I Lost My Logbook. What Now?

If you can’t put your hands on your log book, the FAA can help you reconstruct your hours and endorsements.

What steps does a pilot need to take with the FAA if a logbook goes missing? [Credit: Shutterstock]

Question: It’s been decades since I last flew as PIC, and [after] moving several times since I was last current, I’ve lost my pilot’s logbook. I’m trying to get active again since retiring. What’s the best way to document my approximate hours and endorsements? I do have a new copy of my FAA-issued certificate.

Answer: The FAA's General Aviation Operations Inspector’s Handbook (FAA Order 8700.1) provides guidance for reconstructing lost airman logbooks. It states: "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." But if it has been decades since you last acted as pilot in command, and probably longer since you did your training, this is probably a long shot.

You can request copies of your medical application and Airman Certificate and/or Rating Applications (FAA Form 8710) from the FAA, which will have documentation of your experience at the time of application. You can access this by contacting the Airmen Certification branch at 9-AMC-AFS760-Airmen@faa.gov or 405-954-3261 and follow the prompts to request your records.

As far as additional endorsements, such as tailwheel, complex and high performance, etc., if they are not recorded on the last 8710 on file, you will need to be reendorsed. But since you will need a flight review anyway, you may want to kill two snakes with one rock and do the recurrent training for the flight review in an aircraft that requires an endorsement. Good luck, and welcome back to the sky!

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Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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