Garmin released a big update to their Garmin Pilot aviation app back at Oshkosh, adding a new Nearest function to the moving map and a dedicated logbook feature. While several apps already provide basic flight logging features, Garmin’s new logbook takes this capability to a new level with a feature powerful enough that it could stand on its own as a dedicated app.
The big benefit Garmin achieved by incorporating it right into the app is that it will auto-log your flights when your iPad is connected to a GPS, saving you the hassle of entering routine data after each flight. Here we’re going to run through each section of the new logbook to show you what all it can do.
To access the Logbook press the Home button at the top left corner of the screen, and tap the dedicated Logbook button. You’ll start off on the Entries page, which shows your most recent entries on the left side of the screen and flight details on the right. But before logging your first flight you’ll want to head over to the logbook Settings page to set up a few preferences, which is accessed by pressing the settings button at the lower right.
Here you’ll want to set up your aircraft profiles, enter you personal pilot information, and set up your automatic flight log preferences. This will save you time down the road and ensures that the logbook is best suited to the type of flying you regularly do. For example you can specify which flight times the app should autofill, what info is carried over from entry to entry, minimum GPS speed used to start the auto-logging feature and a default amount of taxi time to add to each flight.
While in the Settings you’ll want to add the details for the aircraft types you fly most often by selecting “Manage Aircraft Types” at the top of the page. Here you can add the details for each make and model you typically fly, like airplane category, number of engines, and whether it’s complex and/or high-performance. This will save you time when logging each flight, and allows the logbook to automatically determine your takeoff/landing, instrument and tailwheel currency, etc., based on the aircraft configuration.
You’ll find it easiest to use the Auto Flight Logging feature and let the app do most of the data-entry for you. While on takeoff roll, Garmin Pilot detects a change in groundspeed and altitude, which initiates the logbook function to automatically begin recording. Pertinent information such as date, duration, total flight time, route and the number of flight segments are automatically recorded and logged within Garmin Pilot, creating a provisional logbook entry for you to review.
You can then modify the provisional log entries or manually add flight information into the logbook as needed. Additional data fields may also be manually entered to specify aircraft type and identifier, hobbs and tachometer times, as well as pilot-in-command, solo, cross-country, actual and simulated instrument flight time. The data is automatically saved when entered in the app, and is also backed up to flyGarmin.com for redundancy. You can also use the “Add Entry” button to manually enter flight data for times when you don’t have the app with you.
The large number of data-entry fields in each log may seem overwhelming at first, but they’ve really done a nice job with covering just about every detail you may want to capture from a flight. You can even track fuel burn, expenses and have your flight instructor add a signature for training flights using the touchscreen. There is a “Configure Fields” button at the top of the entry screen that allows you to hide items that aren’t pertinent to your type of flying, allowing you to quickly customize the logbook to your needs.
In addition to allowing your CFI to sign each training flight, Garmin’s logbook also includes an Endorsement feature to keep track of requirements like Flight Reviews, IPCs, Complex and High-Performance aircraft endorsements. You’ll add each endorsement just like a flight log entry and then enter the specifics. For example, when selecting the Flight Review option, the app automatically includes the exact FAA wording for the endorsement and appropriate fields for your CFI to add their information and signature.
Student pilots can use this too during flight training to officially record endorsements for the Pre-Solo Knowledge Test, 90-day solo, cross-country solo, Class B solo and more. There is also an option to add a custom endorsement when needed for less common requirements.
The best thing about using an electronic logbook is the data analysis and reporting tools. The Garmin logbook does a nice job here and continually evaluates your flights to let you know whether or not you are current for things like carrying passengers at night, flying IFR or carrying passengers in a tailwheel airplane. You can view this information in the Currency section of the logbook, and just like the rest of the app this function is completely customizable based on how you fly.
Start by pressing the “Add Currency Type” button at the top of the Currency page, and select one of the options listed here. They are broken down by currency type, and then airplane category and class. This allows you to keep track of both day and night currency for each type of airplane you fly, separated out by single or multi-engine airplane for example. Each currency line also includes important details like when the currency was last met, when it expires and how many days are remaining until expiration. Each currency line includes color-coded green or red symbols to help you view your status with a quick glance.
In addition to FAA-mandated currency, you can also keep track of maintenance requirements based on Hobbs or Tach times, rental currency requirements based on your flight school’s limitations, or your own personal safety minimums.
Lastly, you can use the Reports page to view all your flight data in nicely organized reports. You can sort it by a wide variety of date ranges (e.g. last 7 days, last 12 months, last year, etc.) or limit only to certain aircraft types. This is a great resource when it comes time to fill out your annual pilot information form for your insurance company since all the information is neatly organized and compiled in one location. If you’re using the GPS auto-logging function, you’ll even get insight into information like average/maximum speed for your flights, maximum altitudes and total distance travelled.
The Garmin Pilot logbook feature is included with all Garmin Pilot subscription levels and is a must-use resource for pilots flying with the app. As previously mentioned all the data is backed up and synced to flyGarmin.com, which you can also use to view, enter and edit flights using your computer’s web browser. There are few unique features in the web version of the logbook, like the ability to export a report formatted for entry in FAA Form 8710 (Airman Certification and/or Rating Application), making it a snap to fill out the required flight times when getting ready for an FAA flight test.