Avionics News January 2018 - 46

industry

AVIATION HEADSETS OFFER
VARIETY IN FUNCTIONS

CONVERSATION
AIDS
S T O R Y

T

B Y

D A V E

here is no doubt in my mind. Moments
before his first failed attempt at piloting
the Wright Flyer off its rail launch system,
Wilbur Wright noticed his brother, Orville, shouting a
question. Wilbur's response would go down in history as
the first of many cockpit conversations answered with a
single shouted word: "What?!"
With the din of four unmuffled stacks discharging the
exhaust of four rapidly heating cylinders barking behind
his head, Wilbur only knew Orville spoke to him because
the former saw the latter's lips move. Doubtful either
could hear anything above the cacophony of strong wind
across the Outer Banks, the whirring of the two counterrotating props - and the piercing punctuation of four
straight exhaust pipes.
Thanks to a few thousand hours of flying with
insufficient hearing protection, many of my pilot
acquaintances deal with the world outside aviation with
the aid of hearing boosters - hearing aids, we call them,
46

AVIONICS NEWS

*

JANUARY

2018

H I G D O N

electronic devices that help counter some of the hearing
loss pilots traditionally suffer from spending lengthy
stretches of sitting behind, next to or in front of other
engines - sans mufflers.
Thanks to the need for clearer cockpit
communications, pilots for the past 70 years have
enjoyed access to a vast array of hearing-protective
devices we call headsets - in truth, a combination device
with a microphone for the user to talk through and two
hollow cups to cover and protect the ears.
Unknown to World War I pilots, aviation headsets,
VHF radios and in-aircraft intercoms were wellestablished accessories by the time our fathers,
grandfathers and a few of our mothers and grandmothers
took to the skies to win World War II for the Allies.
Before World War II, this combination of these devices
quickly became indispensable tools for the military;
when those pilots returned to civilian cockpits, they
brought those tools with them.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News January 2018

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Avionics News January 2018 - Intro
Avionics News January 2018 - No label
Avionics News January 2018 - Cover2
Avionics News January 2018 - 1
Avionics News January 2018 - 2
Avionics News January 2018 - 3
Avionics News January 2018 - 4
Avionics News January 2018 - 5
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Avionics News January 2018 - Cover3
Avionics News January 2018 - Cover4
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