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Digital age: Bringing logbooks to life

A logbook is like a diary for pilots. It contains a chronicle of some of the highest and lowest points of a pilot’s life in aviation, from the first solo to the last flight, from buying to selling a beloved aircraft. Some write concise entries, while others jot down phrases to help them remember special flights. But to anyone else flipping through the hours of flight time written in shorthand, it can be difficult to understand the life described in those pages.

Pilots—or their friends and family—can illustrate those entries by creating a documentary, photo book, scrapbook, or personalized calendar to serve as a keepsake for future generations to come. Several online applications and software programs make the assembly of such products fast and affordable.

Apple’s iMovie and Windows’ Movie Maker come installed on newer computers, allowing videos of flights, airport events, and interviews with pilots to be edited together easily. AOPA’s popular “Spin myths” video was created with iMovie.

Online book and scrapbook resources give you the opportunity to combine stories with digital or scanned pictures to create a personalized masterpiece; calendars can be made quickly from your favorite photos and printed at home, in a photo center, or at a printing store. offers a  three-step approach to creating a photo book. AOPA member Paul Burger used to create a photo book “because I thought that in years to come my grandchildren might become interested in knowing more about my love affair with flying, and I wanted to tell them about it in my own words.”

For those who don’t want to tackle an entire logbook, which could contain decades of memories, individual flights can be preserved online with photos, captions, and essays. EveryTrail, popular among hikers, mountain bikers, and pilots, allows you to match your photos with GPS points along your route and add prose. It can even be created from many mobile devices, as AOPA member Charles Husick did on his flight from Florida to the Bahamas.

While the logbook will always remain a pilot’s pride and joy, online resources can help bring those pages to life for friends and family.

AOPA ePublishing staff

AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.

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