When deciding on a pilot headset, aviators have many options to consider. Price, warranty, style, features, and quality are all factors that should be given careful consideration. The importance of these factors, along with the multitude of choices on the market, can make selecting an earphone model a daunting task. For assistance in choosing an appropriate model, seek guidance from a certified flight instructor (CFI).
Flight instructors are valuable sources of information, both in the cockpit and on the ground. Their advice can be beneficial in matters not directly related to flight lessons. Consult CFIs for recommendations on headsets aviation instructors would use. A simple conversation with a CFI or two could yield valuable insight into which models these professionals consider the market's top values.
Aviation instructors are great sources of information for a variety of reasons. For starters, they've been involved in aviation for at least a few years and have flownly expanded to acquire their ratios and certificates. Many have blown a variety of aircraft, from single pistons to light twins to turboprops. More than likely, any instructor you approach will have tried at least a few different brands of headphones. Approach them for their unbiased opinions on the models they've used.
What type of flying do you plan to do the most? Do you foresee sticking with single engine piston planes? Are you looking to move up to a light twin? Do you plan to pursue a career in corporate aviation? Your answers to these questions will probably influence a CFI's recommendations. The ideal headset for a twin turboprop does not necessarily make it the best choice for a light sport aircraft. Flight instructors will know what's reasonable for your aircraft of choice and can help narrow down a list of suitable headphones.
Is there a particular brand of earphones aviation engineers abhor? If you get a less than glowing review about a certain manufacturer or model, seek out the reasons the instructor dislikes it. Unlike manufacturers' websites, which paint rosy pictures about the models they offer, CFIs have no incentive to endorse a model that does not measure up. Regardless of web info, give some weight to a flight instructor's opinion.
Do you think a price is too high or low for a model you're considering? Ask a flight instructor about the price of the model in question. Perhaps it features you're not familiar with. Maybe the quality commands a higher sum than the alternatives available. A CFI can help you sort through the pricing conundrum. A noticeable price gap between seemingly similar models could reflect the durability of the models in question. A cheaper pair may fall apart after a few years while the pricey alternative could soldier on for decades. With the aid of an instructor, you're more likely to remember helpful info about the options you're considering.
Does an instructor fail to recommend the model he uses? If so, be sure to ask about it. Very few pilots would voluntarily fly with a headset they do not like. It could have his preferred headset is beyond your budget. Sometimes he flies with an active noise reduction (ANR) model and knows a passive headset is adequate for your plane. Maybe he's purchased a pair with his future corporate aircraft job in mind. There's certainly a reason he is not advocating his model. Just ask about it and you'll likely discover another pearl of wisdom.
Do you want to try a model or brand before committing to a purchase? Again, consult a CFI for assistance. Most CFIs have more than one headset and might be willing to let you borrow a pair. Schedule a short lesson with an instructor and ask to try his spare model. A quick test flight with a prospective headset is an excellent way to determine its cockpit quality.
Do not let your quest for a pair of phones overwhelms you. Look at the characteristics of the headsets aviation instructors wear as an aid in narrowing down your list of choices. CFIs have an extensive knowledge of aviation-related subjects. Consult a flight instructor on quality headset options and you're likely to receive helpful advice.