While working my way through A&P school fueling aircraft back in the mid-1970s, I would often witness the take-off of Boeing 707 and McDonnell Douglas DC-8 aircraft as they departed from Los Angeles Int’l Airport bound for their international destination.
The P&W JT-3d engines mounted on these planes were loud, smokey, fuel-guzzling monsters that had the ability to draw everyone’s attention to the departure of the aircraft and then continue with their voracious fuel appetite for the remainder of the flight.
And the aircraft’s logbooks: they were always found in paper form, in most cases were hand-written, were put together in various shapes, sizes, and formats were falling apart due to wear and tear, were unorganized and chaotic, difficult to understand, usually missing critical information, and never appeared to be of any value.
Fast forward to the beginning of the 21st century and we find the engines on large multi-engine aircraft to be quiet, environmentally sensitive, and fuel-efficient.
And the logbooks: well, they’re still found only in paper form, in most cases are hand-written, are put together in various shapes, sizes, and formats, are falling apart due to wear and tear, are unorganized and chaotic, difficult to understand, usually missing critical information, and do not appear to have any value.
Its time we finally do something about this most unfortunate situation. Aircraft logbooks should be of the same level of advancement as the aircraft they represent. But … they are not!
Aircraft logbooks should be standardized, like most of the equipment we use in our industry; cared for, and given the respect, such a valuable resource is worthy of; and insured, like any other asset we depend on.
It’s time we bring aircraft records into the fold of the rest of business aviation. This is a decision we’ll never regret!
See “Why Keeping Aircraft Records Electronically Makes Good Sense” in BAR Commentary for more information on recordkeeping for aircraft maintenance logbooks in the 21st Century.