Flight logs for your aerial drone will help you keep track of your flights, including weather, operating conditions, drone performance, and any incidents that may have legal implications. Flight logs are not mandated by the FAA, but they are recommended as a good practice to: (1) Track your flying hours; (2) Track your drone’s flight time and flight characteristics; and (3) Document your drone’s repairs and maintenance.
What does the FAA have to say?
FAA Advisory Circular 107-2 (June 2016, canceled on 2/1/2021). Paragraph 7.3.5 states the FAA recommends recordkeeping with these words:
Small UAS owners and operators may find recordkeeping to be beneficial. This could be done by documenting any repair, modification, overhaul, or replacement of a system component resulting from normal flight operations, and recording the time-in-service for that component at the time of the maintenance procedure.
The key word is “recommended” as there is no requirement in 14 CFR Part 107 for remote pilots to keep flight logs.
What does your Insurance Company have to say?
The insurance companies that we have done business with have no requirement for pilots to keep flight logs. However, you may want to read your policy or check with your agent to be certain.
Tips for Flight Logs
FAD-Photo keeps flight logs for all of our drone flights. (We also keep copies of all flight programs, photos and videos for at least three years.) We offer these tips for developing your own flight log. Your template can be created on a word processor, with these suggested text boxes:
- Date and time of lift-off
- Flight time
- Cumulative flying time
- Battery ID, charge level at start and finish
- Location, client, and purpose of flight
- Flight control app
- Max altitude, distance, and speed
- Weather conditions
- Flight notes, such as drone issues, photos taken, videos, flight control file names, etc.
Flight logs provide evidence of the number of your flight hours, number of flights, and the ability to review past flight information. Flight logs are particularly useful if you want to repeat a drone session for a client. If it’s been a while, the log will help you to locate the flight program. For example, if you need to record project progress or recapture an event, such as for insurance claims or change of seasons.