The Paperless Logbook

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The latest aircraft cockpits use electronics for virtually all functions but when the flight is over, most pilots have to haul out the books. Greg Ratcliff and Doug Stewart created AircraftLogs.com three years ago to take aviation from the quill-and-inkwell era to the digital age. Stewart told a news conference at AOPA Expo that the system they've developed not only takes some of the drudgery out of the mandatory record keeping associated with an airplane, it may enhance its value. "Often records don't receive the proper care and it makes compliance difficult," he said. An aircraft with incomplete logs is worth substantially less and the owner risks enforcement action from the FAA.

As with any conversion from a paper-based system to electronics, there is a data conversion process and Stewart said that so far every log that has been transcribed into the system has been found deficient in some way by the automatic compliance tracking functions. Stewart and Ratcliff had relatively modest goals for the system when they started but ideas to improve and automate it even further have naturally flowed. They're now working on fully integrating the system into aircraft so the plane itself keeps the logs.