First Impressions


July 2005

Most pilots (and aircraft owners) are, by necessity, organized people; at least in the cockpit. However, organizational skills tend to break down when applied to keeping aircraft records. I can make that statement on this basis: Over the last twenty-three years, I can count on one hand the number of customers with organized (let alone complete) records to conclude an annual inspection. So, this month’s Shop Talk will address aircraft logbook and document organization. In the March 2005 issue, John Allen wrote about this subject from an insurance company’s point of view.


Years ago, I gave up the struggle when an owner comes in for their airplane’s annual inspection with a box of papers and logbooks. Now I just organize their documents for them as part of the inspection; no charge. For the owner, there are several good reasons to organize: FAR requirements (annotated with *carried in aircraft, **available elsewhere), warranty enforcement, resale value and research efficiency (less time/money spent in researching a maintenance procedure). Some of the items mentioned must be in the aircraft – the current Weight & Balance* and the current equipment list*. These are two items are duplicated and filed in this organizer; backup copies should the required documents become misplaced. By keeping all historical documents, an airplane’s history is easier to read; an airplane with a documented history is worth more. Here is KNR, Inc.’s method for organizing aircraft records from a mechanic’s point of view and to comply with the FARs.


Specialized tools are required - some common school supplies. Take this list to your favorite stationary store and let’s get started.

You will need:

One five-star Mead 1½” 3-ring zippered notebook (or equivalent)

Three 3-ring pencil pouches (with clear plastic on front of pouch)

One 50-count top-load crystal clear sheet protectors


  1. Begin by placing all the aircraft logbooks in one pencil pouch, all engine logbooks in the second pencil pouch, and all prop logbooks in the third pouch. If you have an AD style logbook, it will either fit in sheet protectors or you may punch three holes and insert it directly. The standard ASA type logbook, most commonly used for Mooneys, will fit in a pencil pouch. Put the logbooks** at the front of the notebook binder.
  2. Next the Weight & Balance sheets. Organize them with the most recent* on the top and the older ones behind. The clear sheet protectors allow for easy perusal.


  3. Equipment lists. Again, the copied most recent* on top.
  4. Next are all 337 forms** organized the same way.
  5. All STC documents**
  6. Any maintenance operating manuals that may go with installed equipment, that are not required to go in the POH. If possible, copy any manuals required in the POH and include them here, also.
  7. Follow with the 8130-3 airworthiness return-to-service tags** (yellow tags) for overhauled equipment such as magnetos or accessories.
  8. Service bulletins
  9. Warranty forms for any equipment installed.
  10. The back of the book should be used for maintenance receipts, aircraft parts purchased and any data from engine overhauls if it was done recently.
  • Don’t bother with oil or fuel receipts; your mechanic, FAA field inspectors and the insurance adjusters are not interested in these.


Only carry this organizer when your airplane is in for an annual or if the FAA asks for it. The logbooks and documents are a huge portion of the value of an airplane. If they are lost it will cost additional money during the annual inspection with value lost when you sell your plane. The owner is responsible for keeping complete and accurate aircraft logbooks.


A valuable service is available from the FAA Aircraft Registration Office in Oklahoma City. A CD-ROM for your aircraft with all the recorded data (registered owners, 337s, bills-of-sale) can be ordered for $6.25 (see below).. This will aid in researching items installed after the airplane left the Mooney factory new. If you are missing any 337 forms for installed equipment they may be recorded on this CD-ROM. However, do not be concerned if it does not have all 337s as the FAA has misplaced many. The registration office will need the N-number and serial number. Keep the CD-ROM with the airframe logbooks.


Below are photos of a typical binder. For about thirty bucks and two to three hours of your time, you can organize the life history of your airplane. This will pay off during a warranty claim, annual inspection or to impress an FAA inspector or better yet, that perspective airplane buyer.


As always, if you have a question about this article, you may contact me at my aircraft repair shop, 307-789-6866 or via e-mail. Until the next ShopTalk, enjoy flying your Mooney.



Aircraft CD-ROM

Order on-line at:

Or send $6.25 per CD-ROM with N-number, serial number and return address to:

Aircraft Registration Branch, AFS-750
PO Box 25504
Oklahoma City, OK 73125

For more information, call the Aircraft Registration Branch at 405-954-3116, or toll free at 866-762-9434.

Mead 5-star zippered notebook (try to match airplane’s accent color or repaint airplane)

Pencil pouches with logbooks

Sheet protectors with various documents