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Safelog Pilot Logbook Software Dauntless Aviation

How to import a CSV

You might find yourself using an older or less capable piece of logbook software and wish to step up to the power and flexibility of Safelog. Great! We have a number of ways to get your data into Safelog. This page describes a 'do it yourself' way that is generally easy and fast.

That said, in some cases, you may wish you use our free Transition to Safelog service where we have already created tools to help transiton your data from a number of common other logbook products into Safelog. However, some of you may find the importing of a CSV file to be more practical. This is particularly true if you already have the data in CSV or Microsoft Excel format.

Have you gotten CSV file(s) back from us after using the Safelog Transition service? If we have sent you back new CSV files after you have participated in the Safelog Transitions ervice, then this page only partially applies to you and you might not need it at all. We typically send back two CSV files to such people (one for flights, one for aircraft) though in some cases there is only one file. If this applies to you, you are welcome to read through the below, of course, though some of it may be more than what you need, though in some cases you may find this useful as you may want to clean up your CSV files a bit due to deficiencies in the data or because you want some additional data or configuration that was not available natively in your old logbook software. At any rate, if you just got such CSV files back from us, try importing them, taking care to import the AIRCRAFT file first (if you were given one).
Are you importing your own CSVs? You'll also might want to create your own aircraft import file. Click here to learn how to create your own aircraft import file.
Additional web pages for help with this issue:

Often times, it is possible to generate CSV format from your old logbook software. Look at the 'export' feature of your old logbook software to see if it can, indeed, create a CSV for you. Please note that many pieces of logbook software unfortunately do not have a useful export feature. They do this because it is a way to 'trap' your data. If this is the case for you, please by all means try our Transition to safelog service as we have indeed decrypted the logbook formats of most popular logbook products and have successfully helped thousands transition into Safelog.

The following is a step-by-step guide to importing a CSV file.

First, what is a CSV file?

A CSV file is a basically the "lowest common denominator" common format in which data can be placed into. A CSV file with flight log data will not necessarily capture every last nuance of your flight log, but it should have enough to make transition relatively easy.

A CSV file is a "comma seperated values" file. What this means is that every row of the file contians a list of data, seperated by a comma. The first row is special in that it contains the name of the column.

For example, imagine a simplified logbook like this:

DateRegistrationFromToPICSIC
4/5/2011N12345JFK CDG 8.2 0
4/8/2011G-BLIP CDG LHR 1.1 0
4/10/2011D-FLUG LHR MUC 0 1.8

In csv format, the file would look like this:

Date,Registration,From,To,PIC,SIC
4/5/2011,N12345,JFK,CDG,8.2,0
4/8/2011,G-BLIP,CDG,LHR,1.1,0
4/10/2011,D-FLUG,LHR,MUC,0,1.8

The key to this format is that there are exactly the same number of items on each line, and each item is seperated by a comma.

Soemtimes, you may find that the data itself has commas in it. For example, you may have a field name for "Name of PIC" and one of your data values is "Smith, John". In order to keep the CSV file from becoming confused, you should put "Smith, John" in double quotes as we have it here. In this case, the double quote symbol is the "text qualifier." If you load a CSV into Microsoft Excel and then save it, it will generally use the double quote as the text qualifier, which is great.

You can always open a CSV file in notepad in windows to check what's going on.

If you have Microsoft Excel on your PC, you can open your CSV file in this. Hopefully, the file will be "regular" - that is, as we said - a list of field titles in the first row and then data below this. If you don't, then you'll need to make adjustments to this file.

For example, some logbooks have "Super headers" such as "route of flight" atop the "From" and "To" fields. If you were to save this CSV file, such a spanning row would cause problems. So, the solution is to simply go into excel or notepad and delete such spurious rows (and also any blank rows).

Here's an example of a CSV file opened in excel with a spurious first row.

And, here is the same file fixed to get rid of the first row:

Simple, eh?

Ok, with your CSV file in hand, what you'll want to do is import your data into either Safelog PC or SafelogWeb. In the below, we'll describe the process for SafelogWeb, though the process for Safelog PC is quite similar. Also note that because Safelog is an ever changing system, the actual screenshots taken below may vary slightly from what you see in the real thing, but the below should be plenty to get you started. Remember, if you have questions, we're happy to help via our online helpdesk.

The first thing you want to do is to find the 'import/export' link/button/tab in SafelogWeb and/or SafelogPC. From there, you should have an option to 'import' data. That's what you're looking for.

Select your CSV file and upload it. In some versions, you will see a 'quick preview' of this file after you upload it. After you click on 'next', there is a screen which tries to make sense of this file, giving you options for things like the default delimeter (this should be 'comma' in most cases), text qualifier (again, leave this as 'double quote'), and so on. The end result that you are looking for here is that your data should appear in proper columns in the preview pane below that. That indicates that the system is indeed able to properly import as the file is 'healthy' and properly formatted.

The screen after that is where the actual busiess of import happens. To make this happen, the key step is to associate the fields (columns) in your CSV file with Safelog fields. There may be more, less, or the same number of fields in your CSV file as you have in Safelog. If there's a field that you want in Safelog that isn't in the 'Safelog' list, go back and configure Safelog (using options in 'setup') to configure this.

Note that there is NO NEED to copy over the values of fields such as "ASEL" (Airplane Single Engine Land) into Safelog. Why? Well, Safelog will be able to auto-compute these based on the CHARACTERISTICS of each aircraft. For example, if you fly aircraft N123AB as PIC for 1 hour, then if Safelog knows that N123AB is single-engine land airplane (as it will), then you are saved from needing to type '1.0' in the PIC column AND '1.0' in the 'ASEL' column each time - this would be error prone and problematic. As you'll see, Safelog has a better way, though it is slightly 'front loaded.'

In the image above, the user has begun associating files in his CSV file with Safelog logbook fields.

At any rate, here you are, associating columns in Safelog with columns from your CSV file. It may take you a few times to get right, and you may find yourself wanting to go back to excel to massage your data a bit, or to create another column and so forth. But you should get the general idea.

Once you have associated all of the fields in a way that suite you, begin the actual import process.

Here, Safelog will go row by row attempting to import your data. In the beginning, it will go slowly, as Safelog will ask you about 'new' aircraft that it hasn't seen before. We understand that this is a bit time consuming, but please be patint! By properly crating aircraft types and assigning characteristics to them, and then creating idividual aircraft with the types you ensure:

  • That Safelog can do a series of powerful and flexible analysis operations for you accurately.
  • That data entry will be significantly faster for you in the future.
We've had a few people complain to us about how this takes some time. This is both true and not true. It is true in the sense that yes, it may take around an hour or so if you have a large number of aircraft. However, it's also true that it's only an hour after all and you're saving yourself multiple hours of future work. Really, please do stick with it, and you'll be happy in the end as you're able to do amazing things with your data. The good news also is that even if you need to re-import your logbook data, this aircraft information will be stored (unless you explicitly click on 'clear aircraft cache') so this is a one-time only task.

In some cases, Safelog will also ask you about airports that it doesn't know about. However, if you use standard FAA, ICAO, or IATA airport identifiers, this should be rare. Sometimes, Safelog might need some clarification from you as to which particular airport you meant when there are a few in the world airport database that match what you entered.

That's it! Again, don't be afraid to go back and experiment on your CSV file. Soon, your data will be in and you can use Safelog with your data in there.