Avionics News January 2018 - 49

clamping pressure make them comfortable to wear.
Models exist for everything from piston-aircraft
cockpits to business-jet flight decks. Also, no battery to
die mid-trip.
Cost wise, models range from the low end of the
price scale to the upper end - just below the mostexpensive ANR headsets.
From top to bottom ...
Third up: Over-the-ear passive
Long the only option for aircraft flight crews, overthe-ear passive headsets remain popular among many
pilots, in part thanks to their improved attenuation
effectiveness, light weight and, in particular, low costs.
Advantages: Low costs with reasonable noiseattenuation effectiveness. Light weight and low costs;
and no batteries required.
Disadvantages: Higher clamping pressure and lower
attenuation effectiveness.
Tricks and tips
Some of today's newest headsets offer Bluetooth
connectivity to allow the headset user to make
cellphone calls or listen to music. Some models today
are wireless, freeing the user from the lengthy pair of
wires typically used to plug into the aircraft intercom
system.
Other ANR models have automatic shut-off features
that eliminates the problem of leaving the headset
turned on when leaving the aircraft - only to return
later to find the batteries dead in the ANR headset.
And not all ANR headsets have good sound-attenuation
capabilities without the ANR functioning - though
that's starting to change with some models.
Avionics shops should help their customers determine
what features they consider important and help them
shop accordingly.
Trial and error:
Picking a pair to match the pilot
For this pilot, some products needed just won't get
bought without a hands-on sampling of that product.
For example, no buying shoes online; how they fit
is everything, and my interest in buying, testing and
returning is zero.
Aviation headsets fall under that same banner. Too
personal and their functionality is too important to buy

without trying. And many pilots feel the same - though
many also try out a friend's headset and decide they
want the same piece of flight-bag kit.
Helping a pilot or aircraft owner select should
involve first determining the budget - that will narrow
the shopping list some. The aircraft owner should also
know whether ANR is on the list, or whether a highperforming passive set will do.
When checking out ANR models, aircraft owners
should know the attenuation available with the ANR
functioning. Some ANR models do better passively than
other ANR models. Some ANR models don't do well as
passive sets.
The combination of high ANR reduction with a
moderate to high degree of passive attenuation will
yield the highest total sound reduction at the user's ears.
So what's it gonna cost?
Thanks to a highly dynamic, competitive market and
the range of options between different competitors,
aviation headsets are available at a wide range of price
points - from about $175 for a set of the lowest-cost
passive headset package to more than $1,100 for the
highest-price ANR sets - sets which also run to the
lightest in weight.
Somewhere between those extremes is a set to satisfy
almost everyone. But the only sure way to know is to
put a set on the prospect and head out for a few laps
around the pattern. After all, fit and clamping pressure
are important traits to sample when shopping for a new
pair of aviation headsets.
If too lose, the headset's ear seals may not produce
the maximum seal of which they're capable; if too
tight, the headset begins to feel like a vice squeezing
the wearer's ears. Weight also plays a role in long-term
comfort - with lighter, of course, being better.
Helping a pilot or aircraft owner select a new headset
is, ideally, a project involving some test-flying time
to assure the buyer is comfortable. They're the one
who will wear the set for years to come, so sampling
the package for good fit, light weight and excellent
attenuation functionality are paramount.
But once fitted and adjusted, the ideal aviation
headset will be comfortable enough to prompt the
occasional attempt to exit the plane while still wearing
the headsets - because they're so comfortable that the
user forgot them. q
avionics news

*

january

2018

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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
Avionics News January 2018 - 6
Avionics News January 2018 - 7
Avionics News January 2018 - 8
Avionics News January 2018 - 9
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Avionics News January 2018 - 11
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Avionics News January 2018 - 18
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Avionics News January 2018 - Cover3
Avionics News January 2018 - Cover4
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