The financial cost of the current method of record keeping in business aviation is estimated to be over $125 million annually. That’s over $5,000 per aircraft per year just to keep up with the requirements of normal operation.
Adding to this large expenditure is the fact that missing information from a logbook, or a missing logbook altogether, has an extreme financial impact on the value of the aircraft as well. Logbooks have been proven time and again to be worth between 30% to 50% of the overall Market Value of an aircraft. Without logbooks, even a $70 Million jet is almost worthless if it can’t fly.
In many cases, the cost of recovering missing logbook information or replacing time-controlled or life-limited parts on the aircraft is not financially justifiable. More than one aircraft has been rendered a total loss as a flying machine due to the loss of just one logbook, or the aircraft’s entire collection of logbooks.
INFORMATION MISSING FROM A LOGBOOK
Missing only one document from the record can also be a problem which will result in one of two things happening if the document cannot be resurrected by some other means:
1. Maintenance, although previously accomplished, must be completed again.
2. Life limited or time-controlled components, even though operating perfectly fine, will need to be replaced to know the components’ total time and/or total cycles.
Either of these events waste both the owner’s money and contribute to the time the aircraft would otherwise be available to fly. Unfortunately, most aircraft owners only find out their aircraft’s logbooks are deficient when its’ already too late to recover from the missing information; usually impacting a sale or hampering the time required to begin flying the aircraft.
LOGBOOKS AND AIRCRAFT INSURANCE
With respect to logbooks; aviation insurance is yet another concern in business aviation today. Insurance companies simply do not insure aircraft logbooks … period. For the straightforward reason that the value damage to an aircraft due to missing logbook information is so difficult to establish beforehand, the easiest way to prevent an argument from occurring between the aircraft owner and the insurance company over the value of missing information, if it happens, is to eliminate the potential argument altogether. Insurance companies have a term for aircraft logbooks: Low Risk, High Impact Assets. Anyone owning or operating an aircraft should take note: Logbooks are both extremely critical and extremely valuable.
THE BOTTOM LINE