Student Pilots: Start off on the right foot

Student Pilots: Start off on the right foot

Have you just started learning to fly? Or are you researching Student Pilot Logbooks before you start? Either way, by reading this article you are doing the right thing.

Messy Logbooks

Don’t be like me and put yourself in a difficult position having to re-write your paper logbook just to make it legible enough for your first Check Ride / Flight Test. It was a huge waste of time and added a lot of unnecessary headaches, at what was an already stressful time of my flying. In the end, I passed my Check Ride but it was a big lesson for me.

Regardless, if you do decide to keep your Paper Pilot Logbook, PLEASE take the time to carefully write in each of your flights. Do not rush this process – you will regret it.


Relying on one, singular, physical, hard copy book to record all of your flight experience is risky. The least you can do with your paper logbook is take scanned copies or photos of each page. Better yet, back-up your entire logbook in the Cloud with an Electronic Pilot Logbook.


C’mon, it’s 2020. Sure, a paper logbook was essentially your only option back in the ’50s, but now with technology heading the way it is, it is unlikely they will be around in 10 years time.

Start off on the right foot now and avoid spending huge amounts of time transposing each and every flight in a few years time trying to “catch-up”.

Benefits of an Electronic Pilot Logbook:

  • Back-up copy
  • Avoid messy illegible logbooks (crucial for future job interviews)
  • Immediately know how you’re tracking towards your qualification
  • Future-proof

How I log my flights

I decided to keep a Paper Logbook as well as having an electronic version.

1. Post-flight: Enter Flight Details immediately into the Excel Spreadsheet, using my iPhone or iPad.

2. At home: Transpose my data into my Paper Logbook. Cross-check column and page totals for additional accuracy.

This way, you can check all of your manual calculations from your paper logbook against your Electronic Pilot Logbook – which does all of the calculations for you automatically.

About the author

Max is an Airline Pilot based in New Zealand. He has a background in Charter flying, Instructing and loves Aerobatics. Holds an Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL) and a Bachelor's Degree in Aviation (BAv). Founder of Excel Pilot Logbook.

Cessna Pilot Logbook

Start logging flights smarter today.