All posts tagged 'Cirrus'

Best Headsets for Your Money in 2021

Well well well, the article we've all been waiting for: how to buy a decent headset without breaking the bank!

Future tip, everything in aviation breaks the bank. Run away while you still can ;)

1) Bose QC35 & NFlight Mic

Looking for some Bose A20's without the price tag? Well, here you go. These headphones are very similar. By buying the Bose QC35 ii and the NFlight Nomad Aviation Microphone, you get the benefit of having normal headphones that double as a headset for about $500, half the price of the A20's! With this, you get noise-cancelling and professional microphone quality. And don't worry, if the headphones die, the microphone still works so you're not left with dead comms. But here's the downside:

  1. this headset is not TSO'd for those who are required to have it for work
  2. the microphone disables Bluetooth when plugged in

HOWEVER, both of these are fixable. You can make this TSO'd by purchasing the NFlight Nomad with David Clark Microphone instead for a higher price than the regular Nomad Pro. Any purchases through NFlight Mic are refundable within 30 days and have a lifetime warranty in which the company will replace the mic attachment, even if the damage is due to abuse. You can also get your Bluetooth back by buying a 3rd piece that costs less than $8. Because the mic disables Bluetooth when plugged in, the Apple Headphone Jack Adapter can plug into the mic box then into your phone and now you get music back in flight!

While the Bose headphones and NFlight Mic have the most popular reviews, you don't have to use these exact brands. A similar company called UFly Mike makes these microphone attachments and also has quality customer service. These microphones are approved to work on any headphones that have a 2.5mm auxiliary audio output. A technical specification says they "can also be easily converted to be compatible with headsets with 3.5mm auxiliary audio inputs with the use of a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm adapter. Popular headsets with a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm adapter:  Sony 1000XM2 and 1000XM3" so you have a range of options depending on what you may already own!

2) David Clark H10-13.4

Okay, first and foremost you can never go wrong with David Clark. The DC H10-13.4 model is your basic and best flight training headset, I won't be convinced otherwise. If you're on the hunt for a headset that will:

  • last forever
  • is comfortable to wear for hours
  • has a good cable length
  • has a foam cushion for the top of your head
  • come from a company with great customer service
  • offers excellent sound quality

then this is the headset for you. Given this does not offer Bluetooth or noise-cancelling, but now you don't have to worry about replacing batteries. Almost no maintenance is ever needed (although I'd recommend cleaning the earpads after a sweaty flight for hygiene purposes). Every time you're ready to fly, just grab this and go. The link attached for this one (in the above paragraph) includes a headset bag which is a must-have. It has different zippers to hold your medical, certificates, photo ID, and whatever else you need. 

For flight training students needing a headset that is cheap but won't break every 6 months, I recommend this every time. In fact, almost all of my students have purchased this exact model and love it. 

3) FARO Stealth Audio Link

Disclaimer: this one isn't a full-on headset. This is a product advertised by Sporty's that can convert any headset -- any brand, passive or active noise reduction -- to a Bluetooth headset. While I've used David Clark's and the NFlight mic conversion, I haven't had the ability to try this out. It's on the to-do list to order and review soon! 

So far the FARO Stealth Audio Link has 4 out of 5 stars with multiple reviews. The downside it seems is the cables can be kind of bulky and it needs improvement on the squelch transmission. But overall you get Bluetooth capability on older headsets that didn't have it installed and it pairs easily with your phone. 

4) FARO Stealth 2 Passive Headset

Last but not least! I had a student send this to me recently and decided to look into it because I was intrigued. This is a basic headset that offers good sound quality but also Bluetooth for less than $250. The FARO Stealth 2 Passive Headset offered through Sporty's is kind of new to the market.

Tested by multiple CFI's (even during covid having to wear a mask), feedback said the Bluetooth sound quality is great and the mic picks up sound easily. What this headset lacks is noise-canceling, which if you're flying GA then do you really need it? Not all small planes are super loud and it's good to be able to hear the engine the entire flight so you can detect if it's trying to tell you something is wrong. This headset may be best for pilots building time and doing longer flying days who aren't looking to spend a lot of money. 

Looking for any other Pilot Supplies? Click on that link and check out our directory of tons of pilot supplies ranging from "A Cut Above" uniforms to aviator sunglasses and, of course, headsets!

Best of luck in your search for a new headset! Questions about any of these or have a headset you'd like to see added to this post? Comment below. 

3 Planes to Add to Your Christmas List

1) Cessna 182 on Floats

Seaplane ratings are one of the least sought after ratings by pilots. They're usually not needed to pursue most professional careers, so if people don't need to spend money on them, they just don't!

They're most popular in places like Florida and Alaska where the landscape is better suited for the aircraft type.

Some of the most fun planes to fly on the water are a Cessna 182 or a Piper Super Cub on Floats.

Even cooler is the Icon, specifically the A5 model. There are lots of different planes that are fun to fly on the water, but my favorite has to be the Piper Super Cub of these 3 listed.  

2) Cirrus SR22

I'm quoting one of my country coworkers when I say this (so read it in a southern accent): the SR22 is the 'cat's meow' of general aviation. It truly cannot get any better than this. Cirrus set out to design something highly aerodynamic that, while even being a high weight, has a long glide range and fast TAS. 

Cirrus are high-quality aircraft. Usually, they come with a hefty price tag, but they're worth every penny. 

Butterfly doors, a certified parachute, and spring-loaded controls as its own rudder gust lock system give it unique qualities. But the best thing is it's just an easy plane to fly. While being a sleek plane, the checklists are still simple and operating procedures are easy to understand -- there's nothing in the systems that's entirely different from something like a C172. You might have to learn FADEC or adjust to flying a constant-speed prop without having a manifold pressure lever, but most pilots get the hang of things in 2-3 flights. 

3) Diamond DA 62

Well, do I need to say anything after you look at this picture? The DA 62 is without a doubt my favorite multi-engine general aviation type aircraft. 

This is like the SR22: easy to fly, has great maneuverability, and is again the "cat's meow" of flying! While the cirrus is easily a favorite single-engine piston type plane, this is the gold medalist of the multi-engine world (outside of turbojets). For those shopping for a plane that has good economic fuel burn but also has good speed to make it to different destinations across the states within a day: THIS.IS.IT.

I can't say it enough, you don't want to miss out on flying this plane! A single flight in these makes a multi-engine ticket worth it.

Any other ideas on planes to ask Santa for this year? There are always lots of fun aircraft to fly that are easily forgotten or not flown as much but are still such a blast. 

Stay tuned and let us know what you guys get for Christmas! It's always fun to see what pilots around the world get as gifts; unique people make for unique presents.

Flying Glass Cockpit vs The Six Pack

This is probably one of the most popular topics in aviation that I hear about and have to teach about ALL of the time. 

Six pack is the old school way, aka the steam gauges that bring you back and make you feel like you're learning to fly in the '50s. Or at least this is one of the jokes I hear from fellow aviators and students. 

But it's true! This is the "old school way" if that's what you want to call it. But, don't discount it. The steam gauges create really good flying skills that can carry into the rest of your career and set a good foundation.

On the other hand, the glass cockpit is the newer style of things and we have to learn to adapt. 

This G1000 features Avidyne Avionics from a Cirrus SR20 and below the screens a Garmin 430. On the left side is a PFD (primary flight display), which makes sense because it shows your primary flight instruments. Everything from the six pack (which we'll come back to) is now featured on this screen, including your rudder coordination which is the black and white triangle at the top. Keep the white part of the triangle centered with the black (keep the snow on top of the mountain) and you're coordinated!

All of this is powered by a separate computer. You still have a pitot tube and static ports, and this air is sent in lines to flight management systems to display the information. The advantage of this is the controls have fewer mechanical components to break down and avoid false readings. One major advantage of a glass cockpit is that the automation systems are more accurate and the information is more precise.

Some of the features look different, but if you can read the older style gauges, you can read this. Some added tools include the heading and altitude bugs that you can't always set on the six pack as a reminder of when to level off. Now if you have advanced avionics like this and added autopilot, consider your plane a technically advanced aircraft! This is a plus of having a glass cockpit. 

However, there is one con I find of training with this. When learning to read these, if you go straight into the digitalized cockpit without doing any training in a traditional style, then your instrument scan is negatively affected.

As you can see, all of the readings are displayed on one screen and it can be easy to monitor all the readings at once. 

With these instruments, now they're all separate from each other. You have to move your eyes across all of them at a good pace and thus create a good instrument scan while flying the plane at the same time. This creates a solid foundation for good flying skills, especially when you have to take those skills into flying IFR without autopilot. 

As mentioned earlier, all of these instruments have mechanical linkages behind them which can break and render the entire instrument unusable with little to no sign beforehand. This is the con of flying the steam gauges, and you usually have to replace the entire instrument to fix it. They also can be slightly inaccurate when incorporating some principles like gyroscopic procession with your gyro-powered instruments. The altimeter, even when set to the right altimeter setting, can read inaccurate and within time has to be fixed too. 

Both traditional flying and digitalized flying have their own benefits and are each respected throughout the aviation community, it's all about what you fly best. Find planes with the best cockpit for you on Globalair.com

Stay tuned for more articles and happy landings!

What To Do If You Have a Bird Strike

Last month I gave some tips on how to conquer summertime flying. It's hot outside, performance is decreased, the weather isn't always the best, etc. 

Well, there's one topic we didn't really discuss, and that's...

BIRDS.

Cue the dramatic music. Because they're EVERYWHERE.

Since the last post, within the past two weeks, I've had two bird strikes while instructing. Neither were catastrophic, but each one cut our flight short (so more just inconvenient).

Here's what happened each time:

Pictured above is from the first bird strike incident. A student and I were doing some laps in the pattern and were all too familiar with dodging birds from earlier lessons. So when we saw a small bird coming at us we didn't panic, just tried to curve to the side and avoid it. 

At first, it seemed we were in the clear until we heard a "ding" sound from the left side. We looked at each other then looked back at the strut and gear to see where it hit but couldn't see anything. BUT, we heard it, and even though we weren't 100% sure where it hit we decided to just make a full stop. 

After shutting down on the ramp we saw where it hit the strut. Mechanics verified our inspection and no damage was done!

Now bird strike number 2: this one was a little more dramatic (and kind of funny if you have terrible humor like me). 

Instead of a Cessna, a different student and I were in our SR20 who we named "Sherman." Don't judge, it's a great plane and therefore needed a great name! Anywho, Sherman, myself, and the student were just cleared for takeoff and started bringing the power in. As the engine instruments and airspeed were being checked we saw a black shadow hit our windshield and roll off. So, power was brought back and as we kept positive control of the plane we notified tower we had a possible bird strike and needed to taxi off to shutdown. Once approved we taxied off and shutdown as soon as possible. That's where we found some blood on the cowling...it didn't just hit the windshield.

So, I called tower back and said we'd need a tow back to the hangars. While we waited we obviously had to document the incident with a selfie! I knew this would be going on the blog too after the second time, so I wanted to capture the proof. After we got our tow back mechanics checked the engine and verified yet again no structural damage, and Sherman was back on the flight line. 

So, I know one thing you might be thinking: why did they shutdown for a bird strike? 

In both incidents, I wasn't 100% sure where the bird hit. And even then, I can't see just from the cockpit what possible damage the hit caused. Bird strikes can be kind of funny like in our selfie moment, but they can also be as serious as the famous Sully on the Hudson River case. I know another instructor who had a bird strike and kept flying because "it was fine" and later landed to find a huge dent in the flap. Even in terms of structural damage, what if it strikes the wing and ruptures a fuel tank? It's okay to be too safe and cautious in these cases. 

In the case of a bird strike, here's what to do:

  • - Try to pinpoint where the bird hit so you can estimate what kind of structural damage may have been caused, and have a game plan set to counteract any problems that could have come from it.
  • - Land as soon as possible. You can't see everything from the cockpit and there may be damage unseen to you. 
  • - Be cautious, but never panic. I can't stress this enough, don't stress!! This is when your flying will be negatively affected. 
  • - Report the bird strike. You won't get in trouble, birds can be impossible to avoid in many cases so it's likely not your fault. Report it to a controller if you're in controlled airspace or other pilots if you're at an uncontrolled field. 
  • - Do a thorough inspection after landing and shutdown, but also have a mechanic verify it before releasing it back to fly. 
  • - After landing, report it to the FAA on the FAA Wildlife Strike Database. This is used for collecting statistics and understanding how we can mitigate further incidents. 

Bird strikes usually have a minuscule impact on the flight, but imagine other cases where they come through the windshield and have even hit the pilot(s). That's a scary thought, but at the end of the day, you just have to FLY THE PLANE. Never panic, maintain control, and fly like you were taught too.

In other news, don't forget about the annual Globalair.com Scholarship! Applications close this month on August 15th. We'll be picking two recipients to help further their flight training towards a professional pilot career. 

Questions or comments to add to this article? Post below!

Regional Corporate Pilot: via “The Pilot Slot”

   A leadership coach once spoke of growing up in Nebraska. When he spoke, he said “there are things you learn while growing up in the country that you just can't learn anywhere else.” I found that extremely fascinating; after all, a person’s roots typically tends to tell a lot about that person. Interesting fact; because of this article, I learned that many famous names have come out of Nebraska, including Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Johnny Carson and Larry the Cable Guy! Although I’ve not personally met with any of those people, each of them had what it takes to fight for what they wanted in life. Becoming a household name doesn’t typically happen overnight. I would like to share with you a story of one truly inspirational pilot and fine Nebraska native that is living and breathing aviation every single day.

   Jim McIrvin was born in Nebraska in 1964. He grew up on his family’s farm, went to school and played with his friends; no different than any other young boy his age. Jim was just a boy in grade school when he met a science teacher that changed his life. He never forgot this man, for he was a man who collected and built model airplanes. If that wasn’t inspiration enough, Jim’s best friend’s “Uncle Gene” was sure to push Jim over the aviation edge. Jim was in the second grade when “Uncle Gene” came into his class for career day and spoke high and wide of his job as a Coast Guard Pilot. People don’t tend to forget the days that change their lives, and for Mr. McIrvin, this had been one of those days. Years later, while the family packed things up and prepared to move off of the farm, Jim would stumble across his father’s dusty old log book from World War II. Although his father had been trained as a pilot in the war, he never had a chance to actually fly in the war. Nonetheless, Jim appreciated and respected his father for this, and so it was, aviation had officially been set in stone for Mr. Jim McIrvin. Unfortunately, as a boy, flight was nothing more than a dream for McIrvin. Jim spent most of his childhood with his head in the clouds, dreaming of a day when his feet might join him. All the while, Jim kept busy on the ground, building model airplanes of his own and farming his family’s land. While in high school, Jim applied and was accepted into an Air Force ROTC program that would eventually grant him with an opportunity to attend college in Saint Louis, Missouri at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology; via “the pilot slot.”

   It wasn’t until 1983 however, that Jim’s feet finally met his heart and soul in the sky. He was a sophomore in college, spending his spare time in one of the various local FBO’s of the Saint Louis, where he would go to watch the planes take off and come in. One afternoon, a man flew in from out of town in his personal Bonanza aircraft and asked Jim if he would care to accompany this man to a local airplane museum. Startled at first, certainly Jim couldn’t pass on an opportunity such as this. He kindly complied and off they went into the horizon via the stranger’s Bonanza aircraft in search of the aviation museum.

   During Jim’s senior year in college, he was awarded with his second pilot scholarship; this time, Jim had been awarded with an opportunity to pursue flight training in an accredited Air Force pilot training program. However, before he would become eligible to be sent into this pilot training, the Air Force required Jim to complete a rather lengthy screening process as well as successfully accomplish his first solo flight within seven hours of dual training with an instructor. Once Jim had successfully completed this task, as well as the required screening, he would be finished with his Air Force duties until the day he graduated as an officer. Until then however, there was no was no way that Jim would be sitting around with his feet on the ground! McIrvin had begun with his private training and wasn’t planning on stopping after just one solo flight. At that point, Jim took matters into his own hands and finished his private training at the FBO with his instructor. Once Jim had successfully completed his private pilot training he began competing with the NIFA program (National Intercollegiate Flying Association) via Park's flying team; the Flying Billikens. Apparently, Jim had been affiliated with this program throughout all four years of his college career; however, he had only participated as a ground member. It wasn’t until McIrvin’s senior year that he would compete nationally in the “SAFECON” flight competition, located at Ohio State University.

   Finally in 1986, Jim McIrvin graduated from Park’s College of Engineering, and carried on into the United States Air Force. During McIrvin’s military training he flew the Cessna T-37 Tweet as well as the Northrop T-38 Talon aircraft for precisely one year. Upon graduating from this training, McIrvin went directly to the FAA in order to test for and acquire his commercial pilot’s license. At that point, Jim was sincerely in need of flight time; no worries though, Jim was headed overseas on his very first Air Force assignment flying an F-111 in Desert Storm combat. In 1991, Jim became a certified flight instructor teaching student pilots to fly military aircraft such as the F-111, F-16 and the T-38. After teaching students on the side for just one year, McIrvin received his ATP rating in 1992. In 2000, Jim decided to transition into the Air Force Reserves in order to take a very promising FO airline job working for United Airlines, flying the Boeing 737. This was fantastic experience and not to mention great flight time for Mr. McIrvin. Unfortunately, once 9/11 happened, United Airlines laid off several thousand employees for a companywide downsize movement and needless to say, Jim was one of these several thousand involved. It was because of the downsize that Jim decided to reconnect with the military on a full-time, active duty status. In 2007 Jim added his single engine sea rating as well as a multi-engine sea rating and in 2010 McIrvin became type rated to fly in the Embraer Phenom 100 as well as the Phenom 300.

   In 2008, Jim retired from the United Stated Air Force and went to fly for the newly developed flight department of The Southern Bleacher Company. With this company, Jim flew in one of two different aircraft, depending on the job; either a Socata TBM 850 or Cirrus SR22. Today however, four years later, the Southern Bleacher Company’s fleet has grown and now includes two very beautiful aircraft; an Embraer Phenom 100 as well as a Piper Malibu Mirage. Jim’s job as chief pilot is to maintain these aircraft and of course, fly them to and from regional job sites. As a hobby, McIrvin continues flight instructing on the side. He is also very involved with the Young Eagles program and he serves as mentor pilot in the Phenom aircraft.

   From a very young age Jim knew that he wanted to fly. He didn’t look at the long term things like time or cost; and he didn’t care about the expense of how he might get there. Jim knew what he wanted from life and he never took “No” for an acceptable answer. “Just because the answer was No today, does not necessarily mean it will be the same answer tomorrow, or the next day” Jim stated. Jim McIrvin enjoys being a role model and a leader in the aviation world. He encourages all young people who dream of flight, (people like me) to take that leap and never look back. McIrvin says “Don’t be afraid to ask the questions; if it’s something you want, don’t ever stop trying.” As I conclude I would like to thank Mr. Jim McIrvin for contacting me and telling me his story.
   -- Jim shared with me a specific memory that touched his heart in a very special way. Years ago, Jim was very much involved with the Young Eagles program, even more so than he currently is today. McIrvin was giving free discovery flights to the young cadets involved in the program and out of the kindness of his heart; he chose to fly these cadets in his own private aircraft. One young man in particular, by the name Matt, sought after Mr. Jim McIrvin and asked for help in acquiring his private license. Young matt had been the only student that had chased after flight lessons and his willingness to fly sparkled in his eyes. Young Matt wasn’t taking “No” for an acceptable answer. Jim greatly appreciated Matt’s drive to learn, and made a bargain. Matt was to come to the airport on a regular basis and clean Jim’s personal aircraft in exchange for flight lessons. As the story goes, Matthew completed his private and carried all the way through flight training. In 2010 Matt graduated from flight school and is now a pilot in the U.S. Air force.

   There are pilots all over the world who want to share their story and their talents with young flight-driven students. Like Jim McIrvin, these pilots hope to help in leading students down a pathway to success. In the words of Jim McIrvin, “if it’s your dream, keep after it and never let it go.”

Jim and Matt

Phenom 100 with Jim

Note from the Author: Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my articles! I cannot even begin to describe how much I’ve learned in just a few short months since I started with this series. You are all such inspiring aviators and pilots, so thanks for reaching out to me with your comments and emails. I hope you enjoyed this article, now get yourselves prepared for my next article and in the meantime, keep up the awesome thoughts, comments and on-blog conversations! -As always, please feel free to message me directly with your thoughts at - [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you!

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