You need a flight bag to store everything that you need while flying. If you are looking for a bag, you must first determine what you will put in it. Choosing flight gear bags is a matter of personal preference.
Things to Consider in Buying a Pilot Bag
1. Size and weight
Choosing the right bag depends on your need and preference. My bag has everything I need for a flight. If you decide to go paperless, you only need a small bag to put your tablet or iPad.
However, if you need to carry documents, books, and different headphones, I suggest you buy a big bag.
Also, the size of your bag depends on the type of aircraft you will fly. You need to ensure that your flight bag has everything you need, but small enough to fit inside the cockpit.
2. Number of pockets
My flight bag has pockets or compartments for logbooks, books, headsets, charts, and radios. I put my things in different pockets so that I do not struggle with finding a pen or a map when I need it.
When I was new to flying, I had a simple bag. I found it difficult to find the tools I needed. One time, I had to untangle the headset wires to retrieve a pen. So, I ditched the bag and bought something that fits my needs.
If you want to buy a bag, you must first decide what you will put in it. I have listed down some of the tools and equipment you need while flying.
What to Put Inside the Pilot Bag
During my flight training, I bought essential books to help me in my home study. I use them as a reference in class, so I make sure all my books fit inside my bag.
E-books versions are available. So, if you do not like carrying the actual books and manuals, you can prefer to download electronic books.
Flight schools provide a headset for their student pilots, but I bought my own. I started with a modest passive noise reduction (PNR) headset, Then, after I decided that I would make flying my career, I bought better quality headphones.
Since you are a new student, you can buy the mid-range headphones. These headsets are of high quality. A mid-range headphone will serve its purpose. It can offer a comfortable fit and an excellent sound quality.
Related Article: 7 Important Items Listed as Student Pilot Essentials
3. Fuel Tester
Preflight activities include checking the aircraft for fuel contamination. I decided to buy a fuel tester because it is very functional. I know I will be using it for a long time. Mine has a removable metal rod at the center.
I chose it because it works in almost all types of aircraft.
However, you can prefer to use a more advanced fuel tester than mine. Some fuel inspectors can return clean, pure fuel to the tank, instead of throwing it away.
I also have sectional diagrams inside my bag. The updated maps are significant in flying because they inform pilots about new obstacles, airways, and airfield changes.
I prefer to fold my chart into a square to provide a clear view of the area I fly frequently.
You may want to go digital with these maps. This type of navigation solution allows you to plan your routes, make accurate calculations, avoid weather disturbances, and keep away from controlled airspace and dangerous areas. You never have to fold it like the traditional maps. However, you need a tablet or smartphone to use it.
I suggest that if ever you go digital, you still have the conventional paper charts inside your bag. You will never know when your gadget or battery will fail.
The plotter is a combination of a ruler and protractor. It is inexpensive, yet essential in planning flights because it measures the course and distance on a paper chart.
If you are using electronic planning apps, you do not need to have one. However, you must ensure to have one because it becomes handy if you do not have access to electronic applications. I still carry one inside my bag.
6. Flight Computer
A flight computer performs formulas and conversions necessary for flying. Whiz-wheels are manual versions that use spinning dials and a slide rule.
However, because of technology, electronic flight computers are now conventional. I have both versions in my bag. The manual flight computer is a backup, in case my GPS fails.
Aviator sunglasses are essential because they protect the eyes from direct sunlight. Also, they reduce the glare from navigation and aircraft points. However, they are costly. So, I did my homework before buying one. I shopped around to get the best deal.
I do not recommend polarized sunglasses because I had difficulty reading instruments while using them. However, I suggest that you buy sunglasses with a large lens so that you get a full view.
8. Camera and Mounting Kit
I love taking videos while flying, so I bought a quality camera to capture the view. It gives me satisfaction whenever I watch them. Also, I share them with friends. My friends often tease me that I have a boring job. So, I let them see my videos to make them realize that it is fun being a pilot.
If you plan to take videos, too, you need to ensure that you have the proper mounts. You can place your camera in the cockpit. For a more unobstructed view, why not mount it outside of the aircraft?
I always carry a kneeboard whenever I fly because I can have everything I need nearby. Mine has different pockets. Back when I was starting, I had a tri-fold kneeboard.
If you decide to use flight apps, you need a kneeboard so you can have the device on your lap.
My kneeboard has slots for pens and pencils, charts, checklists, notepad, flight computer phone, and table. It ensures that all paraphernalia I need while flying is within reach.
I put granola bars inside my pilot bag, even if I am taking a short flight. I find it difficult to concentrate when I am hungry. I have experienced it a couple of times before.
A short planned flight turned out to be a day-long adventure. So, I never leave home without snacks in my bag.
Flight gear bags are essential for a pilot. It is crucial that you buy one that fits your needs and preference. Check the models and brands before you decide so that you get the best deal.