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Aviation Headset Information

Choosing the Right Headset for You

Choosing the right headset for your aviation needs may be one of the most important and long lasting pilot decisions you make. Owning your own headset is somewhat of a milestone for every pilot. There is certain prestig e of having your own personal equipment which also reinforces your dedication to finishing the training becoming more involved in flying. 

With so many manufacturers and styles available on the market, how can you select a headset that fits your current and future requirements? At Touch and Go Pilot Supply, years of experience in the headset industry has enabled our staff to effectively narrow your selction to one or two models that we know will meet your current and future requirements.  Unfortunately the website does not always allow us to speak directly with each and every customer. We have therefore put together some general information on aviation headsets and have provided some guidelines we recommend using when selecting your headset.

Aviation Headset General Information

Aircraft headsets exploded onto the market in the early 1980's. The system afforded the pilot clear unrestricted communication with both air traffic control and other passengers or crew. They also helped reduce the background engine noice which over long periods can have negative effects on hearing.

Aviation headsets can be divided into two broad categories: Passive Noise Reduction (PNR) and Active Noise Reduction (ANR) Headsets.

Passive Noise Reduction Headsetsrely on the insulation properties of the headset ear cup to limit background noise. The ability of the headset cup to seal over the ear and the nature of materials used to manufacture the padding in the cup become the determining factors of how well the headset will perform in limiting background noise.

Active Noise Reduction Headsetsgenerate electrical signals to effectively cancel out background noise. The system superimposes sound waves that neutralize the low frequency background noise typically associated with general aviation aircraft.  In order to support this system, ANR headsets do require a power source from either a battery pack or panel fed supply.  The technology involved in ANR headsets makes them more expensive than PNR headsets and generally more prone to operating problems.

How to Pick an Aviation Headset That is Right for You

At Touch And Go Pilot Supply, we always try to recommend a headset that will not only meet your current flight requirements, but also perform well as you progress through your flight training.  Over the years, we have identified five main factors that determine which model of headset pilots select. 

1. Price
As with all purchases, the overall cost of the item is an important consideration and, in some cases, is the dominant deciding factor. It is important to realize that higher price models does not always imply better performance. We offer some economically priced  headsets that provide fantastic reception and comfort allowing budget-minded pilots to own their own aviation headset.  In order to help you make a selection when price is a driving factor, we have categorized headsets into 3 separate groups. 
Entry Level  Headsets($99 - $250)
Intermediate Headsets ($215 -$320)
Advanced Headsets($359 - $750)

2. Flight Experience
What stage are you in your flight training or career? If you are just starting your training, we recommend borrowing or renting a headset from your training facility. This will allow you to better understand how the system works and some of the features that distinguish different models. Chances are that the headset you will be handed will be a budget headset that has been through it's own battle. All rental units tend to have endured extreme wear and tear, and perform well below the products capabilities, however it will still allow you to experience the benefits of individual aircraft communication. Once you have used and tested a few headsets, come back to us and let us know what you liked and disliked about each model.  We will then recommend a headset that meets all of your requirements and use your feedback to help educate other pilots.

3. Future Flying/ Pilot Goals
Do you have a long term aviation carear goal? Or are your piloting goals limited to more of a casual hobby?  If you plan to make flying a hobby, we recommend selecting one of the entry level headsets. These products will serve you well during your training and personal flights.  The headsets tend to be easier to resell should you decide to upgrade your headset.  If you anticipate making aviation a long lasting passion or career, we recommend you consider one of the Intermediate or Advanced Headsets. The higher priced headsets tend to outlast the entry level products and in general resist wear & tear.

4. Headset Options
Many headsets feature options such as stereo/mono speakers or individualized speaker controls on each headset ear cup.  The idea behind these features is to allow the pilot to independently adjust the audio quantity and volume for each ear.  In reality, many intercoms installed in aircraft do not support stereo outputs. In practice, most pilots adjust the headset to fit comfortably on their head and select a volume level to mid range and seldom readjust the settings.  Having the stereo feature on the set is a great option to have but one that is sometimes oversold.

5. Comfort & Convenience
The question of how the headset feels is an important consideration and one question that is often overlooked or lost in the discussion.  Most retailers tend to promote the features and performance of a headset and forget ensure that the headset actually feels comfortable on the pilots head.  All headsets have some type of adjustment to permit expansion or tightening of the ear cups.  The level of padding on the ear cups and head strap give a direct indication of how comfortable each headset will be - especially on a long flight. 

We also recommend taking note of the weight of the headset.  Although headsets generally all weigh within 1/2 lb of each other, the extra weight over a long period can induce neck strains and headaches.  We have listed the weight of each individual headset on the site to allow you to take this into consideration in your selection process.  The final comment is regarding the microphone and it's assembly.  The ability to position the microphone and swivel the boom to the other side of the headset is not only a convenience but critical in making strong and clear transmissions.  After operating with many headsets over the years, a flexible boom microphone is benificial.  In our experience the clip assembly microphones tend to loosen with wear and positioning becomes frustrating.

There are obviously many other less significant factors and personal needs, however we hope that the recommendations above give you a feel for how to best select an aviation headset that meets your requirements.  At Touch And Go Pilot Supply, we take great care to offer only headsets we have tried and tested and feel confident will provide the best quality and performance for the price.  We also recommend when purchasing a new headset that you order aheadset case orflight bagto protect and store the headset.  The number one cause of headset failures is dropping them while boarding or exiting the aircraft.  At Touch & Go Pilot Supply, we offer a wide selection ofaviation headset protective bagsand flight bags. We would very much like any of our customers to provide feedback on the headsets they order.  

Along with our extensive selection of General Aviation headsets, we also offerHelicopter Headsets,Children's Headsets,Hearing Protectors,Headset Bagsand  Aviation Headset Accessories.

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