Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What's In Your Flight Bag-Part Two | Headsets

In Part One of our "What's In Your Flight Bag" series we talked about the different types of flight bags that both pilots and non-pilot aircrew members use when on missions. Today we'll talk about the piece of equipment that keeps aircrews connected with the world around them ... aviation headsets.

The CAP Member on the left is using a David Clark headset-the member on the right is using a Bose headset
(Photo Credit SM Rommel Anacan)
I asked several squadron members about the headsets they currently use and why, and I also compiled some information from CAPTalk, an online forum for Civil Air Patrol members to provide you with a variety of opinion and experiences regarding headsets. 

2d Lt. Kerem Yogurtcugil had this to say about his headset preference, "I prefer to use a noise cancelling headset as they do work great especially in a small aircraft where the engine noise can be overwhelming. Some models cover ears and some you can insert in your ear just like a headphone. (I) prefer the full cover (for the) same reason above. There are bunch of different models out there and bottom line is reliability and durability. I have been using Bose for the last 7-8 years and did not have a single issue. Bose can be expensive, anywhere up to $1000 but with deals going on, certain amount of interest free financing made it my choice."

A CAPTalk user said, "As a long time David Clark user, I decided to buy the Bose after I got my CFI.  At first I was afraid of not being able to hear the engine and RPM changes, but I can say that you can still hear the engine and hear RPM changes.  It just takes a little to get used to.  If you plan on doing a lot of flying, I highly recommend a ANR headset.  If you like David Clark, the H10-13X is a decent ANR."

Another CAPTalk user said, "I've flown with a DC (David Clark) H10-60 Passive for 10 years and it's done well by me. 10 years ago ANR was a much newer system in headsets and at the time  I was leary of the reliability with the added compexity of the system with the added cost and a need for a battery. Actually used an ANR briefly when I was flying with a buddy a while back but I guess I didn't really give it a lot of time to test. To me a good quality passive will do fine for most of us."

Another CAPTalk commenter said, “Sigtronics S40. They do a decent enough job for a non-pilot type.

As for me (SM Anacan, here) since I am not a pilot, and I had a small budget to work with here,  I didn't believe it was important for me to have a high-end active noise cancelling headset. But it was important for me to have my own headset, so I didn't have to keep borrowing the headset in our aircraft, and so that I'd always be prepared with my own gear for future missions. 

So, I scoured eBay and found a used Softcomm C-40 Passive Noise Reduction headset for a great price. It needed new ear pads, but the great people at Softcomm sent me new ear pads for free! 

SM Rommel Anacan sporting his "new" Softcomm C40 headset

It does have the older style rubber headband top, instead of the "pillow top" style that is most common today, but after wearing it for a couple of flight hours on my last training mission, I found it pretty comfortable ... especially for the price and my role as a mission scanner. 

What headset do you use? 


by: SM Rommel Anacan, Public Affairs Officer