iPhone App Requires Yearly Subscription???


Feb 26, 2008
I am a long time LBP and APDL user and advocate to my friends and co-workers. I just read the email about the iOS (iPhone/iPad) version 2 app that is "FREE". However, as you uncover the details the app is far from free. It appears that the iOS app users will be required to pay an annual fee of at least $19.99 to sync your data via the "cloud". If this is accurate, I am absolutely appalled. If I am incorrect, then please correct my misunderstanding. Don't get me wrong, I am more than willing to pay for an app like this but I think it is outrageous to charge me an annual fee. Just like I have used APDL for many years on my Palm, I would expect to use the iOS app on my iPhone for many years. Without any annual fee increases, after just 5 years I would have been charged $100 for this companion app to LBP. Again, I don't mind paying for an app, but this is ridiculous. I have appreciated Neil's approach to taking care of his customers by providing quality products and continued free upgrades. But I have to say, this is a total departure and personally I take it as a slap in the face. I guess for now, I will continue to carry around my Palm with the APDL. There is absolutely no way that I am going to purchase this "FREE" app this is probably going to cost me hundreds of dollars in the end. I am sad to say that if this is the direction all the LBP programs are going, then maybe it is time for me to find a new logbook program.
Wow, your emotions are all over the place, high then low then high again. It must be the holidays.

I agree with the part of if it's free then it should be free but just like you I have lots of questions and would like them addressed before I go saying I'm moving to another logbook, specially when there's no way I'm doing that.

I've been a Logbook Pro user and I also tell everyone how great it is and the support is out of this world. I'm always on the Justhelicopters forums talking about it when someone asks.

I just have the same doubts:

What's free if we have to pay to sync it?
Can we sync it with the iTunes sync or the cable instead of using "cloud", which I don't even use?

I downloaded it but haven't used it yet.
Thank you for your feedback. The "app" is free allowing you to get it from iTunes without requiring a purchase. Previously you had no idea what you were getting into and had to pay $29.99 to get the app. I didn't like it, you didn't like it. We changed Logbook Pro 1.11.0 so that you could also sync to your My Sync portal with the evaluation edition, previously you had to use a registered edition so in essence to use the iPhone app you had to pay $29.99 for the app and $69.95 for Logbook Pro PC. Now you can try both Logbook Pro PC and the app for FREE.

There are two ways of going about software. 1) Pay for the software and get a perpetual license, i.e. one that never expires, or 2) Pay a subscription fee - this is called Software as a Service (cloud computing) which is the way a lot of software is going these days and/or is moving to. There are pro's and con's. The pro's are you pay once, however, to get an update such as v1 to v2 you will have to pay for the upgrade or purchase the new version altogether, upgrade pricing is not always the case as Intuit does with Quicken and Quickbooks. Every year you pay full price. With a subscription as we are using with the iPhone/iPad app version 2 you never have to worry about the software any more. We can update it time after time, go from version 2 to 12 and you never pay for the software. Instead you pay a low annual fee for the usage, I don't think $19.99 is unreasonable for an entire year of use. Consider what we pay for text messaging on our phones, as a software developer I cannot believe I have to pay $20/month to send 160 character messages through a multi-billion dollar company. It's business, no other words for it. It costs money to develop, support, host, on and on.

I hope you find value in our software and appreciate what we offer in our pilot logbook products and services. Ultimately, it is your choice and I hope you choose the product that best suits your needs. My company is committed to providing nothing but the best in software, service, and support. I will stand for nothing less.

Happy Holidays.
I too am going to have to think long and hard about this subscription issue. Both for the schedule importer and now the iphone app, I am feeling nickle and dimed.
I too am looking at all of my options, and seeing as this is one of only 2 programs I have on my old windows machine the choice to keep my windows machine going or not is getting to be an issue as well.
Now if you produce a native Mac version of LBPro then my choice would get alot easier.
I tend to agree with all the posters here and I feel that the reasons given for the change don't really justify it. Whilst I agree that the ability now to try the Iphone App before buying (something that bugged me before) is an improvement that can be done in other ways such as allowing only 30 entries on the free version for both the PC and Iphone. As to the upgrades you are a victim of your own advertising on this, you rightly boast about all the upgrades to LogBook Pro you have issued and how you haven't charged for them, does this mean that this policy is about to change? or is this a red herring as well? Also often people are happy with the version they have paid for and don't always want to upgrade "if it ain't broke don't fix it" So I keep coming back to the fact that whereas previously for $30 I could buy many years of Iphone use I will now only get 18 months. I do like your products (I have hung in there waiting for Hours & Minutes for several years now) but if this is the way of the future then perhaps my future lies reluctantly elsewhere.

Hello Michael,

I appreciate your post and concerns. I hope that you value Logbook Pro realizing the fee to sync is costing all of $1.67/month. I'm moving this direction to make it more affordable for you as this is far more affordable than $29.99 (or more) for an app and now you don't have to worry about versions, software updates, all that is free in this software as a service (SaaS) model. In addition there is no "trap" where you buy then evaluate, I want everyone to be sure of their purchase when it's time to pay up. We certainly will see how this change works out as this is the way software is moving these days. We've been building our infrastructure to achieve this capability for the past several years and I'm happy we can do this right and put it to use reliably for you, our important customers. We certainly could put up an app that includes lifetime sync with it but that would be a much higher cost. I want to refrain from that at this time and see how this model is adopted. So far we've been selling a lot of subscriptions and people are only days into their free 30 day period, so the confidence vote is apparent already.

Ultimately, I want to be sure you are getting what you need from the software. I hope Logbook Pro and its unrivaled data analysis and reporting capabilities are handling your aviation logbook needs, much less the reliability and accuracy not found in some of the competing products that are suffering rashes of corruption, data loss, and inaccurate presentations of logbook data, a complete failure in trust.

I welcome your and other's feedback. We have a busy year (and more) ahead with Android, Windows Phone 7, and Logbook Pro 2012 coming down the road in 2011.


Your post came in while I was typing my reply. Logbook Pro PC edition has a 50-entry trial limit, not hours, not a timed limit. This should take most through private pilot hopefully. There is no change in our policies, in fact you can read them (bottom paragraph) at NC Software Policies which state all upgrades within the same major version are free. 1.1, 1.2, 1.10, 1.11 are free and that's exactly what we have done for 13 years. I think you'd agree your purchase from 13 years ago for $69.95 is pretty generous?? Granted not all of you have been with us that long. Regardless, all future 1.x updates will remain free. We could do as our competition has done in changing versions with subtle changes to the product simply to gouge their customers. You can read on other forums where a particular logbook product has cost a user nearly $300 in fees to just to keep up with their logbook. While there have been some changes over the way we've done some things I hope you realize your contributions are to only bring you more products and better products in return. If you like what we provide and you want us to stick around, we certainly appreciate your support.

No one is ever forcing anyone to upgrade especially to a fee based upgrade. Version 1 users can continue to use version 1 of our app. Version 2 does NOT overwrite it or require it to be removed. The same applies to Logbook Pro 2012 when it releases, you can stay with version 1 all you want. We won't support or continue to update the older versions, just as Microsoft and other vendors "end of life" software products.

I hope this sheds some light on the situation. If the software adds value to you as a pilot, I hope you'll continue with us over the years ahead as we continue to innovate and integrate with other services to make your life as a pilot as easy as possible in the accounting tasks we face.

Happy Holidays!
Hi all,

Just to add an opinion from the other camp, I have to respectfully disagree with the posters above. While the new service is certainly a change from the old, I have to agree with Neal that $19.99 is a very minimal fee to pay for a service that has so much to offer. It seems that it has become lost on most people the level of infrastructure and resources it takes to continually develop and upgrade software and maintain something like a live syncing service.

A good example of this is the unfortunate new precedent that the Apple App Store has set with its $0.99 apps. All of a sudden, you get these outraged reactions from people when you tell them an app costs $4.99. In the scheme of things, that's nothing! I can guarantee you the engineering that has gone into the software you are purchasing is worth well more than $0.99 - or even $4.99 (except for, maybe, the ever-so-useful farting apps and the like ;)).

The bottom line is, services cost money. Personally, I would rather pay a fair price for a service knowing that it's developer is able to put the money back into maintaining and upgrading the service, instead of paying next to nothing for a service that is only mediocre and doesn't see much development in the future.

For the record, I am not a software developer. I just have an appreciation for what it takes to do the job. Just my $0.02...

Happy holidays to you all!



Here's my .02...

While I fully appreciate Neal's right to adjust his business plan to better provide a revenue stream for his company, I also have the right not to buy into it.

I bought the iphone product because it was available, and I have the iphone handy in the cockpit. So I used the iphone logbook and used the sync feature to get it into Logbook Pro on my laptop. But I fly long haul, which means I only have one flight to enter into Logbook Pro every couple days. It is really no problem for me to just manually enter each flight directly into my laptop Logbook Pro at the end of a flight.

So I'm quitting Logbook Pro on the iphone.
... I fly long haul, which means I only have one flight to enter into Logbook Pro every couple days. It is really no problem for me to just manually enter each flight directly into my laptop Logbook Pro at the end of a flight.
To be honest, I do see John's point here, Neal. Currently, the amount of flying I do justifies the yearly subscription. But as my flying moves toward longer haul and, as a result, significantly fewer legs, the value I place on the yearly subscription will be significantly reduced.

Have you considered offering another subscription option for customers in this situation? I would suggest a system that would offer 2 or 3 different types of sync subscriptions to choose from, including an option for a defined number of syncs (i.e. 100) versus a defined period of time (i.e. yearly). For the heavy users, the unlimited yearly subscription would still be the way to go. But for those who sync infrequently, the other option may be more attractive. For example:

100 syncs for $9.99
300 syncs for $14.99
Unlimited syncing for 1 year $19.99

This is just an example; I don't know what the ideal values here would be. This may be a way of attracting a wider range of customers, as I would tend to agree that the existing system isn't ideal for everyone.



Hello Chris,

The goal is to keep it simple, and of course affordable. I don't think $1.67/month ($19.99/year) is unreasonable for any pilot especially those being paid to fly. A $20 bill for an entire year for a free piece of software I think is a very good deal where it gives you free software updates forever instead of having to pay $29.99 or more for an app then pay again when a new version releases, etc. This is by far the more affordable option, I'm doing all I can to keep software inexpensive and take the worry out of upgrades, etc.

Thanks for the feedback as always.
I don't think $1.67/month ($19.99/year) is unreasonable for any pilot especially those being paid to fly.
Very true. I still agree that this price is reasonable - even more so when you put it in a monthly context. I was just trying to find a way to make it more attractive to those who disagree.
The thing you may be forgetting is that the average pilot, no matter how much money he makes, will always be cheap! ;) :laugh:



Let me put it in perspective. By the time I finish my career in about 20 years, I'll have to pay at least $2000 for the cloud and airline schedule support.

At $29.99 per update, I've had maybe 1 update in the last 5 years, so lets call that $125 over the rest of my career.

Hmmm, how dumb do ya'll think we are?
Just curious

In my haste to get upgraded to v2 on my iphone, i neglected to fully understand what i was getting into....(yes poor planning...)Now that I have it installed, am I going to be able to sync without the "cloud" subscription after my year runs out, (Thanks Neal, that was a good gesture for us v1 folks.. ;) )? I'm not as concerned with cables as i am with $$.
As for the cost...well true that 20 bucks isn;t that big when you look at aviation costs these days, but for me, I get stuck on good old fashion principles...and I bought an app that i was told would sync back to my pc. Not sync back for 20 bucks a year, not sync back for a nickel, but rather to sync back, period....
If i have to go back to v1 that is fine, as long as there is no data loss....

(BTW, I am only adding my two cents, I already have the same question into support, :) )

As for the rest of the hooplah...meh, i guess we have to like it or lump it..lol... ;)

ps, Neal, if you can get my actual logbook onto my iphone, i would be more inclined to go with the yearly subscription, being able to sync each new flight is nice, but glancing back at more details would be even nicer :)
Hello Mike,

Syncing with a cable is not an option for Apple devices. You are welcome to use version 1 for the lifetime of the app, you do not have to move to v2 if you don't want to or you don't find value in the new features, reliability, continued improvements, etc. Version 1 will cloud sync free for life, use whichever works best for your needs. I don't believe a $20 bill for an entire year is much to ask for software valuable to a pilot considering all the other costs we endure. You have to realize too that this is a less expensive option in the long run for those that want to keep their software updated and working with our latest releases of the PC products as well. Realize if we didn't have a cloud sync subscription you'd pay a fee such as $49.99 for version 2, then a year or so later when version 3 comes out, $49.99 again, on and on. Apple doesn't allow us to have v1, v2, v3 etc. in the App Store at once, so when the new version comes out the old version is removed and end of lifed, i.e. no more updates, support, etc. These app stores make us software developers handle software differently than when we could deliver and sell it from our own web sites.

We "may" consider a full logbook solution on the iPhone in the future but presently our design goal is to provide you a tool to rapidly log flights while away and keep your logbook on a more reliable system. Any phone/PDA is not reliable enough to keep a pilot's flight records. You need a trusted and reliable system that you won't drop, lose, get stolen, or be of corruption risk. In addition, the full features and analytical capability of a PC is not available on a device so it's really leading you down a wrong path in making you or any customer believe having their entire aviation career on a device is a good idea.

We will certainly continue to listen to customer feedback such as yours but we also understand the importance of what we are creating, an accounting solution for pilots, and we're not going to give you something that is in any way a risk to your valuable information.

Thank you for the kind words and I hope you enjoy the great products and services we are working on for the coming year.
I know that this has not been discussed in a while, but what I just came to realize is that NCsoftware is no longer making updates to LBpro V1 for the iPhone. Thus, whenever this app has a problem due to continuing upgrades in the iPhone's iOS, the support that we one had is no longer available.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but when I bought V1 I had the option to buy either V1 or V2. I deliberately chose V1 for several reasons. One of which was the one time fee vs. the subscription. The second being that it was a better version of that which I used with my old palm pilot. And finally, I don't like to rely on wireless, cloud based software and prefer the "wired" solution. This combined with the fact that I had no idea that support for the iPhone V1 would be discontinued soon after, or ever for that matter. So where does that leave me? Waiting to see what won't work each and every time iPhone realeases a new OS. And then shell out another $20, per year this time, to get exactly what I had before for a one time fee (or two time if you had a palm like I did).

I think Neal has really done a dis-service to all of us who are supporters and have been for many years like I have. Not only using but promoting it to countless pilots that I come in contact with, all of whom are always impressed by my logbook. You have made a very good product here and I for one am extremely disappointed in Neal and his company for this lack of support. You continually say above how $20 is not much to pay annually, and that like microsoft, you shouldn't have to support older versions. While I agree with the premise, the problem is that each version was sold under different capabilities and with different assumptions. As I said, I had the option at my time of purchase and was not made aware that V1 would go unsupported in the future.

NCsoftware needs to stand by its products and be honest with its customers.
Hello Vince,

I received your e-mail and see that you have posted the same info here, so I'll reply here for you. At the time you purchased the v1 app we didn't have the v2 app so you had know knowledge or choice between the two. The model of having to buy an app from Apple without getting the opportunity to try it to ensure it suits your needs does not meet my objectives of try-before-you-buy so I decided to take an alternate approach. On Dec 22, 2010 the v2 app released. You paid $29.99 for your v1 app, I gave each and every v1 app owner a complimentary universal sync subscription, a $34.99 value, lasting through 12/31/2011 to compensate for your purchase and to be generous at the same time, something that wasn't required as your v1 app remains functional to this day.

iPhone development is not easy, software development is not easy. The learning, resources, infrastructure, time, the list goes on. We give you the app free, we ask for all of $19.99 for an entire year which support future development, the cloud infrastructure, our office space, salary, you name it. I find the scenario extremely generous, I would hope you would see it that way that "Neal" is actually being very generous. There's no need to go into a long discussion, we've been there a year ago. The moral of the story is, if you find the software of value to you, then you can pay the $1.67/month (paid annually as 19.99) to use it. If you don't feel that it is of value to you as a pilot, in conjunction with Logbook Pro PC edition which has had free updates for 14 years now, then I welcome you to find another product that does suit your needs and your budget.

We all work hard to bring you the best customer service, yes, it's Sunday afternoon as I type this, we answer e-mails every day, as soon as possible, we make updates free to you, and try to give you the tools, resources, great web experience, to make your life easier. If this helps you, great, if not, there are many other choices on the market. You have a right to choose, that's the beauty of it. We work hard to earn your business. If you want us to continue providing you great logbook software then you have to invest in the process. If we are not going to be able to sustain operations and also grow to bring you more great software such as version 2, a web edition, new apps that go with v2, APDL for iOS and Android, the list goes on, then we are not doing you or anyone else any good.

I appreciate your business, your loyalty as a customer. Do what works best for you, choose the software that works best for you, suits your budget, etc. You can continue to use v1, we allow syncing without a subscription, that too is generous, yet that product is no longer sold, supported, or developed as it has been replaced by a far better product that is in continuous development, we even worked on version 2.5 today!

Happy Holidays.
NC Software,

I appreciate your efforts at creating a fantastic logbook. I work for a major U.S. Airline and I've been using LBP since 2006. I understand the subscription fee and I, too, think it is reasonable. That being said, what I find upsetting about LBP is that that 90% (rough guess) of pilots I see in the airline industry use an iphone and/or ipad, yet we are required to have a PC to access Logbook Pro. It pretty much negates the purpose of having an apple. I know I can have windows on my Mac (and I do. In fact, LBP is the only program used on the "Windows" side of my Mac). But that is simply another expense ($75-$100) that one must consider when buying your product.

Why are you so resistant to the development of a Mac version of LBP? If you go to any airport and look at what type of phone the majority of pilots are carrying you'll find an iphone in their hand. Add to that the fact that apple desktop computer sales are up 43% this year while PC's are up a mere 4%. Why is this? Because Apple makes a great product! They are easy to use and are extremely durable. The Mac I'm typing on right now is 6 years old and has never needed repair. My PC has been into the shop 4 times in that same time frame and is currently INOP...awaiting it's 5th trip to the shop!

You must know that you are missing the mark when it comes to your customer demographic. If you would just make a LBP that runs on Mac, you'll smash the competition! You have a great product but your using the wrong platform. You're like an amazing QB on a really crappy football team.

Stop resisting and start adapting. Apple is ruling the aviation world. You might want to re-think your platform.


Hi Ric,

Thank you for your kind words and passionate response. Allow me to address your topics, in my opinion, of course. First off, just because a person has an iPhone or iPad does not in any way mean they also have a Mac. As you know these devices work equally well with both PC and Mac, or more specifically Windows and Mac OS X - I'll get to that in a moment. The community you see, airline pilots, are away from home quite a bit so these devices make a great solution for someone needing e-mail, web, texting, apps, on the go. Just as BlackBerry did in prior years and other smart phones. I'm glad we're able to provide a logbook solution for these devices with simple and fast sync via the cloud sync system. As you know it only takes a few moments to enter or update your flight, tap sync (or double-tap anywhere to start a sync) and you're done with logging.

You mentioned how you've been using a Mac for six years yet your PC has required service. This actually has nothing to do with PC or Mac. It has to do with the quality of what you purchased. You can buy a PC for $300 (or cheaper) at WalMart, i.e. a cheap heap wherever you want. Or you can buy a great PC such as we use in our office, we use nothing but Dell XPS Studio 9100's. Never had a problem with those or my older Dell at home that's been going strong for years. I have two Dell servers in our data center that are over 10 years old and still going strong! It has nothing to do with what you're talking about which is the OPERATING SYSTEM. Today we have Windows 7 and Mac OS X "Lion" - both of which are outstanding operating systems. I bet you probably paid quite a bit more for your 6 year old Mac "hardware" than you did your PC? Doesn't matter, the point is it all depends on the hardware you purchased, not the OS which is the topic at hand here. Apple controls the hardware, they have a very limited subset of what you can buy and it's expensive but good quality. They don't let you buy poor quality hardware like you can in chain stores. If you remove the cover though, you find the parts are made by the same manufacturers, hard drives, video cards, motherboards, displays, it's all the same, one is in a prettier case.

Now some people think Windows gets viruses - both platforms are susceptable and vulnerable and require anti-virus/security software -- not running this on your Mac is not smart! I have several Mac's and PC's - I have never had a virus or trojan on a PC (Windows) yet in Mac OS I've had several discovered. I use Norton/Symantec products. Apple is great at marketing and quite frankly lying. They mislead the consumer into thinking you're safe - you are not. Have you read the Steve Jobs bio yet? I think that will open your eyes about how much integrity really went on in that operation. They produced a great product as a result but they are masters of misleading (or dare I say manipulating).

So let's get down to the topic of Logbook Pro for Mac (desktop). We are a small company and we can't develop a logbook application, correctly, for every platform on the market today: Mac OS X, Windows, BlackBerry, WebOS, Palm, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, iOS, Android, Linux -- the list goes on. We have to weigh in a lot of factors, one very important one is what is the best platform for creating a great software application that is stable, reliable, and feature rich. Microsoft has unrivaled developer tools that allow us to make that happen. Yes, there are logbook products available for Mac OS X but the data storage capabilities are frightening. Most use a system called SQLite which is extremely vulnerable to corruption. I hear people describe their logbook on another vendor's product as "walking on egg shells" - they never know what they're going to get from their data, if it will be corrupt today, or be completely gone! We are not going to sell a product we can't trust that will be reliable. We treat Logbook Pro as a bank account - we do not want you to ever have money not accounted for - aka flight time.

It is very easy to run Windows, just a software program, on a Mac just as you do any other application. Therefore we can deliver the absolute best in logbook software using Microsoft and .NET technologies which we are using for the next major release of Logbook Pro coming out later in 2012. Now, if you're still with me, we are also building a mirror of the Windows application as a Web application. The web is amazing now and with HTML 5 and all of the rich capabilities in .NET web development, we can provide you an amazing logbook via the Web that will also sync with your Windows app and Devices. I'm letting the cat out of the bag a little but I think it will answer your questions. In the end, hardware won't matter, everything can run the web even tablets. Apple may innovated a great thing with the iPhone/iPad but it may come back to haunt them later. As iPhone/iPads "replace" the PC as we know it (Mac or Windows) it's going to hurt their big revenue items which have been Mac, iMac, MacBook Pro's, etc. for items that are 1/3 the cost. I'm an Apple shareholder so I watch it and it hasn't performed well even with all the Mac craze going on. So should we invest the time into Mac OS X or iOS? I think you'll see how we have to make decisions that will pay off in the long run and not invest thousands of dollars in man hours developing for a small market or even a dwindling market as people move to tablets. We are planning stand-alone logbooks that will also sync with our Windows, Web, etc. apps - I've always had a passion for "sync" (data anywhere) and that's what we've been architecting the past five years which has started to show via Cloud Sync.

So that's the background and my thoughts on these matters. I hope it sheds some light on it all and why I have to make the decisions like this while running this company. We are growing, hiring, and the more people we bring on the more we can cover. These piddly 19.99/yr subscriptions which some make a big deal over is what funds this development. Businesses cannot grow and return you software on the investment without revenue. It's up to us to build products that are useful and reliable to you as a pilot.

Thank you again for your business, loyalty, and we hope you enjoy Logbook Pro and it suits your need as a pilot.

Happy Holidays.
Thanks for the informational reply (not being sarcastic). I'll trust your judgment. I am encouraged about the logbook being online in the future, making viewing and syncing on any device possible. Can't wait to ditch my PC.