Your aircraft logbooks are a VITAL part of your aircraft!
There are two kinds of logbooks: The first type is the actual Books that are bound (Airframe, Engine, Propeller), the second type is all other paperwork relating to the aircraft, (AD Compliance checklists, 337’s, STC’s, Oil Analysis Reports, Operation Manuals, etc.)
You can do yourself and your mechanic a BIG FAVOR by going through them and arranging then so that the most pertinent sections are easy to find and arranged in chronological order, most recent to oldest.
Here are some suggestions:
Keep your logbooks in a safe place and get some kind of a container in which to keep them. A zippered tote is an ideal container. Remember, your log books constitute about one third the value of your aircraft. It’s not a bad idea to make copies (or scans) of the most recent logbook entries, 337’s, engine overhaul entries, etc and keep them in a separate place for safe keeping.
Separate the “Active” log books from the completed or closed logbooks. (Bound Logbooks). All logbooks are important and should be made available to your mechanic at the time of your annual, but, the current logbooks are the most likely to be used. Take the closed or completed logbooks, put them in a gallon ziplock bag and put a rubber band around them. They are very valuable and this will separate them from active log books and protect them.
Get a 3-ring note book, some plastic page protectors and some tab deviders that you can put labels on.
Start with the latest information and arrange your tabs with the following chapters: AD Compliance Records, 337′s and STC’s, Weight and Balance, Oil Analysis, Instruction Manuals, and other records.
- AD Compliance records: As you have seen in the previous section “AD’s and Why They Are So Important” AD compliance is a very important part of completing an Annual Inspection. Keep each year’s AD Compliance Records in a separate page protector so they can be refereed to by your mechanic/ IA.
- 337′s and STC’s: 337’s and STC’s are the means by which your aircraft is modified to add or replace equipment. A 337 is an FAA form that is used to document Major Repairs and Alterations. It can either just notify the FAA that repairs and/or modifications have been completed when the repair or modification is done IAW (In Accordance With) an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate), more about STC’s later, or a 337 can be used to request a FA (Field Approval), this is where no STC is involved. More about Field approvals later. Keep the 337 for a “Major Repair and Alteration, and any other paperwork (approved data, STC’s, drawings, etc in a seperate sheet protector to make researching this repair or alteration easier.
- Weight and Balance: Keep all records pertaining to Weight and Balance in sheet protectors in one section so they can be referred to when a new weight and balance is required.
- Oil Analysis: The cheapest and easiest way to keep tabs on your engine’s health is to do an oil analysis’s each time the oil is changed. You purchase a prepaid oil analysis kit from a supplier, simply take a sample when you change the oil, record some information about you and your engine and send it to the analyzing company. You get back (usually by e-maill) a analysis of your oil and if there are any areas to watch they are pointed out. It’s a good idea to get a copy to your mechanic so he/she can have a look and let you know if there are any concerns about the sample. Over time you can get an idea of what’s happening in your engine with trends of what wear metals you see on the reports.
- Instruction Manuals: Keep all instruction, instillation and maintenance manuals in this section. They come in very handy when you (or your mechanic/IA) have to troubleshoot, repair, or replace components on your aircraft, or engine.
- Other Records: Receipts for annual Inspection, avionics, etc can come in very handy when you need them, but don’t let them get in the way of records that are used to perform your Annual Inspection. You don’t want your mechanic/IA to send time searching through them (and charging you for that time).
- Without a doubt, clean, well organized log books and other records significanily increase the resale value of your aircraft.