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Blue Ink?

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I.P. Freley

I like people food
Dec 26, 2001
From reading these logbook threads that have popped up recently, I am reminded of an old question of mine that has never been adequately answered. When I started flying for pay, I began my entries with blue ink... Using the same pen and all so the blue is the same, but AFTER I started doing that someone suggested to me that the airlines (majors) prefer BLACK ink in your logbook. In the interest of consistency I haven't changed it to black, but does anyone have any hard info about whether or not this could actually affect me in the future? The DISTANT future at this point, it would appear. :)

It just seems insane to me that someone at, say, United would reject a logbook that is otherwise neat and orderly on the basis of blue ink. Hot Pink ink, maybe, but why not BLUE?
I too have heard that black ink is preferred. I do think it looks a little more professional. I don't believe for a moment that blue ink is going to cost you a job. I had an examiner sign my book in this feminie turquoise/lightblue NGPA approved color. It kind of irritated me, but I wasn't about to argue with the guy. I also don't think it would hurt you to start with black when you move to a new page. As long as you don't have 12 different shades on each page, you're blue ink isn't going to hurt you. Neither will a change to black if that's what you prefer.

I think people worry about these things way too much. Spend that time studying approach charts!
Approach WHAT?

You mean those weird pictures with all the arrows and ovals and numbers on them?

(Sorry, I haven't flown instruments in 5 months now LOL)
Black ink is preferred for legal documents (the logbook is a legal documentation of flight experience, and experience used to meet the requirements of the FAR). This is an antiquated preference, largely stemming from the fact that formerly blue ink didn't copy well. Today, it makes little difference.

Blue ink won't keep someone from a job. It does tend to make your entries look a little different than others. If you're applying for Southwest, this is probably a good thing. If you're applying for other carriers, excessive individuality may be viewed negatively (at your next interview, make a note of the percentage of cookie cutter blue suits with red ties...).

My logs are mostly done in black ink, but there's a reasonable share of blue in there. I also have pictures pasted throughout them, old medical certificates, OAS and other government certificates, and even the occasional far side cartoon. I have photos of old aircraft, and the works. Veritable scrap books. My logs have never held me back...usually folks spend time looking at the pictures and move on. Generally I get comments of approval, or questions about the pictures, or airplanes I've flown.

The blue ink doesn't make you a rebel, and you needn't worry about it hurting your chances.

I strongly discourage individuals from using disappearing ink, however. It just doesn't leave the same impression.
As long as your interviewer is not a Marine drill instructor, you are in good shape.

"Sherman, prepare the way back machine..."

For eons, government forms were required to be filled out in black ink. I knew a sarge who would return a form if not in black, with the question "why did you not fill this out?" I recall many moons ago coming accross an FAA guidance that maintenance logbooks be filled in black. Perhaps someone has held this to be royal edict.

Imagine my surprise when a year ago, I filled a government form, and it required BLUE INK! The conventional thinking now is that with photocopies, and blue ink, there is no contention over original versus copy. Useless trivia is now my life.

FAR requirements are for a "reliable record", so if somebody really jumps your case, in the FAR's lies your defense. You could log time by chiseling a stone tablet, if one were so inclined... I recall a friend being asked in an interview (Florida Gulf), why all his entries were in the same ink? Implication of impropriety? Sometimes I think the jackarses doing interviews want to try to put you on the defensive so that you crack and admit "ok, so I lied about the space shuttle touch and go's".

The real answer: Dedicated pilots all log their time with the same make, model and batch of ink.......

I don't think it's a big deal. I'd try to stick with one color. I wouldn't go out and buy a new logbook and start filling it with black entries, even though you probably have time, right? United probably won't be calling for a while!
Amen to the hotel pens. I have a passel of them in an orville and wilbur cup on my monitor.

Tell them blue was all the motel had, and you only had an hour until checkout...

For what it's worth, I work in a lawfirm and we had to order medical records for a client. The place from which we ordered the records told us the client's records release HAD to be signed in blue. Then, we closed on our house last year and the title company people insisted that we sign the docs in blue. I'm sure all of this dealt with distinguishing original from copy.

I always filled out my logbook with a black finepoint ballpoint, just because I liked it better. There are plenty of entries in blue, by myself and others. Apart from accuracy, what matters is neatness and organization because your logbook is a reflection of you.

Watch out what you put in your logbook. A pilot I met who became a friend had died. I wrote it in the back of my logbook. This was long before I considered a professional aviation career. Later, at an interview, I was asked about it and had to explain. To the best of my recollection, that was the only question I ever faced about my logbooks at an interview. I brought them to every interview and recall being asked to present them twice, maybe three times.

I had to bring my logbooks to FSDO when it came time to be signed off to take the ATP. The inspector made a comment that I couldn't log some of my time as cross country. I still had enough time. Afterwards, I made the adjustment with a one-line entry, with attribution to the inspector by name.
Also on the subject of logbooks, use discretion in what you write in the remarks section of your personal flights. I've seen stuff like "buzzed Kevin's farm. 100' AGL. Yikes!". Anything like that is definitely going to attract attention at a checkride or interview!
Have any of you noticed hotels subtly switching to blue ink? I have run into a fair amount of our overnight hotels that have done that. You...Bastards!
Thanks for your input, everyone... I think I will stick with blue. Any airline that wouldn't hire me because I have blue ink in my logbook, well, I probably don't want to work for that company anyway. :)
What do you think the interviewer will think of all the names of all the FA's that were on the flight??? Even if they are in black.
Not sure, but I always log the phone numbers to ensure that there is no hint of inpropriety.
The only time I really got in trouble with an FA my wife figured it out from my logbook. She used it to put two and two together. Since then I just put their initials.