As a pilot, packing your flight bag is much like packing for a long weekend. You will need to map your route, avoid potential obstructions along the way, and enjoy the journey. The professional team at Airlink Flight School is here with some helpful tips on choosing the right flight bag as well as the essential gear you will need inside to make your trip a success.
Choosing Your Pilot Flight Bag
While your choice of flight bag can be attractive, fashion is not the goal. Rather, you want to select a pilot flight bag that is functional as it holds all the gear you need for a successful flight. Flight bags are available in all shapes, sizes, and styles, so you are sure to find the right one which meets your needs. Budget can be a factor in choosing your flight bag, especially if you are currently a student. If budget is a consideration, you should always choose function over style. You’ll want a flight bag that is durable and substantial enough to hold your gear securely.
Choose a flight bag which is designed with organization as a priority, so you aren’t fumbling to find what you need. Ideally, you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for within, with your eyes never leaving the sky!
The material from which your bag is crafted is also an important factor. In making your selection, you will need to do your research to determine what works best for you. Keep in mind, while leather is quite durable and protective, as well as stylish, it is also the most costly of the flight bag options available. A hard case bag will deliver excellent protection as well, but is also more costly. Nylon and polyester flight bags, while often durable, will offer a lower level of protection but save you a lot of money.
All in all, when choosing your pilot flight bag, you want a functional bag that is reliable and durable, protect your gear, and help you remain organized while flying so you are as prepared as possible.
Packing Your Flight Bag
When packing your flight bag, consider the length of your trip. Obviously, a three-hour jaunt over the local area will require less gear than a cross-country adventure. The important point is you want to pack the essentials, both functional and practical, like the items on this handy checklist.
- An Aviation Headset – Safety first, your aviation headset keeps you in control with air traffic control while protecting your hearing. Aviation headsets are available with passive noise reduction (PNR) which offer a seal against noise and active noise reduction (ANR) which sense noise and cancel it. When choosing your aviation headset, make the investment in quality – which will keep noise and last you for years to come.
- The E6B Computer – Your E6B Flight Computer is one of the remaining analog devices still widely used in general aviation, particularly in flight schools on check rides and FAA pilot exams. Not only can your E6B calculate fuel burn, but estimated time as well as ground speed. A number of its function can be replaced by apps/digital devices, but the E6B remains dependable if your app/digital device malfunctions in flight.
- A Kneeboard – The kneeboard, quite simply, provides a desk-like surface for you to take notes while flying. Most have clips to hold charts in place as well as a strap to secure to it to your thigh. Kneeboards come in many types from a simple flat board to a collapsible version which can also hold cell phones or tablets.
- Logbook and Chart Supplement – Logbooks remain essential in keeping a record of your flying hours and flight details. The Chart Supplement includes the lower 48 states, divided into regions with facility descriptions (state/city). Additional supplements are available for the Pacific region and Alaska. These provide a paper supplement to modern navigation tools.
- Sunglasses –Sunglasses are a valuable asset when flying in daylight.
- Flashlights – Whether an LED to help with pre-flight inspections at night or a red light version for use while flying, flashlights are an invaluable addition to your flight bag.
- An Aviation Radio – While not a requirement, a handheld aviation radio is a priceless addition should your comms go down during your flight.