As an aircraft owner, you know how important your maintenance records are. Keeping them safe and up to date is the mission of the new web portal recently launched by PlaneLogiX with the tagline “You belong in the clouds. Your maintenance records belong in the cloud.”
It’s all about digitizing those all-important records to not only keep them safe, but to make regular maintenance — and those unexpected trips to the mechanic — a lot easier, which translates to a lot less money.
Automated logbooks have been available to jet owners and corporate aircraft departments for years. Now they are available to the average general aviation pilot who thought that this kind of service was priced way out of their budget, according to Will Goldstein, who founded PlaneLogiX with Robert Wilkes.
The company launched in 2014 offering a service to aircraft owners where they would hand transcribe old logbooks, creating digital versions that are easily searched and easily stored. But a web portal was always the plan, according to the 20-something entrepreneurs, who say this is their “prize product.”
For as little as $7 a month, aircraft owners have access to the web portal, where they can track every imaginable maintenance item, from what parts are installed on their aircraft, to Service Bulletins, Airworthiness Directives, and more.
What’s more, the aircraft owners can give access to the portal to their mechanic, who can search records at lightening speed, saving time and money.
While all the records are digitized and searchable, looking at an original document is important. That’s why there’s a place where you can click and a scan of the original document — including signatures — pops up.
“It saves time — and headaches,” Goldstein said.
It also preserves your logbooks, which is invaluable, especially when it’s time to sell.
“We usually say people lose about 30% or more of their aircraft’s value if the logbooks are missing, but other people say it can be close to 50%,” he said. “That’s the core of our service – to protect those logbooks.”
He added that many aircraft owners don’t realize that maintenance shops are only required to hold on to records from an annual inspection for one year.
“A lot of owners keep their records at the maintenance shop because they think the records will be safer there,” he said. “But what about water damage or fire? Many aircraft owners also assume that the maintenance shop has the records backed up somewhere, but many shops get rid of the records as soon as they can to decrease their liability.”
Another benefit to the digitized records is that they will remind the mechanic of everything that must be done.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for a mechanic to forget that a pilot flies IFR and so won’t conduct certain inspections, he noted.
“If the instruments are not calibrated, it’s illegal to fly the plane,” he said.
A reminder feature built into the system emails owners about needed maintenance, inspections, Service Bulletins, ADs, and other important items.
“It’s like an added peek over their shoulders,” Goldstein said.
The web portal also gives owners a lot of information about their plane in one place. For instance, click on a button and there’s a chart that shows your engine’s compression over time, which helps you track trends and performance.
You can also upload images of your aircraft, an invoice, or anything else that you believe is pertinent to the upkeep of your aircraft.
Cost varies according to the aircraft, which ranges from the simplest piston-powered airplane to jets and turboprops. It also varies according to how much work the aircraft owner wants to do themselves or how much they want to outsource to the folks at PlaneLogiX.
Once they set up an account, the airplane owner can add in all the pertinent information or they can send their logbooks — or scans of their logbooks — to PlaneLogiX’s headquarters in North Carolina, where someone there will hand-type everything in.
Many who own older aircraft will choose to transcribe just the last few years of logbooks, rather than decades of information, Goldstein noted.
Right now, a subscription starts at $6.95 a month, or $59.95 a year, gradually increasing as PlaneLogiX takes on more of the work. A 30-day trial is available, with no credit card needed.
“The average piston aircraft owner pays about $140 a year,” Goldstein reported.
The company is now working on a module specifically for maintenance shops, he added.
“A lot of shops are eager to try it out,” he said. “It makes for less paperwork. We’re just waiting on the stamp of approval from the FSDO.”
Also ready to launch: An iOS app.
Want to try it yourself?
PlaneLogiX is offering readers of General Aviation News a coupon, which never expires, to receive 5% off their one-time fee upon check out. You must enter the coupon code, GANews5, to receive the discount.