Eddie sez:

There was once a huge controversy over what exactly constitutes a journey logbook. Everybody agreed you had to have one, but what is it? The original requirement was set out in 1944 without a precise definition. ICAO Annex 6 changed all that a few years ago, but we are still left with a decision on where the book should be kept.

The only document we have that comes even close to satisfying all the requirements are the Flight and Maintenance Log that we complete for every flight. You will have to examine your version to see if it also satisfies the ICAO.

As for how long you need to keep it on the aircraft, that's where it gets tricky. More on that below.

For you grammar fans, I agree it should be "logbook" (one word) but the original Chicago Convention uses two, so I'll do that here.

Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.

Last revision:


Where (and when) it all started . . .

[1944 ICAO Chicago Convention, Article 34] There shall be maintained in respect of every aircraft engaged in international navigation a journey log book in which shall be entered particulars of the aircraft, its crew and of each journey, in such form as may be prescribed from time to time pursuant to this Convention.


Photo: The 1944 Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation
Click photo for a larger image

Updated Guidance for Commercial Operators

[ICAO Annex 6 Part I]

11.4.1. The aeroplane journey log book should contain the following items and the corresponding roman numerals:

  1. Aeroplane nationality and registration.
  2. Date.
  3. Names of crew members.
  4. Duty assignments of crew members.
  5. Place of departure.
  6. Place of arrival.
  7. Time of departure.
  8. Time of arrival.
  9. Hours of flight.
  10. Nature of flight (private, aerial work, scheduled or non-scheduled).
  11. Incidents, observations, if any.
  12. Signature of person in charge.

11.4.2 Recommendation.— Entries in the journey log book should be made currently and in ink or indelible pencil.

11.4.3 Recommendation.— Completed journey log book should be retained to provide a continuous record of the last six months’ operations.

Paragraph 11.4.3 recommends the journey log book be "retained" but doesn't say it has to be on the aircraft. I think if you have electronic access to them you should be okay.

[EASA Air Ops Annex 1 to VIII] §AMC1 ORO.MLR.110]

  1. The aircraft journey log, or equivalent, should include the following items, where applicable:
    1. aircraft nationality and registration,
    2. date,
    3. name(s) of crew member(s),
    4. duty assignments of crew member(s),
    5. place of departure,
    6. place of arrival,
    7. time of departure,
    8. time of arrival,
    9. hours of flight,
    10. nature of flight (scheduled or non-scheduled),
    11. incidents, observations, if any,
    12. signature of person in charge.
  2. The information, or parts thereof, may be recorded in a form other than on printed paper. Accessibility, usability and reliability should be assured.
  3. 'Journey log, or equivalent' means that the required information may be recorded in documentation other than a log book, such as the operational flight plan or the aircraft technical log.
  4. 'Series of flights' means consecutive flights, which begin and end:
    1. within a 24-hour period;
    2. at the same aerodrome or operating site or remain within a local area specified in the operations manual; and
    3. with the same pilot-in-command/commander of the aircraft.

Updated Guidance for General Aviation

[ICAO Annex 6 Part II]

2.8.2 A journey log book shall be maintained for every aeroplane engaged in international air navigation in which shall be entered particulars of the aeroplane, its crew and each journey. Recommendation.—The aeroplane journey log should contain the following items:

  1. aeroplane nationality and registration;
  2. date;
  3. crew member names and duty assignments;
  4. departure and arrival points and times;
  5. purpose of flight;
  6. observations regarding the flight; and
  7. signature of the pilot-in-command.

[EASA Air Ops Annex 1 to VIII, §GM1 ORO.MLR.110] Particulars of the aircraft, its crew and each journey shall be retained for each flight, or series of flights, in the form of a journey log, or equivalent.

We scan every flight log and have it electronically available at our home base on a full time, secured, network drive. We can download any log from anywhere with an Internet connection. We only carry enough past flight logs on the aircraft to prove a maintenance airworthiness release, a valid VOR check, and an RVSM check. Will this pass muster? I think so. I have been SAFA ramp checked and the subject never came up.

See Also:

Convention on International Civil Aviation Done at Chicago on the 7th Day of December 1944

EASA Air Ops Annex 1 to VIII, European Aviation Safety Agency, 09 May 2017

ICAO Annex 6 - Operation of Aircraft - Part I Commercial Aircraft, International Standards and Recommended Practices, Annex 6 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Part I, Eleventh Edition, July 2018

ICAO Annex 6 - Operation of Aircraft - Part II General Aviation, International Standards and Recommended Practices, Annex 6 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Part II, Tenth Edition, July 2018