What do you put in your flight log? - RC Groups
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Jan 05, 2003, 05:01 PM
Hairy E-Pilot
All__talk's Avatar

What do you put in your flight log?

Hey fellow flyers

Itís a new year and I was thinking about starting to log my flights and was wondering what information/parameters to keep track of. Of course there is the obvious like model, date and flight time, but what else do you guys find useful: time of day, temperature, battery??? I was thinking I would print out some pages to fill in at the field then input all the info on a spreadsheet on the computer so I could correlate the data. How do you guys do it?


P.S. Today is the first nice day of the year and I just came in from my first 3 flights of the year (2 on my Eco8 and 1 on the T-52), batteries are on the charger so I check back later.
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Jan 05, 2003, 05:24 PM
Mitch G's Avatar
I use a little spiral bound notebook (4x6?) and use a somewhat structured approach.

When starting a flying session, I enter the location, date, temperature, wind speed at the top of a new page. Each flight is identified by the plane and the battery pack being flown.

It's probably worth explaining how I identify my battery packs. Each battery pack I have has a unique identifier of the form:

<# of cells>-<capacity>-<chemistry>-<manufacturer>-<unique number starting at 1>.

So, my third 8x600AE pack would be identified as: 8-600-NC-SN-3. While, my first 10x3000 Panasonic pack is identified as, 10-3000-NM-PN-1.

So, an entry for a given flight will start with the plane (but I only re-write the plane if I have more than one plane that day that uses the same type of battery pack). Then I list the battery pack on a different line. Indented and below the battery pack line, each on separate lines, I list whether or not I repeaked the pack before flight, the length of the flight and any notes from the flight itself such as whether I performed some new stunt, or something.

Then, when I recharge the battery pack, I mark next to the pack identifier how much charge it took.

I personally like keeping a log since it's fun to look back over the past year to see how much flying I did. It's also helpful to guage the health of my battery packs.

Jan 05, 2003, 05:36 PM
Registered User
rcav8r2's Avatar
I used to keep a log for quite a few years. just the basics date/general weather, plane time of flight. Just like Mitch I used a spiral bound index card notebook. I kept a few days worth of entries per page; what ever fit. I also wrote a VB program to log it and run reports. Kinda fun, but data entry got to be a chore so I quite.

Some interesting facts from the log.

I started keping the log quite a few years; long after I started flying my Kadet. In the 4 or 5 years I kept the log, it had
629 flights with a total time of 15725 minutes or 262.0833etc hours. It owuld have been interesting to see how many there were since I started flying it.
I usually flew for 20-30 minutes....sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. I quite logging last year and the Kadet is still going strong.

I really should get back to logging.

PS would anyone be interested in an Access DB for keeping the log? My VB one is so riddled with potential user errors ( It took too much time to add an error check for every db entry, so there are none ) I could hack one out rather quickly and will give me insentive to get it done
Jan 06, 2003, 07:58 AM
Plane hugging cat
Vonbaron's Avatar
I like to keep a flight log so I can get an idea of motor life etc.

I don't record much. Just duration, motor and number of cells/prop usually.
Jan 06, 2003, 09:52 AM
in persuit of low wing loading
Gordon Johnson's Avatar
I have a medium sized loose leaf organizer that zips closed and has pockets for extra stuff. I print up log sheets for my battery packs and put them in the organizer, with tabs to separate different types of packs. Mostly I record charging information for the packs, which are labeled with a Brother label maker on light clear plastic labels. I take this organizer flying with me and it has pens, AMA card, etc, and is good for taking notes, or getting information from fellow flyers.

Jan 06, 2003, 10:31 AM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
I use a small hardback notebook, for each session I record:

Date, venue, time from-to, wind strength (Beaufort scale) and weather conditions, models flown and how many flights with each, then some narrative logging anything I was testing, changes since I last flew the model(s), any problems or damage, comments about duration, radio glitches - anything of interest really. At the end of each year I add up the number of flying sessions at each venue, the number of flights with each model, and the cumulative total flights for each model. Also any competition successes etc.

I keep a separate list of all the r/c planes I've built - just the name, make (if a kit or ARTF), date of 1st flight, date retired/sold/written off.

It only takes a minutes or two to write the log when I get home, with computer radios that memorise trim positions and the alarm timer setting for each model it's a bit less relevant nowadays but IMO still worth doing.

For indoor flying I've now switched to logging total flight time for each model at a session since my TX records that (starting and stopping with the throttle). Previously it was a complete guess how many flights I had during a 3 hour session (and what's a "flight" anyway?!).
Jan 06, 2003, 11:49 AM
A Clinger
rclark's Avatar
I just use a spreadsheet -- one per plane.

Header data includes plane name, when I got it, when built, what components used, total cost of plane, and total flights. Some other miscelaneous data also present like number of flights to $1 flights (easy to calculate in a spreadsheet).

The log itself is simple. Date, number of flights (battery discharges in my case), and a comments field for any significant events (370 motor burned out again for example) /observations (how did the bigger prop work?? for example) during the flights. Weather is mentioned if significant. The number of flights is then auto updated in the header.

Spreadsheets are excellent for logs in my opinion. Simple but work.

As Mitch all my batteries are numbered. Go no further than that.
Last edited by rclark; Jan 06, 2003 at 02:34 PM.
Jan 06, 2003, 12:42 PM
Space Coast USA
hoppy's Avatar
1. Date
2. Time
3. Weather wind/temp/dewpoint/sun
4. Field
5. Plane
6. Motor
7. Batteries
8. Prop
9. Charger
10. Transport Vehicle
11. Flight Number
12. Expected Flight Time
13. Actual Flight Time
14. Time of crash.
15. Hours to repair.

Jan 06, 2003, 11:30 PM
Plane hugging cat
Vonbaron's Avatar
Struth, you guys are so organised.
Jan 06, 2003, 11:51 PM
Registered User
I maintain two logs. The first contains radio and plane data. What planes are assigned to which radio and since I have a Spectra radio what frequencies. The planes are then numbered to match the radio assignments. The plane data contains basic plane info(ws.wgt,etc)as well as equipment used. I list receiver,servos.ESC,motor, gear box,prop and batteries used. I also list the initial flight date,total flights and write-off date.

The second is my flight log. In it I list the date,field,plane,flights and weather conditiond. I also note any unusual events. That's spelled C-R-A-S-H.
Jan 07, 2003, 01:16 AM
Hairy E-Pilot
All__talk's Avatar
Thanks for all the input guys, when I started to write down the data it occurred to me that it all starts with a charge on a battery, then there is a flight that follows, so that how I ordered the information. Hereís what I came up with, itís a data base written in MS Access, I even included a place for a associated picture. I printed out some blank forms to keep in the shop or take to the field, then I can inter the data later.

What do ya think?

Jan 07, 2003, 01:42 AM
Registered User
BEC's Avatar
My current practice is to have a side-bound 3X5 spiral notebook for each plane. In the beginning of the book I note completion date, intial equipment configuration (radio, motor, gearing, prop choice, etc.) and weights. Then for each session I note the date and the site. For each flight the flight number for the airplane, the battery I used and the flight time, followed by any notes that seem relevant at the time on how it flew, new maneuvers or other accomplishments, unusual events (including crashes). Configuration changes are noted in the book when they occur (trying new props, CG shifts, receiver/servo/speed control changes, that sort of thing).

I'll also note at each session some idea about the weather - keeping a copy of the Beaufort scale to refer to is a great idea since I seldom actually have my wind meter with me.

In general each battery cycle is a "flight" no matter how many touch and goes I shot. The only exceptions are if there's more than a few minutes between one landing and another takeoff. Then even if it's completing a discharge cycle, I call it another flight. I find this happening more and more with lithiums...... Sometimes I just can't stand to fly the whole thing out at one time.

Lately I've also started noting, from the back of the book forward, any static test numbers on power systems for/in that plane (RPM, current, voltage, power, prop, battery, motor, gearbox), rather than keeping that sort of thing in a separate book. It's easier to find that way in my messy workroom.

I sometimes also go through and add up times on motors or cycles on batteries (they each get a unique identifier, though not as well thought out as Mitch's system - more like "Kokam 1020X2 #1" or "300 NiMHX8 #3" or "P3000X10 #4") just for curiousity or to see how long it took a can brushed motor to wear out.

It might be fun to put this info into a computer, but I'm not sure I could stand to re-enter it all. Access, my goodness that's a major heavy duty tool for such a thing, no?
Last edited by BEC; Jan 07, 2003 at 01:45 AM.
Jan 07, 2003, 01:44 AM
Registered User
A great piece of work. The only suggestion I would make would be the addition of a comments area. Comes in handy to record any unusual occurances. I use that field quite often. If I experience anything out of the ordinary I can look back in my log to see if it has happened before. I even recorded spotting a Bald Eagle one day. Very rare sight indeed.

Jan 07, 2003, 04:35 AM
Registered User
kensp's Avatar
For a Flight Log I made a XL Spreadsheet with the following column headings for my latest aeroplane.

Flights Today.
Flights Total.
Flight Time Today.
Flight Time Total.

The initial set up of the aeroplane was entered in the first row comments without a day or date.
Day and date are generated automatically by XL
Flights Total is summed automatically by XL, as is Total Flight Time
I insert an extra row each time I change the set up of the aeroplane and record the new set up in the comments column
In future as I build a new aeroplane I will start a new spreadsheet.
I have a shortcut on my computer desktop to open the spreadsheet quickly.

Last edited by kensp; Jan 07, 2003 at 04:46 AM.
Jan 07, 2003, 06:03 AM
Registered User
A very interesting post, I too have kept a log using MS Access for the past 7 years. I have gone a bit further than All_Talk as I actually load key components into the data base so I know how many hours they have done and also if they were involved in any crashes. It may seem a overkill but over time I discovered that servos or Rx's that had been involved in some major or minor return to mother earth go intermittent so it has been very usefull.

Currently doing some mods to the database structure so that I can keep tab's of the EF flight packs as I use several on a daily sortee for just one a/c., this gives me a good indication of the number of cycles that packs have had again. At a lower level I can see who has flown my my aircraft and at which clubs. If you are interested I will let you have a copy when I have finished the modifications.

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