By Henry M. Holden
Asavri Gupte and her husband Sandeep own a Bonanza F33. Their 2-year-old son Samir took his first flight when he was 3 months old. He currently has more than 100 hours.
“My husband’s a pilot, and we do a lot of flying from Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y., where we live, to Merritt Island, Fla., to see my parents,” said Gupte. “We were on a flight with the baby one day when I noticed Sandeep jotting down hours in his logbook. I decided I wanted a logbook for my little one.”
Gupte had already documented much of little Samir’s young life.
“I journal a lot,” she said. “So many books are on the market for baby’s first food, first tooth, first this and that, but I didn’t see anything about early travel.”
Gupte didn’t want to keep track of Samir’s hours in a computer program or in a generic baby journal.
“My husband said, ‘Why don’t you make one?'” she recalled. “I decided to create a logbook for my son. It will be a record he can read someday.”
She figured if she wanted a baby’s first logbook, other parents—both pilots and non-pilots—probably did, too. Gupte, who has a B.A. in international affairs and a master’s in public administration, started seriously considering the concept of a baby logbook in September 2005. But, turning the idea into reality was challenging.
“I created a design specification and started sourcing vendors through the Internet,” she said. “When I was ready to have it printed, I couldn’t find a single printer in the U.S. who would do the kind of detailed work I wanted done.”
After receiving numerous bids and samples from printers in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and India, Gupte eventually selected a printer in China. Then she started creating the logbook in detail.
“It was an interesting project,” she remembered. “When my son was asleep at night, I’d message the printer over the Internet. It was amazing; I never had to make a phone call. Over the months, they’d send samples of paper stock and colors. Then I’d refine my specifications.”
After several months inspecting and choosing samples, the book was finally ready to go to print.
“Creating commercial print-ready files for my printer was also a challenge,” said Gupte.
Figuring out import terms and selecting an import broker was her next challenge. The actual printing took two months, and Gupte finally received her first logbook shipment in August 2006. In the meantime, she started her own website and began marketing the logbook.
“Since we fly both commercially and privately, the logbook has a lot of places to record things like the baby’s favorite airport and favorite snack onboard,” she said. “It has pages just like a real pilot’s logbook, but with places for the baby’s age, so we can remember how old the baby was when we went somewhere.”
“The Little Pilot” logbook lays flat to easily make entries and is small enough to carry in a flight bag. It contains regular pilot log sheets for recording hours, as well as a “flight checklist,” divided—like a regular checklist—into preflight, engine start, takeoff, cruise, through approach and landing. The emergency procedures section describes situations such as handling the changing of a dirty diaper at 10,000 feet; the “spit-ups” list requires a different set of procedures.
“Little Pilot Logbook” is the perfect gift for future aviators. Parents and grandparents will treasure the keepsake, along with the little aviator. Special memories of flights, including stories, photos and mementos, will provide years of enjoyment.
Gupte markets the book through magazine reviews, retailers and her Baby Nebula website. Most of her sales are through retailers.
“I’ll need to carefully manage my time,” said Gupte, “between assisting in my husband’s software company, growing the Baby Nebula brand and ‘mommy time.'”
To learn more about “The Little Pilot Logbook,” visit [http://www.babynebula.com].