Essential Gear for Student Pilot

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Amkestrel, Nov 12, 2017.

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  1. Cogito

    Cogito Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What you get for using your pilot shop to try on the headset but being to cheap to buy there. You could have exchanged for one that works better for you.
     
  2. Pnwannabe2

    Pnwannabe2 Pre-Flight

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    I got my own headset early on. PCA makes a great headset for $229 with ANR, stereo/mono, and aux input. $329 for the Bluetooth version. Once I passed my check ride, I bought a Zulu 3 for myself and another PCA so I have a set for my wife and kid. It really is a great value IMO.

    https://www.pacificcoastavionics.com/products/2657-pca-anr.aspx

    Other than that, I would get an aluminum knee board with a cheat sheet on it (crosswind calculation table, light gun signals, etc). Have fun out there!
     
  3. jonnyjetprop

    jonnyjetprop Cleared for Takeoff

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    My advice is to wait until you need it. Borrow a headset and if they have variou ones, try the all. Then go buy the one you like best. The second best way has already been discussed. Go to a good pilot supply store and try them all on. The problem is that good pilot supply stores are few and far between.

    Modern GA flying almost demands an EFB. Check with your instructor as to what the local examiners like to see. Yes, you can go paper charts, E-6B, plotter route as well. You'll then understand why most use EFBs.

    Have fun and enjoy the journey.
     
  4. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    First you get a Delta AMEX Card and have your wife get one too - you know, the ones where you get 60,000 miles for spending like $2000. Charge the **** out of that card at the FBO. Then charge the **** of your wife's card at the FBO. You'll look cool in front of the jet, Pilatus and TBM guys saying "Just put it on the card." When those two cards are done, switch to the next airline and do it again. This way when you're all done with lessons and completely broke (because you also actually paid off the cards) your wife will joyfully want to fly with you :) commercial on Delta with one checked bag free and the wonder of zone 1 boarding!

    I may or may not have done that for the first part of my lessons. Zone 1 boarding is so epic!
     
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  5. mscard88

    mscard88 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Again, don't be this guy.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    I regret not buying an ANR headset to begin with. Bought it half way thru my training. A spamcan is the worst place to learn, the quiter the better, plus it's my ear...

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    Is that a guy?
     
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  8. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    Great idea, laminating note cards....eraseable marker....definitely going into my bag of tricks!
     
  9. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I’d hold off on lots of purchases until you talk with your instructor.

    That said, a good quality headset that fits you and is comfortable will literally last a lifetime of flying.

    Two schools of thought here:

    Non-ANR indestructible beasts like the old David Clark’s are great. The downside is they’re high pressure on your head and in early training you won’t notice this. You will notice it when you start to do cross-countries and then you’ll know why they’re nicknamed “headclamps”. But...

    Those DCs will literally last a lifetime. I’ve had three pair. One is still flying with a young man I loaned them permanently to, the other two live in my hangar in a waterproof box along with two others (and when we had three Co-owners there were six!) for passengers, loaning out, taking on a long trip just in case the ANR batteries died, etc.

    One of my other CFI buddies keeps a pair behind the back seat of his pickup truck. They’re constantly being beat to hell, but they’ve never failed him, and when a quick phone call saying there’s some student or flight he needs to make and go directly to the airport without any of his other flight gear comes in, he always has a headset in his truck as a backup.

    The other school of thought is to try a bunch of higher end brands and types that have modern ANR and spend a lot more money up front. That’s fine too. The good ones will also probably last a lifetime but they’ll make a few trips back to the manufacturer for repairs.

    Number one point is: Protect your hearing. You don’t get it back when it’s lost. A solid performing passive noise reduction headset is always better than a bad one or no headset at all. A high quality ANR with some additional passive attenuation will also do the job even when the batteries fail.

    Buy good quality stuff it’ll last forever.

    For the rest of it, wait until talking to your CFI. Not only will they tell you what you have to have but can probably point you to the cheapest places to get those items.

    I’ve been flying for a couple decades and have piles of stupid crap purchased from pilot shops over the years that looked useful or interesting. Most of the time now my kit for flying is a tiny little bag, a spiral steno notebook, my iPad, and my Lightspeed Zulus.

    Oh and sadly, one of the pairs of David Clarks has developed a noisy mic cable after almost 20 years. It’ll get a visit to the DC company’s day spa for headsets to get a new cord installed. We’ll see if they still do outstanding service like they used to. Will report back. I won’t be getting rid of it. They’re too useful as backups. Even if the Lightspeed breaks (and it’s far more likely to than the DC beasts) and has to be shipped off for care, the DCs normally keep trucking along. I’ve shipped one pair back for refurb in 20 years. This will be the second time in two decades. I think I got my money’s worth on both of them.

    One note on Lightspeed. I really like them. But don’t buy the cheaper Sierra unless you like plastic. I had a pair and stuff kept popping off of them. They still worked but it was incredibly annoying after flawless service from DCs for well over a decade at that point in my life. You get used to a quality headset working perfectly even if you abused it, and having to baby the Sierra wasn’t for me. The Zulus still aren’t as solid as the DCs but at least they survive a bit of punishment.

    Anyway off of headsets again. Some better run clubs have student kits of just the essentials and sell it at a reasonable price at their front counter. So definitely talk to your instructor first. They’ll know what the best deal is.
     
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  10. mulligan

    mulligan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Just buy a Cirrus. It comes with everything you need
     
  11. Ronbonjovi

    Ronbonjovi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That was my main thought when I bought my A20 when I started training. I do wish I tried a Lightspeed on before I bought the Bose, but have been very happy with the purchase.
     
  12. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    You don't need much and some of it doesn't have to be fancy airplane stuff

    The fancy stuff
    Headset - it's a given, if you're going to be a pilot, you need a headset. One that costs $200 will hold you for now. Later it can become a good passenger headset while you treat yourself by trading up.
    Chart - at least your own sectional. More if you need them, depending on where you are
    Plotter - this is the clear plastic ruler that you use to measure charts. You need this because your instructor and probably the examiner will want you to hand plan your flights.
    E-6B - the main reason to have this is to calculate expected angles for wind compensation. If you want, you can also use the circular slide rule on the front.

    The non fancy stuff
    A clipboard to hold it all together. You don't need a kneepad, a $0.99 clipboard from the office store will be fine.
    A bag to carry it all in
    blank paper
    pens, plus backup pens and a backup for the backup
    Flash light. My preferred one has a green light because the charts are not red-light readable. The magenta color becomes invisible under a red light. Any small flashlight will do.

    You can do it all with this.
     
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  13. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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  14. mscard88

    mscard88 Ejection Handle Pulled

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  15. cgrab

    cgrab Cleared for Takeoff

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  16. Hawker800

    Hawker800 Line Up and Wait

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    Love my Hogue X5.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My school provided a flight bag with an E6B, a subscription to King Schools flight school, a Garmin Pilot subscription for a year, and I think some other misc stuff.
    I added a headset, sectional map, FAR/AIM (more on that later), and a kneepad.
    I'm a tech toy guy. My wife had an iPad she wasn't using and I picked up Foreflight. I like to look at data so I spent a few weeks exporting KML files from ForeFlight into Google Earth, then parsing the text file so I could look at various segments in greater detail; it works but is a PITA.

    Then I found CloudAhoy...data geek bliss! The site automatically parses your flight into each maneuver with speed, altitude, and slope data. It makes it easy to tell if you're flying the pattern correctly or what your flight actually looks like. You can even re-fly the flight like you're looking out the windscreen. Technology is amazing! It helped me improve on some basic skills. YMMV but the cost was low(*) and it makes me happy!
    Side note: since my DPE is old school, I don't use the iPad during flight, just turn it on and enable track logs then upload the KML to CloudAhoy after the flight.
    Side note: I also got a stand alone GPS receiver so the data is better than the native iPad GPS.​

    I bought the paper FAR/AIM then found a download version. You pay a subscription so you get updates as they release and the app has very good bookmarking and search features. I love it but keep the paper for my check-ride.

    If your budget is constrained, I'll repeat what others have said; buy what you need as you need it.

    (*) cheap for me has turned into 'number of flight hours'. If I can get something that costs an hour and think it will pay me back for that hour, it's cheap. Perspective on cost changed when flying...It's kind of like people wearing cheap tee shirts when they solo so they don't ruin a good shirt...a shirt costs, what...$30??? Pffttt....cut away! I actually bought an aviation themed shirt and wore it over the time I thought I might solo. The text said 'A good landing is one you can walk away from. A GREAT landing is one that lets you use the plane again'.
     
  18. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    Good info on what to buy. Now step two: where to buy?

    Ebay. Look at Ebay at least weekly, more often than that if you choose.

    -Skip
     
  19. Ronnie Godfrey

    Ronnie Godfrey Pre-Flight

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    The best things I found for use in the cockpit when I was training were steno pads, like the one below. They fit perfectly on an old-school sheet-metal kneeboard and are handy for jotting airport info, ATIS, frequencies, etc. My training headset was an ASA cheap-o model that served me well, and I continue to use it even today. I'd just get something that'll do the job well enough--you'll be spending a ton of money on instructors and airplanes. That said, the top item on my Christmas list this year is a Clarity Aloft.
    upload_2017-11-16_22-22-3.jpeg
     
  20. Amkestrel

    Amkestrel Filing Flight Plan

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    I just flew for business this week for the first time in a while and went Delta, and then upgraded (using old points I was only vaguely aware I had) to first class. Not the lap of luxury, but way more pleasant than cattle-class in the back! But no, my wife doesn't like being on those airplanes either! LOL
    I thought this was funny the first time, but then re-reading it and noticing your profile pic, Sinistar - priceless!
     
  21. Amkestrel

    Amkestrel Filing Flight Plan

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    Darn it. The Lightspeed Sierra was seeming to me like a great balance between quality (Lightspeed reputation) and cost...
     
  22. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Ever try to write with a pen at -25f....???? :lol::lol::lol:

    And that is cockpit temp, not outside air....:loco:
     
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  23. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    What were you writing, an extra verse to The Cremation of Sam McGee?
     
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  24. JustinD

    JustinD Line Up and Wait

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    No one mentioned the most essential gear of all for a student



    The landing gear :D:D:D can’t do much without those!
     
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  25. Amkestrel

    Amkestrel Filing Flight Plan

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  26. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    My wife still uses them. They work. It’s just plastic covers and parts popping off that can be put back. I just found it annoying.
     
  27. LT4247

    LT4247 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Let me add that the S&W light is excellent for the cockpit with separate switches for red/white lights BUT get the smaller one (Galaxy 6 camper). The one pictured in the link has a big head which isnt needed. https://www.night-optics.com/smith-wesson-powertech-galaxy-6-led-flashlights.html
    I also carry a second mini mag light around my neck with a lanyard.

    During a previous POA discussion on flight bags someone mentioned a bag designed for the shooting range/AR15 that he used for a flight bag. I checked on it and found it was indeed the perfect size and loaded with adjustable pockets. Best of all it is less that $25 and get the color you want. I have a closet full of flight bags so feel confident of my review.
    https://www.lapolicegear.com/tabaoutbag.html

    My .02 cent worth on headsets:
    I have owned and/or used LS, Bose, DC, you name it.
    - Bose is great headset but way too expensive. Not better than LS. Cables suck. Bose is over rated.
    - Lightspeed Zulu just dont hold up. Each of mine have been back to factory for various problems and i get weary of buying the costly pads which dont last. Expect LS to start falling apart at some point.
    - David Clark are not as comfortable but have a great M7 mic and are a much better value.
    - All the others i just wont rate.

    So for me i am back to David Clark 13.4 with the added ANR conversion from Headsets, Inc in TX. http://www.headsetsinc.com/ANR_kits.html

    I Couldn't be happier! The Zulus are now for passengers (one needs new cable AGAIN). Sold the Bose.
    I suggest buy a used DC 13.4 and send it to TX for conversion. Save money!
    You wont need another headset,,,,ever.

    Good luck with training!

     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017