SQL or my own thing?

I'm outlining a program that I'm about to start making. It's really just a front-end for a 3 dimensional flight-test database with filtering and plotting capabilities. The first dimension is the flight, the second dimension is elapsed time of the flight, and the third dimension is the data which is recorded at that time.

The person that wants me to do this has everything working in Excel (different sheets for the third dimension), but all of his spreadsheets are getting to be 20MB and are inefficient to open to modify, especially when 20 people are using the spreadsheets on the network at the same time.

I've been planning my classes, and I was thinking of storing these classes in my own proprietary file-type. But when I started getting closer, I was starting to think that I could just create my own front-end for an SQL database.

I have zero experience with SQL. If you have experience with it, is it worth learning from scratch for this project or should I just create my own binary file-type? Is it the right tool to use? I want this application to be as professional and versatile as possible.

tl;dr Is SQL worth learning for a 3d spreadsheet application?

Also, does anyone have a good tutorial for creating an SQL database? Most of the tutorials that I see already use Oracle or some existing front-end to modify an SQL database.
Take a look at SQLite. It's inprocess and doesn't have a lot of set up/binding issues that you get with larger databases.
Interesting... SQLite specifically talks about being a serverless, single-database file which is what I am looking for. It also mentions that I don't need to have any extra processes running on the machine for it to work.

This is what I'm looking for. I think it'll be more professional and useful to have it in a common format than to make my own. Thanks.
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