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Bose A20 Headset Review

Bose A20 Headset Review – a premium headset for professional pilots.

Here is our review of one of the best premium headsets around, the Bose A20. Stay tuned for more headset reviews.

Did you know that Bose pioneered the ANR (active noise reduction) headsets for the aviation market?  The Bose A20 headset is one of the premium headsets available. In fact, this headset is rated the number one brand according to readers of “Professional Pilot” magazine in a 2011 headset survey.  It was voted the most preferred headset in that year.  This is the latest model up from the Bose Aviation X, which was voted number one in the same survey every year from 2000-2005.

This is the premium headset for professional pilots or for those who spend lots of time in the sky, and is especially recommended for loud propeller or turbo prop environments.

Both my flight instructors and about two-thirds of the instructors at my flight school own this headset. This is a testament to the extremely high quality performance of this headset, and it seems it is the one of choice for most career and professional pilots. Lightweight and comfortable, the headset weighs in at only 12 ounces.

The A20 is the latest model of this noise cancelling headset.


  • Significant noise reduction, great for loud environments – such as flight training
  • Comfortable, stable fit with plenty of ear-room
  • Clear and crisp audio for reliable communications
  • Adjustable, powered microphone
  • Smart shutoff, powering off your headset when not in use – in case you forget to, saving battery
  • Auxillary audio capability for other devices, such as GPS, and Bluetooth® phone connectivity
  • Battery lasts approximately 45 hours (uses 2 AA batteries)
  • Intercomm and auxillary priority switching
  • Centre torsion spring on the magnesium headband provides a consistent, comfortable fit on any head
  • Made in the US, meets or exceeds all TSO requirements

This headset boats all of the newest innovations for noise reduction and to provide comfort, while continuing to provide extremely clean audio.  It includes and auxillary audio input and Bluetooth phone connectivity as well.

All Bose headsets come with a 5 year warranty directly from Bose.


Significant noise reduction across a wide range of frequencies. Proprietary Bose innovations use microphones both inside and outside each ear cup to sense and reduce the sounds around you.

Proprietary ear cushions are compact, yet have a large interior cavity allowing plenty of ear room; redistribution of headset weight also helps provide overall comfort and stability.

What you get

The image below shows what is included when you order this headset.  The headset itself includes two clothing clips on the chord and a control module. Also included is a carrying case, 2 AA batteries and an auxillary-in cable adapter.

What is included in the box when you order the headset. Image from Bose website.
What is included in the box when you order the headset. Image from Bose website.


Best for flight training, flight instructors and professional pilots where noise reduction is key.

Great fit and comfort, very light at only 12 oz.

Bose has excellent customer service.


Other than price, it is hard to find disadvantages for this headset.  The new model has less clamping force so is more comfortable than the previous version (Aviaion X).  However, some pilots complain the headset hurts their head on longer flights.

Where to Buy Bose A20 Headset

You Right now Amazon has the best price: Bose A20 Headset on Amazon

What is your favourite aviation headset? Comment below

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David Clark H10-13.4 Headset Review

David Clark H10-13.4 Mono Headset

In the market for a headset? Consider the David Clark H10-13.4

A headset will be your first purchase as a pilot, and it is very important! Consider this set for it’s unbeatable value and comfort for the price.

This is one of the most popular and best selling mono headsets out there – and for good reason.  If you are considering purchasing your first headset, chances are that many people have recommended the David Clark brand. It is one of the most popular headset brands, particularly for the first time purchase, but also good for commercial aviators.  Some flight schools use them as their rental sets.  There is a good reason for that – these headsets stand up well to heavy use and abuse and are very reliable.

Best in Comfort – Minimizing Fatigue

The H10-13.4 model is one of the most comfortable headsets out there, due to it’s very heavily padded contour head pad, and gel ear seals. This model is mono and features single volume control with low profile knobs, and are made in the USA.  The stereo version of this headset will have a control knob for each ear.

The headset also features a reversible boom noise-cancelling microphone which is mounted for placement on either the right or left side.  You can easily swing it from side to side depending if you want to the mic on your left or right.  The advantage to this is that it will keep the cord away from going across your body and being in the way if your plug in is on the opposite side.  For example if you are sitting in the right seat instead of left simply swing the mic around and the cord will be on your right side, minimizing clutter.

The head pad is large and comfortable.  The ear seals are large and seal very well against the ears.  They are covered with a glossy rubber that can get sweaty during flights in hot summer weather, but David Clark provides fabric ear pad covers at less than $10.  The headset has a 5 foot straight cord and has dual plugs for fixed wing aircraft. More expensive headsets will have better soundproofing and lower weight, but keep in mind are 2 to 3 times more expensive.

Deluxe Gel ear seals provide excellent noise reduction. Image from David Clark website.
Deluxe Gel ear seals provide excellent noise reduction. Image from David Clark website.

Great passive noise reduction for the price (around $300). Excellent headset, great clarity!  Has good noise reduction. Even though it’s one of David Clark’s lightest headsets, it is a little on the heavy side when compared with premium sets – however keep in mind the price difference.   You really do forget you are wearing it.  Other headsets that are a little bit cheaper are simply too tight.  Excellent durability and customer service from the manufacturer.  The headset is very comfortable, provides an effective seal against noise, was not objectionably hot nor heavy during summertime, and allowed wearing sunglasses without any problems. The pillow top spreads the headset weight on your head so you won’t really notice it’s even on, which helps reduce fatigue especially on longer flights.

When you purchase the set, make sure you order a carrying case, and one might also order some extra ear cushions.

I’ve noticed that after about 3 months of use the mic cover has a tendency of separating.  I recommend to “zip tie” the microphone cover and you will have no problems and will be very happy with the headset.

I am very satisfied with the level of noise reduction. This David Clark is comfortable, doesn’t pinch the head, and performs perfectly.  Very high level of performance particularly for the price. Great value!


  • Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad
  • New Comfort gel, undercut ear seals
  • Certified Noise Reduction Rating – 23 dB
  • Reduced headband force
  • Universal Flex Boom for perfect microphone placement
  • Exclusive M-7A, the most advanced noise-cancelling microphone available
  • Low-profile volume control knob with detent settings
  • Molded cord assembly made to exceptional pull and flex standards
  • FAA TSO Approved C57 Cat. B and C58a
  • Exceeds RTCA/DO-214 Standards
  • Weight (without cord assembly): 16.5 oz.
  • 5 Year Warranty


  • More comfortable than headsets in this price range, and excellent fit
  • Excellent manufacturer’s 5 year warranty
  • Very durable


  • Even though it’s David Clark’s lightest set, it is a little on the heavy side
  • Not an Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headset


Technical Specifications (Provided by the Manufacturer on the David Clark Website):

Earphone Type: Dynamic Noise-Canceling Mic: M-7A Amplified Electret
Earphone Impedance: 150 ohms(300 each; wired in parallel) Mic Impedance: 50 ohms +/- 20%
Earphone Sensitivity: 90 dB SPL on flat plate coupler, re 1mW input @ 1KHz Mic Sensitivity: 400mV RMS ±6dB into 150 ohm load @ 1kHz for 114dB SPL input
Earphone Frequency Response: 200-5,500 Hz Mic Freq Response: 300Hz–3.5KHz per RTCA DO 214
Earphone Plug: PJ-055 (.25″ phone plug) Mic Plug: PJ-068 (.206″ phone plug)
Boom Type: Universal Flex Cord: 5 ft.Straight
Headpad/Hardware: Super-Soft, Double-Foam Headpad,Lightweight Hardware Weight/Headset Only: 16.5 oz.

Where to Buy

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Pilot stuff for girls – Review of Powder Puff Pilot Products

Even though there are a lot of girl pilots at my school, where I would say at least one quarter of students are women and there are lots of female flight instructors, aviation still is very male dominated.   I was ready to buy a headset, which my instructor encouraged me to do so sooner rather than later.  Buying a headset should be your first purchase as a pilot, and it is your most important purchase.

Flying with my pink ANR headset from Powder Puff Pilot.
Flying with my pink ANR headset from Powder Puff Pilot.

Your ears are very important and you have to take steps to protect your hearing – small propeller driven planes are very loud and over time exposure to these loud noises can damage your hearing. As well, you need to be comfortable and not strain your hearing when talking to your instructor, ATC, or other pilots.

I found an ad for a store that sells pilot stuff for girls, and I was impressed by the uniqueness of the concept.  When I saw a headset that was pink, and even though I’m a complete tomboy I liked the idea of having something “girly” in the male-dominated flying world.  So I went for it. The headset is actually very good quality, which was my number one criteria. The fact that it was girly was an added bonus.

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.

I am very happy with the products I’ve purchased and whenever I have had an issue, they have excellent service and get back to me right away. They stand behind their products.

Flight bag and seat cushion
Flight bag and seat cushion

They also sell lots of other gear, such as flight bags, clothing, accessories, watches and they also have a seat cushion which is my absolute favorite item.  I check back regularly to see if anything new is added. My seat cushion gets a lot of comments! It is bright pink, memory foam and very comfortable.  It has two non-slip strips on one side so it doesn’t slide around in the airplane seat.

My current instructor (a guy!) teases me to no end about my girly pilot gear. Is some of the stuff is cheesy? Maybe. Cute? Definitely.  Check them out, great gifts for female aviators, aspiring aviators, and young aviators.

These products are available for purchase in our store.


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Headset Review – Powder Puff Pilot

The new ANR Headset is MP3 compatible.

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.

On final approach, wearing the headset.
On final approach, wearing the headset.


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?