LogTen Pro 5.1.4 and LogTen Mobile 2.4.1
LogTen Pro 5.1.4
LogTen Mobile 2.4.1
Developer: Coradine Aviation Systems
Requirements: iPhone OS 2.2.
Trial: Feature-limited (“Basic” version free in App Store).
The last time ATPM looked at LogTen was five years and three major versions ago, back when Mac OS X 10.3 was the latest and greatest and the iPhone was just a pipe dream on rumor sites. While LogTen still works as a fantastic pilot logbook, enough has changed that it’s worth another look.
The biggest change since the 2.5 era is that LogTen Pro is once again a single product. LogTen Express has disappeared, and with that disappearance the cost of entry has risen to $100. That’s $10 more than LogTen Pro was five years ago, but the newest version is far more powerful than—and just as fast as—its predecessor.
The tremendous popularity of the iPhone made making a mobile version of LogTen a no-brainer. While there is a basic version available for free, the real functionality is in LogTen Mobile, a $40 application targeted primarily at professional pilots earning a paycheck from their flying.
Since the last review, when I was still a student, I have been both a flight instructor and an airline pilot. As my day job is now that of an airline first officer, the review is primarily from that perspective, although I’ve tried to be as universal as I can in my evaluation. For privacy reasons, some of the screenshot data has been blurred to protect the identities of my current employer and co-workers.
New pilots just starting off are greeted with a splash screen of sorts, offering a variety of different configurations for the user to select. As you can see from the screenshot, anyone from student pilots all the way up to airline captains is covered. Each of the various base configurations can be further customized to the user’s liking later on.
Once you’ve selected a configuration, the main window appears with your logbook laid out like a giant spreadsheet.
Data can be entered directly in the table—and yes, the various columns can be customized or hidden entirely—or via a “details” view that can be shown with the widget in the bottom-right corner.
LogTen Pro now has the ability to manage not only flight data, but also data pertaining to the aircraft you’ve flown, the airports you’ve visited, the people you’ve flown with (including, for airline types, cabin crewmembers, and for instructor types, students), and the certificates you hold. There was rudimentary certificate management in LogTen 2.5, but version 5 has the ability to associate specific certificates with individual flights.
The Aircraft manager allows you to see at a glance how much total time you have in any given aircraft. The Types manager (not shown) does the same for individual types.
The Places manager shows all the airports you’ve visited, along with far more data than you ever wanted to know about each one.
The People manager allows you to track the other crewmembers, instructors, passengers, or students you’ve flown with, along with their capacities on each flight.
Each of the various managers has a miniature version of the main table filled with data applicable to whatever is selected in the manager. For instance, in the screenshot of the Aircraft manager above, you can see a table of all the flights I’ve done in that particular aircraft. A minor annoyance is that these mini-tables do not retain their sort state across launches of LogTen Pro. A larger annoyance is that the tables in the various managers don’t, either. The main Flights table, which is where most of the action happens anyway, does, so it’s not a big deal for most people, and the developer, who remains extremely responsive to user feedback, has promised he’ll look into this.
The whole point of an electronic logbook is to simplify data entry and analysis. To this end, one of the biggest new features in LogTen Pro 5 is schedule importing for most airlines. While having a direct connection to a company database is still essentially impossible for most airline pilots, there’s a versatile importer that allows for copy-and-paste input of the vast majority of airline schedule formats.
Schedule Importer — Main Window
There are a few electronic formats still unsupported, but the team at Coradine has done an excellent job of adding support for unrecognized formats in minor updates.
Importing data from other logbook programs has also been greatly improved since the last review. Both CSV and tab-separated formats are supported, and with a few exceptions, other logbook programs—even those on Windows—can be coerced into providing data in these formats.
Reports and Smart Groups
While the new schedule importer simplifies the data entry half of the equation, the report generator and smart groups are even better than before. The report generator is still the means by which a paper logbook can be generated, but now there are options to fill nearly every possible need. WebKit is still the brains behind the report generator, so if you need a logbook format that isn’t included in the application, it’s easy to create one with some basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Got a checkride coming up? Your FAA 8710 report is just a few seconds away.
Need to update your résumé or fill out a job application? Total flight experience and time by type reports are easy to generate, too.
Report — Flight Experience
LogTen Pro has dispensed entirely with the custom (and FAA-specific) currency tracker that was incorporated into version 2.5 and now uses Smart Groups for everything. It ships with a set of Smart Groups that address landings and instrument currency. For airline pilots, tracking flight- and duty-time limitations is similarly easy; there are Smart Groups for 30-in-7, 100-in-30, and 1000/year that keep you apprised of any limitations you’re approaching.
Smart Group — Day Landings Currency
Smart Group — 30-in-7 Limits
Making custom Smart Groups is easy, too, if you have other needs, and all the default groups can be customized if your regulating authority has different limitations.
Smart Group — Seaplane Time
Accompanying LogTen Pro and making the airline pilot’s life even easier is the LogTen Mobile application for the iPhone. While it’s primarily useful for airline pilots, I would have found it valuable as an instructor as well. It’s easier to carry an iPhone than a Mac, and updating flight times is just a matter of a few taps on the screen no matter what sort of aviating you do.
Mobile — Flights View
The main flights view in LogTen Mobile shows your most recent completed flights in grey (the default is the last 20, though you can make this larger at the expense of speed in launching the application on the phone) and future scheduled flights in orange. Tapping on a flight brings up a detail view where you can review and edit the details of a particular flight. The editing isn’t as full-featured as it is in the desktop application—you can’t manage aircraft, airports, or crewmembers—but it gets the job done, and all the important stuff is covered. You can easily add flights from the phone itself if need be, though I personally greatly prefer adding flights via LogTen Pro and a regular keyboard. (Deleting flights is easy in both applications.)
Mobile — Current Flight View
Mobile — Future Flight View
LogTen Mobile also allows you to see, at a glance, a Totals report similar to the résumé report in LogTen Pro, an overview of common duty- and flight-time limitations, and the status of your various pilot, instructor, and medical certificates.
Mobile — Totals View
Mobile — Limits View
Finally, and most importantly, LogTen Mobile supports syncing with LogTen Pro so that the data on both is always current. Syncing is only supported via WiFi (Apple has yet to open up the USB sync API on the iPhone to third-party developers, so the only thing that happens when you connect the iPhone to your Mac is a normal backup of LogTen Mobile’s application data), and some users have found WiFi sync to be problematic. I’ve been using it without issue for several months, however.
Mobile — Certificates View
Mobile — Syncing
The Bottom Line
The value proposition is pretty much the same as it’s always been. Neither LogTen Pro or Mobile is priced to be an “impulse buy,” but neither are they too expensive for the abilities they provide. Much has been made of pricing in the App Store, but $40 seems reasonable for an iPhone application primarily targeted at professionals. The $99 price of LogTen Pro is on par with Windows-based logbook software, though still a high price to pay for many instructors (or underpaid regional first officers).
Both applications are good Mac citizens, although the complexity of LogTen Pro has certainly increased dramatically since the last review, and with that complexity has come a marginal decrease in ease of use. First-time users may be somewhat intimidated by the degree of complexity in the application, but the development team has done a good job trying to keep things as simple as possible. Unfortunately, the level of flight experience and the level of comfort with computers don’t always correspond, so, paradoxically, new users who are extremely experienced aviators are probably the most likely to struggle with the complexity of the application. This would be a big knock against LogTen if it weren’t for the fantastic level of support provided on the company’s Web forum. In addition to the official support from the development staff, there’s a small community of users who are willing to help out if anyone gets stuck.
For professional pilots, I really can’t recommend these two applications highly enough. LogTen Mobile is something the hobbyist or private pilot can certainly do without, but LogTen Pro is a valuable tool for pilots at all levels.