As navigating flight requires great attention and the ability to focus on many complex tasks at a time, the last thing a pilot needs is additional distractions. With such a challenging job, having a functioning headset with certain features allows for safer flight. As it is vital that pilots have uninterrupted communication with Air Traffic Control (ATC) free from unwanted cockpit noise, this blog will briefly explore some important factors to consider when procuring your pilot headset.
Besides posing the risk of causing distractions, cabin noise can reach up to 90 dB during a regular flight, enough to cause hearing loss. That being said, in addition to providing pilots protection from the cabin noise, headsets also play a lot more roles, like enabling easy and hands-free communication with crew and passengers. While each airline might provide the pilot with a headset, it can be wise for pilots to choose and own their own headsets as they can get comfortable with a design that works best for them. If you are in the market for your own headset, the first factor to consider is the type of noise reduction you require.
The three options of noise reduction for headsets comprise active noise reduction (ANR), passive noise reduction (PNR), and dynamic noise reduction (DNR). While PNR headsets are all over-the-ear to create a barrier, ANR headsets work by monitoring the incoming sounds through a tiny-size microphone and can be in-ear or on-ear. Meanwhile, DNR headsets are more advanced in that they remove unwanted sounds from outside by digitally identifying the signals of the noise and then suppressing them.
This being said, a second factor to consider is whether you work best with in-ear, over-ear, or on-ear headset designs. Over-ear headsets are ideal for pilots flying high-performance engines or open cockpits, while on-ear and in-ear designs are less passive and are well-suited for commercial jets having low decibels. A third factor to consider during purchase is your flight time. For private pilots and students, an entry-level PNR headset is ideal to start with. However, for long-distance flights, you must consider entry-level ANR headsets. Additionally, it is wise to choose a headset that provides you with the most comfort, as discomfort can be distracting and ruin a pilot’s concentration.
With Bluetooth features available, you should also consider your headset’s connectivity capabilities as related to your smartphone, the alerts you receive, and other such features. Lastly, it is important to pay attention to the cable types used with your headset. These include twin-plugs, 6-pin plug, airbus plug, helicopter plug and such capabilities. The most common out of these is twin-plug; however, you should consider which feature is the most suitable for your cabin functionality. With these six features in mind, some additional considerations include frequency response range, signal type, and microphone type.
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