January 2, 2000
Not many things complicate a pilot's life like a lost logbook. Logbooks represent many things to pilots, including a record of time and training to be used toward future certificates and ratings, as well as currency to comply with various regulations. It is important that airmen are aware of the process for reconstruction of the lost logs.
The General Aviation Operation Inspectors Handbook (FAA Order 8700.1) provides guidance for reconstructing lost airman logbooks. The airman should begin with a signed and notarized statement of previous flight time as the basis for starting a new flight time record. Such a statement should be substantiated by all available evidence such as aircraft logbooks, receipts for aircraft rentals, and statements of flight operators. AOPA would also suggest statements from previous flight instructors, copies of medical applications, and Airman Certificate and/or Rating Applications (FAA Form 8710), which can all be obtained through the FAA.
Also important to remember is the need for documentation of a current flight review ( FAR 61.56), takeoff and landing proficiency when carrying passengers ( FAR 61.57), instrument proficiency if appropriate ( FAR 61.57), and additional endorsements for high-performance, complex, tailwheel, and pressurized aircraft that have a service ceiling or maximum operating altitude, whichever is lower, above 25,000 feet msl ( FAR 61.31), if applicable. If unable to locate the instructors who gave the initial endorsements, it may be necessary to obtain the appropriate endorsements again.
The FAA is also concerned with falsification of records. The Inspectors Handbook includes the warning, "A pilot who has lost logbooks or flight time records should be reminded that any fraudulent or intentional false statements concerning aeronautical experience are a basis for suspension or revocation of any certificate or rating held."
Many airmen periodically copy their logbooks and place the copies in secure locations. The logbook should be treated as a valuable personal document. You may want to reconsider carrying this document on every flight. Leaving it in your car, airplane, or in your flight bag with high-dollar headsets, which are targets for theft, is not recommended as well.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.