LogTenPro vs. MyFlightBook
by Hank Gibson, CSIP, CFAI+, Master CFI, Gold Seal CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI
The iPad is taking over the world of aviation. So much so that, when a pilot says they don’t have an iPad, I always am dumbstruck by the fact. “You mean, you still use paper?” I ask. They usually sheepishly nod like they’ve been caught doing something wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with not having an iPad. It’s just become so commonplace for pilots to have them that it is unusual to find someone who doesn’t. I still know plenty of pilots who supplement their iPads with a printout of the approach they are planning at their destination. Printed plates are just a bit easier to handle in the cockpit than a normal size iPad (not so with the iPad Mini!).
Electronic logbooks have been around for years. I tried several times to put all my flight time into a spread sheet, but I started well into my flying career, so I had no desire to put all the hours in to document all my flights. I have a lot of friends who used the spreadsheet approach when they started flying, so they have a complete electronic record.
There are also a lot of websites that offer electronic logbooks. With the advent of the iPad, there are a number of Apps that have been developed to serve the market for electronic logbooks. The most popular, LogTenPro by Coradine Aviation, runs you about $80 for the iPad or iPhone and $100 for your Mac laptop.
LogTen is really pretty cool. It is the utter definition of an electronic logbook. You can log approaches easily, it will keep track of your currency, and it even lets instructors sign (and keeps track of the instructor’s information)! It truly is a paper replacement.
The annoying thing about LogTen (and any electronic logbook as stated above) is the time it takes to enter all of your past flights into the program. Depending on how long you’ve been flying, this could be a pain. Otherwise, I don’t have any complaints about it, nor have I heard any from other pilots. The one downside is the cost.
Have no fear, penny pinching pilot! MyFlightBook.com is here to help! I searched around for ages for a free, online, electronic logbook complete with an App that would sync everything. FREE being the key word. The other big criteria I was looking for was the ability to add up make and model specific flight time.
I did a search and sampled a few websites, but none that I was crazy about. Then I stumbled upon MyFlightBook. It was free. It could add up make and model specific flight time. It had an App. I was suddenly a happy camper.
MyFlightBook isn’t as complete as LogTen, but, for being free, it doesn’t skimp on much. You can input the tail numbers of the airplanes you fly and it will save them. It’s a simpler interface then LogTen (think taking all the columns in a logbook and putting them on a website), but it has what I need. I like it.
In conclusion, if you want to pay for LogTen, it’s a much more thorough electronic logbook. But, if you are going for the free and simple route, then MyFlightBook is your ticket.
How it Started
One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.
It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.
The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.
First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).
At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.
Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.
Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.
In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.
More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/
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