I'm posting this here as well as on the FB page. SkyDemon asked about shortcomings in the PLOG in response to another user's comment. I think anew format or customisable PLOG would add even greater utility to what is already a very fine product. I'd appreciate any comment, and happy to discuss further with Skydemon and examples from my own flying and instructing work.
Pre-printed PLOG forms like Pooley’s are good and have stood the test of time. Their biggest disadvantage is that they carry info used for calculation, which can be distracting / read in error. Their advantage is that they have ample space for the pilot to write notes incl. warnings, info, clearances.
The Skydemon PLOG has the ADVANTAGE that the user can opt not to print some columns and reduce the risk of mis-reading. Its biggest SHORTCOMING, esp in A5 (2 per page ) mode, is that there is nowhere to record notes, ATC clearances etc.
Pilots use PLOG’s in many different ways and for that reason I’d request the ability to customise. My specific suggestions are
1. Allow users to decide which columns they want to see,
2. Create a space for notes, frequencies, clearances alongside the leg info etc.
3. Consider how many legs (rows) the average PLOG needs, and create more space below (a la Pooleys), for more notes, perhaps starting the frequency list on another A5 sheet.
A more radical option would be to redesign the PLOG completely, as a foldable A4 sheet, with planning data and calculation data on the left side, and operational data on the right side (see attached picture).
Here are some more specific justification for the suggestion.
Personally I think that MSA, plan alt, heading(M), leg time, ETA, ATA are always wanted, as is space to record notes and clearances.
Displaying wind, TAS is questionable – it might be as useful to summarize these once, at the top of the PLOG. TAS doesn’t don’t change much in cruise and wind varies little on local flights. Wind is useful only in flight if you want to compare with actual wind from an EFIS.
Track, GS, distance are mainly useful if you are using the GPS to navigate (some people may plan with SkyDemon but navigate by dead reckoning – so they don’t need those info in flight and could benefit fro a simpler PLOG layout.
Currently I write the frequency for each leg in the left hand margin; it would be difficult to automate this as there is often a choice of frequencies to call, but having a dedicated column for it, and for clearance received would be really handy.
I personally find it also useful to have a ‘personal’ column (it could be one of the customizable columns) which I use to record things like en route hazards (e.g. glider sites, the base of CAS), reminders etc.