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Lost Logbooks/ Jun 5, 2015 ()

Gathering Lost Maintenance Records

“The records specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall be retained until the work is repeated or superseded by other work or for 1 year after the work is performed.” ~FAR 91.417

The Main Points

  1. Losing your logbooks can result in a hefty discount when it comes time to sell
  2. Every owner should have a digital copy of their logbooks
  3. “Scrapbooking” lost logbooks back together is extremely costly/time consuming and you will likely never get the logbooks back to original form
  4. Clean and organized records adds value to your ownership experience, and to the buyer when it comes time to sell
  5. FAR 91.417(1)(b)(1) requires shops to only keep maintenance records for one year!
  6. Having persistent records via digital backups is ideal

As an aircraft owner you have likely heard this: “If you lose your logbooks, you could lose up to 50% of your aircraft’s value.”

At the very least, every owner should have a digital copy of his/her maintenance records (if you need some help with this, just give us a call), but what’s even more critical is understanding why you need a digital copy of your maintenance records. Maintenance records are typically divided into three major categories (excluding governor & APU logbooks) and contain information ranging from oil changes to major airframe alterations Some owners have a fourth category- the avionics logbooks. We find avionics logbooks to be hit or miss. Most of the time we see entries that belong in the avionics logbooks scattered about in the airframe logbooks reducing the usefulness of these logbooks. We ascribe to the KISS philosophy- Keep it simple stupid.

There is nothing nicer for a current owner, or even a prospective buyer, to have a clean and organized set of records. Having a set of clean and organized logbooks adds value to you as an owner, and to the buyer when it comes time to sell. What happens, however, if these records are lost and a digital backup is nowhere to be found?

Most will say, “Well, I will start by making some calls to maintenance shops based on memory and work my way through the aircraft’s history.” Good luck! Unless your aircraft had maintenance performed at only a few shops, you will spend a tremendous amount of time attempting to scrapbook your aircraft’s maintenance history together. What's even worse is the fact that FAR 91.417(1)(b)(1) states: “The records specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall be retained until the work is repeated or superseded by other work or for 1 year after the work is performed.” Maintenance shops are well aware of this and most maintenance shops want to mitigate their exposure and potential liability…

There is a right way, and a wrong way, to back up your maintenance records, but regardless, back up your logbooks today!