Individual Logbook App Reviews

This page contains individual app reviews as part of my Logbook Battle Royale project.


LogTen Pro X

LogTen Pro X is a great option if you are and will always be a Mac/iPhone-only person. If you need something that works with Windows and/or Android, just move on.

The mobile app has a modern and useful design. A "Fly Now" tab makes it easy to log flying that you do on a regular basis. The desktop app shows your entire logbook in a very useful format...it feels almost as straightforward as a regular Excel spreadsheet. However, it also makes it easy to view currency information and get to other great app features.

It has a nice tool that lets you copy/paste your airline schedule into a window and automatically builds the associated logbook entires for you. These entries still require you to enter some information, but it makes it very easy to keep your logbook up to date. The app has an impressive nubmer of summaries and reports. It allows instructors to electronically sign logbook endorsements. It give you the ability for lots of customization so you can log NVG hours or soft-field assault landings at gross weights over 110,000 pounds. The Customer Support response from Coradine was excellent.

As an all-Apple system, LogTen Pro X stores all of your data in your iCloud account. This could be good in that you always know where your data is. It could also be troublesome if you have a lot of stuff in iCloud and end up needing to pay for extra space.

They do offer a free trial, but it only lets you input 40 hours worth of flying, and doesn't include the desktop version of the app. Frankly, 40 hours worth of entries isn't enough to give you a feel of the app's capabilities. Worse, as good as the mobile app may be, a trial is almost useless without access to the desktop version. Luckily, this app is pretty popular. If you want to try before you buy, chances are you have a flying buddy who can let you take a look at the desktop version of the app.

If you're an Apple fanboy or fangirl, LogTen Pro X should be one of your top contenders.

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Logbook Pro

I find it unfortunate and confusing that Logbook Pro and LogTen Pro X have such similar names. The way I keep them straight is: LogTex Pro X is for Mac and Logbook Pro is for Windows. If you don't ever plan on owning a Windows desktop or notebook computer, just move on. That said, the Logbook Pro mobile app supports both iPhones and Android devices.

I really like the capabilities that Logbook Pro offers. You can customize the types of things you log, you can import your airline schedule, you can generate great reports to print out. The customer support response was outstanding.

Logbook Pro has some shortcomings too. Although the mobile app is modern and well-designed, the desktop app leaves a bit to be desired. It feels like it was designed about 10-15 years ago and hasn't been updated since. A plethora of nondescript icons makes it difficult to find features you want. The inability to resize some of the menu/settings windows is frustrating. There also isn't a way to electronically sign logbook endorsements. That one is serious enough for me that it might be a deal breaker.

I'm not sure whether I like or hate the fact that they charge separately for many of their features. The desktop app costs $99.95 (don't bother with the $69 Standard Edition...you need the Professional Edition at the very least.) The mobile app is a subscription that costs about $40/yr. Want cloud backup, airline schedule import, or FAR 117/currency alerts? Those are all separate subscription charges. In a way this is nice; you only pay for features that you will actually use. However, if you want more (or all) of the features, Logbook Pro quickly becomes the most expensive of all these apps.

Personally, I could live with just the mobile app and the airline schedule importer. Pay for two years at a time and it comes out to about $90/year. That's reasonably on par with the rest of the pack.

Despite its clunky user interface, I feel like Logbook Pro should be at the top of your list if you're a Windows-only kind of person.

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MyFlightbook

I feel like most of us pilots tend to be cheepskates. It's what comes from having a hobby that starts around $100/hr. As a cheepskate, MyFlightbook sounds pretty good because it's totally free. Instead of a destkop appliation, it has an online portal you can access from any web browser. This means it works on Mac, Windows, iPhone/iPad, and Android devices. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that MyFlightbook is a case of "you get what you pay for."

The browser-based interface is very slow. This makes casual use frustrating, but it makes importing your logbook absolutely maddening. The mobile app interface isn't anything special, but I think it would work. You'd have to plan to dedicate several hours to the process of importing your logbook into the MyFlightbook system before the app would be useful though.

It also won't import from any airline systems, doesn't allow you to create any custom categories of flight time to track, doens't let you electronically sign endorsements and doens't have much in the way of reports.

Maybe someone knows something about the system that I couldn't see, but personally I can't recommend MyFlightbook.

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Safelog

The "you get what you pay for" theme seems to carry for Safelog as well. The app has a lot of attractive features. It works on any platform (Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android), it's cheap, and it has excellent customer support response. It also has very impressive options for reports/analysis/printouts...one of the best of this group.

Unfortunately, it has some disappointments for me. The import process wasn't as painful as MyFlightbook, but it was still pretty rough. The user interface isn't as good as most of the others either. There's no way to electronically sign endorsements. Finally, although you can import your airline schedule for future logging, you have to use a 3rd party app to do it. That costs extra and adds layers of difficulty.

I'm not sure any of those are deal breakers for me, but given the quality of some other options, Safelog wouldn't be a top pick for me.

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mccPilotLog

mccPilotLog isn't perfect, but it's some pretty great software. A major selling point is that it doesn't require a subscription. The Standard Edition is free. It's desktop-only, but a decent way to get a look at the program. The Pro edition is only 39 Euros, but the major drawback is that it only syncs from a mobile device to the desktop version. You can't see any past log entries on your phone. For that reason, I'd recommend just spending the 69 Euros for the Enterprise edition and getting full app functionality for life.

One interesting feature is that the company will import your electronic logbook into their system for you. You can send them an Excel spreadsheet and they'll take care of any formatting/conversion. Best of all, they'll do it for free.

mccPilotLog works on any platform. The user interface is good for both mobile and desktop versions of the app. It will import from most airlines. (Sadly it won't do my airline yet, but they mentioned that they are actively working to fix this.) The report generator takes some getting used to, but it's pretty capable.

The installation process for the Mac desktop version of this app is a little painful. You have to download three different pieces of software and install them in order. Though the process was obnoxious, I got it done and liked the app itself.

The app only allows you to define a few custom categories of data to log. However, it offers a lot of categories as defaults that you might have had to set up as custom categories in other apps. It probably covers enough for most of us.

Overall, this is one of the better options in this group.

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ZuluLog

You may notice that ZuluLog has more entries of "Yes" and "Good" than any other app in the comparison table. Although this one doesn't do everything I'd like, it may be the best of the bunch.

The system works on any platform: Mac and Windows via your browser, iPhone/iPad, and Android devices. The mobile app user interface is simple, but effective. The browser-based interface is one of my favorites. It displays your entries a lot like an Excel spreadsheet. You have essentially unlimited options for customization and it produces a variety of great summaries and reports. This is one of the few apps that has some useful error checking functionality built into it. It'll look through your logbook to see if anything doesn't seem to match. It's also the only system with a "PIC Maximizer" that claims to look through and see if you could help yourself out by logging things a little differently. (I imagine this relates mostly to the import process. It takes some work to get this right with any of these apps.)

Speaking of the import process, I'm embarrassed to say that even with a degree in Computer Engineering I couldn't make it work with ZuluLog. Thankfully, the company gives you the same offer as mccPilotLog. You can send them your Excel spreadsheet and they'll upload it to their system for free. I actually took advantage of their offer and they had it done in just a couple days. I didn't like the way that some of the aircraft got loaded into the system and wrote them for help uploading a new file with edited aircraft definitions. They responded quickly and offered to work with me to fix it. Overall, ZuluLog's customer service was outstanding for me.

I do have a couple minor disappointments with ZuluLog. Importing your airline schedule requires you to go through a 3rd party app. It's not the end of the world, but it's a pain. You can electronically sign and lock individual flight entries, but you can't do that for a stand-alone endorsement (think tailwheel endorsement.) You can upload pictures to the endorsements section though, which would be good enough.

The "EX" version is free forever (good enough to use as a free trial,) but you really need the Platinum version to get the features you want. (Don't bother with the Professional version...it's designed for flight departments with multiple aircraft and pilots.) You get one free week of Platinum and you can subscribe to it for as little as one month at a time. One year of Platinum costs $89.86/yr, but the best deal is a 5-year subscription for $343.59.

Although ZuluLog isn't perfect, it's definitely one of the best.

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ForeFlight

ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot represent unique cases in this comparison because they aren't just logbooks. They are also a suite of outstanding navigational software that includes all the aeronautical charts you'll ever need. If you do any General Aviation (GA) flying you need one of these programs. They're so much cheaper than buying paper charts that you can't justify not subscribing. If you're doing this anyway, you automatically get access to some pretty good logbook functionality for no additional cost.

ForeFlight's logbook has some really great features. It's endorsement functionality is best in class. You can send an electronic request to a flight instructor for an endorsement. If the flight instructor has ForeFlight, he or she can complete the endorsement within the app, sign it, and send it back to you. That endorsement now lives in your logbook permanently. This is absolutely the gold standard for electronic logbook endorsements.

ForeFlight also lets you pair your logbook entry with a 3-D GPS track of your flight...fun and useful for debriefing. The user interface within the app itself is also as good as any other.

Unfortunately, ForeFlight falls short in some areas. Once you get your logbook set up, this app would make it easy to continue logging flights. However, it's extremely difficult to get a good look at your lobgook as a whole. You can see all of your logbook entries in the app itself, but you can't see them at all from the browser-based web portal. That portal gives you a few, very limited options for generating reports or printing out a copy of your logbook. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as robust as most of the other programs we've looked at here.

There's no way to direclty import your airline schedule. ForeFlight also won't give you a free trial of their logbook functionality. You can have a free month of their navigation and charting app, but the trial version locks you out of the logbook. One other note is that although the web portal will work on Widows or Mac, the mobile app is iPhone/iPad only. If you're an Android user who won't consider buying an iPad, ForeFlight is a difficult proposition.

Hopefully you'll never need to contact your eLogbook provider for support. However, I made customer service requests to most of the companies I looked at. Sadly, ForeFlight was the worst for response time. I sent two separate requests and it was weeks before I heard back from them at all. To their credit, they were enthusiastic and helpful once I talked to them.

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Garmin Pilot

Honestly, Garmin Pilot is just about as good as ForeFlight as a navigation/chart app. The only reason it isn't as big is that ForeFlight established a rock-solid brand before Garmin had a chance to get in on the action. What's more, Garmin Pilot works on both iOS and Android.

Garmin's logbook functionality isn't perfect either, but it has some nice features. It'll let you look at and edit your entires from its web portal, unlike ForeFlight. It also does logbook endorsements...the functionality isn't quite as good as ForeFlight, but it's good enough. Unfortunately, Garmin doesn't give many options for generating reports either.

The one downfall of Garmin Pilot's logbook functionality is probably a deal breaker for me: they don't let you define any custom types of flight time to keep track of. It would not be possible to keep track of the Airline's defintion of PIC time for your eventual application as well as the FAA's definition of PIC time for pursuing aeronautical ratings, insurance, and basically everyone else. You can't keep track of NVG time or assault landings or anything else that might matter to you personally.

I can't recommend Garmin Pilot unless they at least let users define custom types of flight time to log.

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Generic Excel

I'm not reviewing my own Excel product out of narcissism, but rather to provide a referene for comparison.

This Excel file is free, and you potentially get what you pay for, including zero customer support. However, I guarantee that you or someone you know is smart enough with Excel to customize this spreadsheet to your heart's content. Doing so will require a bit more effort than most of the other logbook apps here, but the customization options are limitless. Once you get your data entered, you could later import it into another logbook app if you want.

This spreadsheet doesn't include a separate Aircraft Table like the ones that all of the other apps here use. After the process of reviewing all these apps, building a table like that in Excel was more than I felt like doing for a giveaway product. You could build your own Aircraft Table and integrate it into this Excel workbook.

There is no built-in sync or cloud backup functionality, but all you have to do is hang it on Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud and you should be able to access it anywhere. Mobile phone-based programs for viewing and editing Excel spreadsheets are extremely cumbersome, but you could still use your phone to log flights on the road. The desktop interface, on the other hand, seems pretty great to me. It's easy to get to all your data, sort through it, resize columns, and edit entries.

This spreadsheet won't automatically generate an FAA Form 8710 or reports for AirlineApps.com or PilotCredentials.com. It doesn't have any automatic summaries of your flight time or track your currency. If you or a friend has even rudimentary Excel skills you could set it up to do so. It would take some work, but it's doable.

This spreadsheet won't import your flights or your schedule directly from your airline. However, if you can manually download data from your airline into a .csv file, it's actually pretty easy to import that data into this Excel spreadsheet.

I did my best to set this spreadsheet up so that you could print it out, sign each page, and take it directly to an airline interview. However, depending on your personal computer's settings that formatting might not be quite right. That means you'd have to work with the formatting for a while to come up with a paper printout that you're willing to take to an interview.

In my ever so humble opinion, this isn't a bad product for being free. It's probably more usable than a couple of the apps that I reviewed. However, using it effectively will require a bit of Excel programming/formatting work on your part and you'll never have a great way to access or input your data from a mobile device. Unless you're somewhat of a power user, you're probably better off looking at one of the other options.

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