3 easy ways to log your drone flights

So you want to log all your drone flights? Good on you!

Here’s the next drone purchase you’ll need to make (that won’t cost an arm and a leg). It’s not some fancy gadget either. It’s a ‘drone logbook,’ and it comes in the form of free smart phone app or tangible notebook.

Why should you log your drone flights?

It’s a place to store important information — what drone you were using, flight type, location and maintenance concerns.

And if you are flying drones commercially, in the U.S. and many other countries, it’s the law. Commercial operators who have 333 exemptions and “blanket” COAs (Certificate of Waiver or Authorization) are required to file reports with the Federal Aviation Administration

And if — like me — you aren’t a commercial drone operator, it’s just sort of fun to see where you have flown, for how long, and document everything that happened for each flight.

Here are some of my top picks:

hover app

Hover: best for casual pilots who want a digital flight log system

Hover works with all drones and has easy to use flight logs that are automatically backed up and exportable.  The flight logs automatically pull in weather and position data so you only need to fill out a few notes after your flight.  In addition to the flight logs, Hover enables pilots to check no-fly zones and weather pre-flight.

kittyhawk

Aloft (formerly known as Kittyhawk): best for enterprise operations

The company formerly known as Kittyhawk first launched as post-flight logging utility. Since then the company has moved into more aspects of operations, including mission planning, pre-flight checklists, ability to see live flight traffic and flight logging. It rebranded to take the name Aloft, and since then it’s become a powerhouse in making all sorts of drone flight management software.

These days it has robust options including Aloft Air Control which can be used for UAS fleet management and flight ops and can handle pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight workflows.

log drone flights jonathan rupprecht

Drone Operator’s Logbook by Jonathan Rupprecht: best for a written logbook

This logbook takes things analog, with an 118-page custom notebook created by commercial pilot and lawyer, Jonathan Rupprecht.

It’s a simple logbook — intended to make it easy for commercial operators to log drone flights and file reports with the FAA. And it’s a must-have for people needing to report in countries outside of the U.S. where it’s required.

But it’s more than a logbook too. It provides step-by-step instructions for best practices of logging flights and clearly outlines reporting requirements.

What’s so appealing about having a hard-copy, rather than a digital logbook? No data theft, it’s easy to flip through pages to show off to potential clients (and build that professional credibility), and for many, it’s simply easier than typing into a smartphone screen. Not to mention, you don’t have to mess around with dead smartphone batteries or no cell reception.

It’s also perfectly sized — large enough to document hundreds of flights, but small and light enough that it could be tucked into most drone cases or backpacks.

The Drone Operator’s Logbook costs about $15 on Amazon.

4 Comments

  • YvesJusot says:

    You should also look at http://www.DroneLogbook.com:
    – Support import of more than 20 log file type: DJI, 3DR, SenseFly, Yuneec…etc
    Display in 2D and 3D the flight track.
    – Manage your Drone, Equipment, Locations, Battery cycles, maintenance, incident.
    – Mission planning with Airmap airspace information
    – Create Pre-flight documents: Custom checklists, Risk Assessment, Approvals…etc
    – Print your legal report: FAA, CAA, CASA, DGAC and more.
    – Mobile app for offline use: Android, iOS (smartphone and tablet).
    – Unlimited data storage available from Free plan.

    Information on our plans and main features, here: https://www.dronelogbook.com/subscriptions.php

    Fly Safe!
    DroneLogbook team

    • Dronelogbook is working out to be my choice as a single-operator. The interface is easy and intuitive, importing logs is super simple compared to the other options. The mobile app is easy to use as well.
      Skyward seems like a more corporate version of dronelogbook. It has a lot of great looking professional features but is relatively cumbersome and time consuming for the single-operator setup.
      DLB is definitely worth checking out!

  • Colene says:

    Hurrah! Finally I got a blog from where I know how to truly obtain useful facts concerning my study and knowledge.|

  • Kevin says:

    Kittyhawk.io has made dramatic enhancements since this article was written. Simple to use, but packed with all the professional features you’d want. They’ll even have LAANC built in soon. Way more than just a logbook – this doesn’t do it justice! This page needs an update. 😀

Leave a Reply