Like many others I log all my flights in my physical logbook. But I wanted to add more data than what my physical logbook could handle, and I like the idea of having a backup of it.
I use a basic Excel JAR-FCL Pilot logbook from Sola Flyklubb
as a digital backup, but that is simply a digital paper copy, and doesn’t add much other value than helping me with the calculations. So I started looking for a digital logbook, with the intention to still keep my physical logbook as the primary.
Since I still wanted to keep my physical logbook, and use that for endorsements, etc., I didn’t have to think about how to handle that part of this, or the legality of the digital logbook. That being said, most of the options I tested, has endorsement features, and are perfectly legal to use.
What I wanted:
Easy to use, yet powerful in number of data fields and customization (including passenger tracking and custom data fields)
License expiration tracking
Totals and statistics
Available on all platforms (web, PC, phone)
Tailored for EASA rules, not only for FAA
Support gliders, and whatever I might want to fly in the future
The option to import my existing logbook (which I had a copy of in Excel)
Backup and export of data to other applications (to avoid vendor lock-in, and to be able to use the data for other fun things
Feature to upload tracklog from SkyDemon (.gpx file)
I wanted more than just a digital copy of my physical logbook.
None of the logbooks I tested could give me everything I wanted. But the one that is closest, is Safelog. Except for the lack of GPX upload (which I can do in Flightbook) and the lack of tracking for the flight time required for EASA class rating renewal, it ticks most of the other boxes. The user interface is a bit dated, but it is very functional and surprisingly fast and easy to use. The more I use it, the more I like it.
The deciding factor was the ability to customize everything to match almost exactly what I want. No assumptions are made for me, and I can add whatever I want to my logs. I like adding as much data as possible, since it’s a lot harder to add at a later stage.
Safelog was the only logbook that allowed me to add every single license, endorsement, stage check, exam, access card, or anything else that has a expiration date. The dashboard, which is available in the mobile apps as well, give me a quick and easy overview of my current status and days remaining until expiration - including my 3 landings last 90 days passenger requirement.
Safelog also has a nice calendar feature, where you can see both logged flights, scheduled flights, career milestones (skill tests, license expiration, etc), and medical certificates.
Logbook.aero is the only logbook I tested that had both excellent support, a modern user interface, and fully EASA tailored currency tracking. The option to upload tracklogs (GPX) from SkyDemon was a huge plus.
But the limited input fields and lack of customization, and the limited mobile apps, made this less than optimal for me.
I really liked Logbook.aero, and encourage you to give it a try to see if it might be good enough for you!
I like this one a lot, there are some really nice features, and the price is hard to beat. But there is no custom tracking of licenses and currency, only some predefined based on FAA rules. This alone disqualified MyFlightbook.
Any platform where you can access Excel, Numbers, Google Sheets, OpenOffice or LibreOffice
This is mostly a digital version of a paper logbook, but it does actually meet some of my requirements. Compared to other digital logbooks, this one has the advantage of letting you own your logbook 100% yourself. And you can edit it as much as you want. But you are also 100% responsible for making it available on all of your devices and maintaining your own backup.
Powerful logbook, with very outdated interface. Highly tailored to FAA rules, which made it useless for me. Support also fails to honor delete request, which violates the GDPR right to be forgotten.
$99.99 per year
I really wanted to try this one, as people seem to be happy with it. But there’s no trial version available, and $99.99 is too expensive just to test this. I have tested ForeFlight, but found it way too cluttered and at the same time lacking the information I want for VFR in Europe.
My tips for using a digital logbook
Add as much data as possible
But utilize features in the logbook
Don’t repeat data unnecessary
Data about the airplane belong on the airplane object, not on each log entry
Use export features to store data on your own devices/secure storage