook features.  Very simple logbook.  No better than a paper logbook.
FlightLog   $5     Y Y   Configurable queries for reports
This entry was posted in Product Comparison, Spreadsheet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Electronic Pilot Logbooks (preview of episode 6)

  1. coradine says:

    Marc,

    Great review by the way! We are looking forward to the detailed episode!

    Since I represent Coradine Aviation Systems, I just wanted to point out that we do in fact show when a Flight Review is due for you. When you track your certificates, BFRs and medicals in LogTen Pro, we do alert you for your next expiring certificate record right on the Flights page (or Radar for mobile devices). Future versions will have more advanced notifications as well.

    And while we do not have a predetermined list of Practical FAA Requirements, we do have the Smart Group system which is customizable to track nearly any field. So it could easily track that you are meeting requirements towards any FAA (or other agency for that matter) practical exam.

    Looking forward to the detailed episode!
    Cheers,
    Torea Rodriguez
    Director of Customer Relations
    Coradine Aviation Systems

  2. Marc says:

    Hmm… I had to figure out why I didn’t put a ‘Y’ in that field, but upon review you’re right.

    The reason I missed it is because only the certificate to expire NEXT shows up in the ‘flights’ window. So, in my case I see that my medical is going to expire in 57 days, but I don’t see when my biannual review will be required. This looked to me like only the medical was being reported.

    Anyway, I added the ‘Y’ to the field. Thanks. 🙂

  3. kellybonner says:

    Marc,

    Thanks for the reviews!

    I just wanted to point out that ZuluLog.com does indeed include support for both flight reviews and practical FAA requirements, as well as free exports.

    Flight review support is included in the free EX version, and conforms to FAA requirements about when a flight review is due. Flight reviews are entered via the regular flight entry screen, and status can be checked via the Pilot Currency screen.

    Practical FAA requirements are included in the Platinum version via the advanced filters and the “Form 8710 Totals” screen on the Currency/Certificates menu.

    For the export feature, only the XML export is limited to Platinum customers. The CSV/spreadsheet export is free.

    Thanks again,

    Kelly Bonner
    Vice President, Customer Relations

  4. Marc says:

    Not sure how I missed the flight review info. Must have been a typo, as it is pretty obvious. 🙂

    As for the “Practical FAA Requirements”, does the report display what’s left to achieve a private pilot certificate? Safelog is the only software I found that does this. All other software report on past flights, but not report on remaining flights. If Zululog reports on future requirements then I’ll certainly make the correction.

Leave a Reply