Set Up Your Personalized One-Page Flight Log

As a human being, you have no doubt evolved your own individual habits when it comes to organizing your inflight record-keeping chores. Whether you own your own airplane or rent, you probably keep your pen in the same place every flight, consult your checklists at the same time and any number of other procedures that remain relatively consistent with every trip aloft. Here's where you can use your home computer's spreadsheet or word processing program to develop a one-page flight log that combines most of what you need to keep yourself organized.

I keep a supply of several of these forms on a clipboard. The top of my personal form consists of a line with some of the radio frequencies pertinent to my home airport, especially the frequency for activating the runway lights. It's not often that I need that frequency, but when I do, it's good to have it handy. I also have the phone number for activating my IFR flight plan since, without a control tower or remote frequency, I must use my cell phone to contact ATC from the run-up pad.

Following that is a standard flight plan form with plenty of open space for the IFR routing. Below that is a simple chart for noting engine-start time on the Hobbs. With my older Bonanza, I need to switch fuel tanks in a particular sequence, so I have space for noting what clock time I start on the left tank, when I switch to the right or auxiliary tank and when I switch back again.

The lower half of my form has the CRAFT clearance format with space to record the information. C for 'cleared to'; R for 'route'; A for 'altitude'; F for departure 'frequency' to switch to; and T for 'transponder' code. Next to that column is a row of blank lines for recording frequencies as I go from sector to sector. Even with flip-flop radios, I like to have the frequencies written down. It is sometimes helpful on the return trip as a heads up. Finally, in the lower right hand corner is space for 'notes' that could be anything from weather info to making a note about something I've overheard on the frequency that I want to remember. Once, while flying over West Virginia, I heard ATC talking to another Bonanza with a tail number one digit off from mine. I checked FAA records and it turned out to be the airplane just ahead of mine in the production cycle back in the 1950s. I contacted the owner (the Internet is an amazing thing) and we had a fun, interesting conversation.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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