Your aviation headset is an important piece of flight equipment. The right headset can help you stay safe and comfortable during your flight, while the wrong headset can be a nuisance.
Invest in quality equipment that enhances your piloting experience. Read about these three things to consider when choosing an aviation headset.
1. Noise Reduction
One of the key reasons headsets are an essential aviation item for pilots is that they reduce noise. How much this feature matters to you depends on the type of aircraft you’re flying. You can choose between passive noise reduction (PNR) headsets that physically block sounds and active noise reduction (ANR) headsets that add an electronic barrier for noise protection.
Light aircraft tend to have noisier cockpits, so you’ll want a headset with a high level of noise reduction. A full-dome headset with ear cups that surround your ears will offer this benefit.
On the other hand, if you’re piloting a commercial aircraft, you won’t need as much noise reduction. In this case, you don’t need a bulky full-dome headset. Instead, you might prefer a lightweight on-ear headset.
The second thing to consider when choosing an aviation headset is comfort. The headset’s weight and how it sits on your head are the two greatest factors that influence how comfortable the headset feels. The lighter the headset, the more comfortable it feels—especially on longer flights.
The headpad and ear seals impact how well the headset fits your head. Typically, larger headpads help the headset fit better on your head, but they also make the headset bulkier.
You can choose between gel and foam ear seals. Gel seals are normally more comfortable but also more costly. Foam ear seals cost less but can break down faster.
3. Entertainment Capabilities
Finally, headsets can enhance your flight experience by providing you with audio entertainment. Of course, you should never let music distract you and endanger you and your passengers. However, listening to music can make stretches of your flight more enjoyable.
You can choose a headset with audio entertainment capabilities built-in or you can buy a specialty adapter that can connect a music-playing device, such as a cell phone, to your headset.