By DebbieH 18 Oct 2020 7 min read

Aircraft logbooks in the age of Covid-19

We recently caught up with Larry Hinebaugh from the Foundation for Business Aircraft Records Excellence to discover if logbooks are perpetually in quarantine? This is what he said:


“It’s Autumn 2020, and COVID-19 has been challenging the whole world for the majority of the year.


All of us now know what it feels like to be locked down and unable to do the simple things we used to take for granted: like going where we need to go, or sharing our skills and talents like we used to do so easily.


And, as funny as it sounds, I am reminded of the common aircraft logbook that spends its entire life in quarantine.



Logbooks: Locked Down Since the Beginning of Aviation

Aircraft logbooks not locked down are at risk. Why? Because logbooks are fragile, made of paper, and subject to loss or damage at every turn. And … logbooks are extremely valuable! They represent a full 30% or more of the total value of the aircraft they speak for.


Like the human body against COVID-19, the risk associated with exposing a logbook to a world fraught with potential disasters is so great that the best solution is to simply shelter the logbooks in place (usually at the aircraft’s home base) and keep them safe, rather than expose them to potential disaster.



Our Modern World

At this time in history, where we humans use new technology like the internet and smartphones to stay in touch with others and continue to run our businesses, aircraft logbooks remain as they have been for decades: stuck in file drawers or boxes; isolated; kept from being seen or shared; and so, protected from harm.


Yet, even in the age of COVID-19, the aeroplanes these logbooks represent are not locked down and are still travelling the world, taking travellers (all be it not as many) to far off locations to see what the world has to offer and to share what they have to offer to the world. Should logbooks be any different than the aircraft they represent?


Aeroplanes traversing the world need to have records that have similar abilities. Otherwise, we continue to have the same old issues that have been a fact of life in aviation for almost a century. Aircraft can be anywhere in the world they need to be, but the aircraft’s logbooks stay in one place (usually at home base). That’s an unfortunate fact. But it doesn’t have to stay that way!



What We Need to do Now

What we need to do now is to take the first step in freeing aircraft logbooks. Digitalising them so that they can travel anywhere in the world they need to be.


And how do we do that? That’s easy! We need to scan the existing paper records and create electronic images that can be shared over the internet; preferably in a cloud-based, AC120-78A compliant, Electronic Record Keeping System.


To learn more about the correct way to accomplish this, visit this article on scanning aircraft maintenance records.



Everyone Will Benefit

Everyone, from those of us that operate aircraft, to the people who entrust their lives everyday flying on them; we must act now and incorporate our very best into our modern world of aviation. When we do this, everyone will benefit!”

Who is Larry Hinebaugh?

Larry Hinebaugh is the Executive Director of The Foundation for Business Aircraft Records Excellence. He’s passionate about improving business aircraft recordkeeping practices through professional education and technology awareness.