Hi Adam and Chris,
I have a unique question. When a pilot is ready to start applying to airline jobs at 1500 hours, how is that individuals flight time verified? The reason I ask is because my flight bag (containing my log book) was stolen out of my vehicle shortly after I received my PPL. (Yes, it was stupid of me to leave it in my car for 20 min and I certainly learned my lesson) Although I hadn’t built much time since receiving my PPL when this unfortunate event occurred, it was meaningful time as it was essentially all the time I accumulated while I was away at college and unable to fly often. Say approximately 50 hours in a Piper Archer and Cirrus SR20. Before it was stolen, I had switched to a different flight school in the bay area since my previous flight school changed ownership and got rid of a lot of planes. So the new school I switched to had seen my log book and verified my hours with me when I checked out in their aircraft before the the log book was stolen. When it was stolen, I was a bit distraught and wanted to do everything I could to sort out the mess. I contacted the FAA and had them send me a copy of my PPL on paper, verifying the flight time I had accumulated up to the point of receiving the license. To make things more complicated, the flight school that I had previously rented aircraft from couldn’t verify the time I had PIC in a Cirrus SR20 and Piper Archer because with the ownership change, came a new system or something that wouldn’t allow them to verify my individual rental time as a past student. Also, instructors I had trained with at that school have since moved on. My current flight school (the new one) had records of my total flight time from when I applied to rent from their aircraft line and the chief instructor there told me to make a separate entry per aircraft type for total hours flown in that aircraft before I started flying with them. This is what I’m now using as my current log book now. I’m not looking at my logbook right now, but my first two entries show a combined total of approximately 120 hrs between two aircraft, the Archer and the SR20 from the first flight school who cant verify the time after receiving my PPL up to the point of leaving. I’ve since flown a bit more and logged the flights normally in the same book and am not worried about my current school verifying the time I’ve flown in their aircraft, I just really don’t want to lose those 50 or so hours (mostly in the pricey Cirrus) since flight time is the objective at this point for me. Sorry for the confusing detail. It really was a mess but Im back to normal time logging now. Any insight would be appreciated so I can prepare for this before starting with ATP next year or before interviews in a few years. Thank you!
While this may sound strange, as important as flight time is, your logbook is really based to a large degree on “the honor system”. When you think about a pilot could stick in an erroneous entry or 2 (or 50) and would anyone really take the time to verify the N#, airport, hours etc? No. There has to be some level of trust. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It was early in your flying, I’d write a notation next to the hours with as much info as possible. During your interview I’d get in front of it before asked. In short you’ll be fine.
It sounds like you have covered your bases as much as possible on this one. Just document whatever you can, bring that to the interview and explain it, you will be fine.
At the time, it felt like quite a dagger but I feel much better now. Thank you both.
Well guys, the nightmare continues. The better part of the past year I’ve been working on the instrument rating at a part 61 school in Northern California. I’ve gotten some good experience in actual and lots under the hood, fulfilled the requirements, and have had a blast learning along the way. I’ve logged 68 hours in the plane in simulated and actual and even more in the sim. Its been costly (bay area) but worth it to me. Passed the written with a 100 after studying hard for weeks. I feel ready; my instructor says I’m ready. Checkride scheduled for next Tuesday. I had created a spreadsheet for the 50 hours cross country time requirement detailing every flight. About half of the time was recreated from memory as I had stated in my former post my first flight school where I rented from changed ownership, got a whole different rental fleet, and also changed their accounting system before my first logbook was stolen. These flights weren’t hard for me to recreate as most of them were from Northern California to SoCal in 2010-11, and most often involved some of my friends and I going to an event, so I was able to recollect exact dates. I then derived flight times based off the routes flown and the aircraft performance adding 20 min for start, taxi, run up, and 10 min for taxi and parking. The rest of the flights I can back up with supplemental documentation as I have rental receipts from another flight school I rented from (about 10 hrs). I was still slightly short on XC time but with the required IFR XC flight my instructor and I topped off the requirement with a finishing total of 51.7 XC hours at this point in my career. To be sure, I wanted to check that everything would go over smooth on exam day so my instructor emailed the spreadsheet and my cover letter that provides context to my DPE I’m scheduled with to make sure there were no surprises. Yesterday he indicated to my instructor there was an issue, but my CFI was flying and didn’t have time to work it out so I called the DPE myself. Basically, he says that even though the logbook itself is the honor system, the spreadsheet is different than that and he is afraid to put his certificate on the line. I understood.
Can’t say that I’m not losing sleep on it at this point. I have 27 hours XC time and even more PIC time (for the bigger picture of airline mins) that cant be verified from my flights in an Archer II post PPL from that first school I rented from. Looks like I’ll have to reschedule the checkride, only problem is I have some commitments coming up in the next two-three weeks (helping GF move to grad school, family vacation) so basically I’m thinking I’ll be rusty on the gauges when I get back plus I’ll have to go fly somewhat meaningless VFR XC flights solo to prove that I have the OFFICIALLY LOGGED XC time. All in all I see it as a 2-3 month set back given my schedule, plane availability, and the fact I’ll need to sharpen up after 2-3 weeks not flying IFR. I know to you guys with thousands of hours this may seem minuscule but to me its a nightmare. Im running out of savings for training and I need to get working in the industry as fast as I can. I feel like ill always have to be 75 hours over the minimums for every requirement along the way for every checkride because thats roughly the flight time I cant verify other than my word and my signature.
Do you guys have any tissue? Haha. Words of advice? Is the DPE by any chance wrong on this?
*correction, did not add 20 min for start, taxi, run up or 10 for taxi and parking…but rather 0.3 hrs for all of it together.
I’d visit the local FSDO and get their take on it. While I understand the DPEs concern, if you’re willing to sign your name to the flight time, have receipts etc. he should be covered. Moreover if the FSDO says it’s cool then he should have no issues at all.
Thanks Adam, nobody had ever recommended the FSDO to me so I hadn’t thought of it but I have a call into them. Hoping they can get back to me before next Tuesday!
No worries Nick.
Many people avoid the FAA but I’ve found them to be very helpful at times. Let us know how you make out.
If I were the DPE, I would be very hesitant to sign my name onto the certificate based off recreated flight times from memory. Unfortunately, I think you may have to re-fly the flight time.
I don’t think the DPE is wrong. They’re just not comfortable with they nature of your logbook. I like Adam’s suggestion. See what the FSDO says.
I certainly understand the DPE’s concern. I’d be hesitant if I was in his position to. I want to do everything by the book, but unfortunately there is nothing in the book on this. I spoke to a former POI at the FSDO. He applauded me for bringing it to the table and making it known to everyone involved as some might have chosen to just pad their logbooks with phony numbers for 2 years worth of flying. Like you said Adam, he said the logbook is the honor system and my spreadsheet is no different, but unfortunately it’s all comes down to my DPE and what he decides. He is calling his POI to get advice so I guess it really comes down to what that person says. Ahh fun stuff…really wish there was something in the FAR’s on this, that way I would have a definitive answer. Seems like there should be but I’ll just have to go with whatever the DPE says. Unfortunately after 11 months of instrument training, im not sure I’ll have the money to fly another 27 hrs and complete the rest of my ratings. The former POI I spoke with said I could book another DPE that was willing to do it, but there all booking 2 months out in Northern California from what I hear.
I didn’t choose to go to ATP because it wouldn’t allow me to live at home and I wanted to work on a side gig while doing the flight training and spend time with family/gf. I thought the accelerated program might be too fast but none of this stuff is that difficult, especially the more often you do it. Right now at my 61 school I’m 3 days a week. My original goal was to have the IRA in 6 months. I’m embarrassed to say but I’ve spent upwards of 35-40k on the IRA alone but I feel my flight school has milked me and continued to do so even after me mentioning it. At 4.5 months in I had already been charged for 90 hours of ground time at $110/hr! I’m afraid to look at what it’s at now but I can tell you not all of that time is talking instrument flying even though I try to command the conversation as best as I can. Thought I could save at a 61 and man am I regretting that decision. I know some people have saved going my route but I want people to know about my experience. Oh well, onwards and forwards, one day at a time.
Almost forgot, thank you Tory and Chris for your input. It’s all taken into account and I value your thoughts.
Really sounds like a tough situation. Best of luck to you.