My first purchase as a flight student was a headset. This is quite unarguably your most important purchase, and should be your first and done as soon as you start flying (and can afford it). Headsets can be purchased for as little as $100 and go up in price according to quality. The range is about $100 – over $1000. As you can see it is quite a huge price spread. This is an important first purchase – you need to protect your ears while flying and most flight schools offer rental headsets that just don’t fit right, are abused or neglected – and you need something good quality that is your own, so you can take care of it and will serve you well. They are your ears, so deciding how much to spend is really up to you. I suggest spending a bit more and getting something better quality and that fits properly.
When I started flying, I found an ad for “Powder Puff Pilot”, a company that makes pilot gear for girls, and purchased their noise attenuating (ANR) headset, and have been using it for years. This was my first headset, and my first purchase as a flight student.
Recently, I received the latest ANR headset from them and there have been some nice improvements. First, the headset is now MP3 compatible, meaning you can insert a headphone jack into the unit to either listen to music or talk on your phone while in flight! It is a neat feature and very convenient, and I can’t wait to try it on my cross country flight, where I might have a little more time than I do now, zooming in and out of the practice area or in the circuit.
ANR or PNR?
The headsets come with two options, either passive noise reduction (PNR) or active noise reduction (ANR). The PNR only reduces noise using the insulated gel cups while the ANR actually uses attenuation to actively reduce noise, and requires a battery. I chose the ANR model for maximum noise reduction. The ANR reduces noise attenuation by 20 decibels.
In the ANR model, a tiny microphone in the ear cup picks up noise around it, and this noise “sample” is converted into a mirror opposite of the sound – which is silence. ANR only affects certain low frequencies, so speech aircraft sound, engine sounds and changes are all easily detected. PNR models only block out noise using the physical clamping of headset on the wearer – squeezing tight to physically block out any noise. Because of this, they tend to be heavier and bulkier than ANR headsets.
The pink headset from Powder Puff Pilot comes in both ANR and PNR models. The ANR model comes with a battery pack that takes two AA batteries. When the batteries aren’t inserted (or die) the unit functions as a PNR headset. The ANR model is priced at $335 and the PNR at $210.
Highly recommend the headset. Along with the MP3 compatibility, the headset also has thick gel pads on the ears, meaning even without the battery there is good noise cancellation. The headset fits smaller than most and is good for women. The headsets come with a 1 year warranty. The warranty at Powder Puff is excellent and they stand behind their products.
Headsets are available for purchase from our store.
What is your favorite headset?