Hello and welcome back to the flight levels, where I get to share tips about starting in aviation! In last week’s episode, I spoke briefly about the flight gear and the equipment you need to get started. Well, a few of you all sent me an email and I thought it was only appropriate to make a whole episode about it! Let’s first start with your flight gear will change over time. That’s ok because as you advance in your aviation career the stuff you carry will change as well. What we will cover today is the types of books, flight bags, the headset you will need, logbooks, ground school, and a few other items that I’ve learned along the way.
So let’s first start with the books. Over the year I’ve collected an array of books and have now a great library. The very first book you should have are the pilot’s handbook of aeronautical knowledge (PHAK) for short. Airplane flying handbook and last a current copy of the FAR AIM. (Federal Aviation Regulations & Aeronautical information manual). I will throw a fourth book out there. This one is my favorite book. Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot by Richie Lengel. My favorite book because it breaks everything down you need to know as you progress through aviation. Detailed and you can really tell it took a lot of time and effort to write such a book.
The second topic is ground school! Everyone’s favorite topic! Pick a ground school that interests you. I’m not going to lie, some of them are pretty dry. But find the one that is easy to interact with and gives you the best bang for your buck. There are so many different kinds out there the list goes on and on. To name a few Sporty’s, ASA, FLY8MA, MzeroA, Angle of Attack, and for those of you that have been around aviation you will recognize, the Kings schools. Some of them come with bundles or kits! Great value for your money. Like the Sporty’s is the one I am most familiar with. We use it at the flight school I use to teach at. The Sporty’s kit came with all three books I spoke about, online ground school, written test prep, an E6B Flight computer, plotter, logbook, and fuel tester. All conveniently in a flight bag for you. So do your research and see which one fits your needs.
The third topic is flight bags. Going through my training as a pilot my flight bag changed about 5 times. So don’t be afraid to change it up as you go. A few that I’ve seen people really like are on Sporty’s website. If you are just starting out you can find many entry-level bags there. For more of the intermediate and fully customizable bags, check out Brightline! A few co-workers have the Brightline, and they swear by it is the best flight bag out there. Last more for the professional level. Luggage works. This brand is more for the career pilot as the line of bags are made rugged and have a black sleek look to them.
Our fourth topic is probably the most important. Organization! That is why the fourth item is brought to you by our sponsor AviWallet! A wallet designed for pilots to hold all documents. As a pilot, we must always keep a few documents on us at all times. License, medical, passport, and radio license. AviWallet was founded by a pilot to improve the way pilots carry some of our most important documents. So go to AviWallets.com and use the code thepilotlifepodcast to get 10% off your first order!
The fifth item on our list is a logbook. When you first start flying have a paper logbook so that you can keep track of all your flight hours and endorsements. This is such an important part of being a pilot keep track of your flight experience. I would recommend besides having a paper copy, start making a digital copy too. A few digital logbooks are Log ten pro and ForeFlight. I personally have been using ForeFlight for years. It’s simple to use and displays the information clearly.
The sixth item you should add to your flight gear is a flashlight! Keeping a flash with you is a huge help especially when you fly at night. I can’t count the number of times I was teaching a night flight, and the student forgot to bring a flashlight. It is crucial when doing a preflight or post-flight in the middle of the night.
Item number seven is sunglasses. Before you start flying have a good set of sunglasses that are comfortable and don’t give you a headache. Up at altitude, the sun is very bright! Also, most airplanes don’t have sun visors as you find in a car. So there really is no place to hide. Ensure they are not polarized! They are great for reflecting light from surfaces. They are not recommended for use in airplanes because they eliminate the visibility of the instruments. Most of the displays in aircraft have anti-glare filters. So get yourself a great pair of non-polarized glasses!
The last time on the list. If you have made it this far, I thank you for reading. Your support is the reason why I keep putting out new content every week. Number eight. Headset. If there is anything you should spend money on it’s a quality headset. I have seen when pilots struggle with headsets. Never a good sight. From the student that is just learning to the professional pilot. It’s always a struggle when you have the wrong one. So what makes a great headset? Three things, comfort, clarity, and noise canceling. If you have to sacrifice one thing when purchasing a headset. Sacrifice the noise canceling. Because when that feature is added the cost goes up quite a bit. The other two of comfort and clarity I would not. If you have a headset that is uncomfortable it will hinder your learning or make your time unpleasant. Clarity is important due to if the audio is not good, you will struggle with understanding ATC and your instructor. Hence not a very good use of your time or money. A few out there would recommend are the classic David and Clark. An iconic aviation headset that has a great reputation. The lightspeeds are a great jump up from the David and Clarks as they have noise canceling. And finally, the Bose. Bose without a doubt make the best aviation headsets out there. I personally have a set of the Bose Pro Flight. I absolutely love them and the only negative thing I have to say, the case could be better. But of course, the Bose come with a significant cost. Being in the aircraft for 5 hours at a time or a full day of flying. They never disappoint. Thank you all for reading. Don't forget to follow us on social media. New content out every week!