You have enrolled in a flight training school already. You seem ready to learn how to fly an aircraft. Are you sure that you have everything prepared? Do not forget the student pilot essentials.
When I was a student pilot, I got good quality sunglasses that I wore when flying. I need to protect my eyes from extreme bright reflections from the sun and the clouds. I tried the polarized pair, but I had difficulty viewing the avionics LCD with it. So, I settled for the non-polarized one.
For sunglasses, I noticed that high-quality one’s command high prices too. So, I suggest that you buy an expensive pair since you will be using it every time you fly. I chose a durable frame with thin arms.
The headset tends to press against the sunglasses at the side of my head and leave imprints. Thin arms do not make visible dents.
It is imperative for student pilots to perform routine checks before each flight. I bought a tester for fuel contamination. Exposure to elements due to frequent flying can cause water to seep into the fuel tank and contaminate it.
Some aircraft do not have a fuel tester or filter in the cockpit, so I bought one. Mine has a removable metal rod, and it works fine on various types of aircraft.
However, because of technological advancements, some testers can separate clean fuel from solids and other contaminants before they return the clean, pure fuel into the tank. You may want to try them.
A handheld radio is relevant because it saves fuel and engine hours during preflight ATC communications. I bought one because I found it discomforting and stressful to make radio calls. So, I bought a handheld radio to listen to ATC conversations to improve my radio skills.
Flashlight, Headlamp, or Torch
I carry at least two flashlights on my flights. I use one even on my preflight inspections during the daytime. Plus, I even bought flashlights with the red lens. Why? Red light preserves my night vision. I can identify objects even in the dimly lit cockpit.
Also, the red lens does not saturate my eyes. I can shift my vision from the cockpit to the unlit objects outside with my eyes remaining dark-adapted. I noticed that when I use white light, I become blind temporarily. So, I very much prefer the red light.
Aside from the handheld flashlight, I also bought a red headlamp because my hands are free.
Moreover, I also carry a small, lightweight torch to serve as backup. Lights come in different shapes and sizes. I prefer the ones that I can put on my head or clip on my arm. Also, I bring spare batteries with me.
You may find it odd that I include the iPad in my list. It is not the gadget, but what is in it that is important.
I keep my aviation apps in mine.
My books, training, charts, calculations, weight and balance, flight planning, and all other apps needed for flying are all in the iPad.
The training institution provided a headset for me, but I bought one because I want a perfect fit. I would be wearing it every time I fly, so I decided to buy one.
For new students, I understand that they prefer an inexpensive passive headset. I have no problem with that because it is a personal decision. Remember, you get what you pay for.
I suggest that you do not skimp on your first purchase. You will buy another headset when you discover that your cheap headset has many problems. It is a waste of money to buy an inexpensive, yet defective headset. I bought a proper one that would help me communicate with ATC and my instructor. Also, it protects my ears.
When I bought my headphones, I checked the customer reviews online. However, I did not base my decision on them alone. I went to a physical store to experience different headphones. I also asked some pilots that I know for some recommendations.
If you buy a headset, I suggest you ensure that it provides clear sound. A passive noise reduction (PNR) headphone is cheaper than one that has active noise cancelation (ANC). For PNRs, they have foam that absorbs noise and sealed ear cups to block background noise. They clamp your head to ensure that ambient noise does not get inside. I find these headsets uncomfortable to wear.
ANC headphones, on the other hand, use modern technology to block out ambient noise. They have a small microphone inside that captures outside sound. Then, through technology, the headset can create a different sound to cancel the first noise effectively. I like this one because it is lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods. I do not feel any fatigue when I put it on.
However, if you decide to buy an ANR headphone “we have reviewed 5 of the best aviation headset for the money of 2018 and I must say you prepare to pay a hefty price for it”. If you are a student on a tight budget, you can opt for the PNR headphone instead. You can find high quality, yet affordable PNRs. Some online sites even sell used PNR headsets. You may choose to use them temporarily.
I bought a dependable flight bag to hold all my flight-training essentials. I like mine because I can store my headset safely and conveniently. Some pilot students may prefer the usual duffle bags, especially when they are on a budget. That is ok, I guess, as long as it can carry all your tools and gadgets.
If you have the money, I suggest that you buy a durable and decent flight bag for all your supplies and materials. It must be big enough so that you can still keep your paraphernalia well organized.
Now, you are ready. You have your sunglasses, fuel tester, handheld radio, flashlight, iPad, headphone and flight bag. Be sure to have a sturdy case so you can put all your student pilot essentials inside.