First headset

So I am doing research into things I need, and this is a topic I really want to hit. What I want to know, what is a good headset to start with? I know the Bose A20 is my goal eventually, however when I worked on blackhawks in the army they used David Clark headsets. I’m looking at headsets in the range of 300-400, or less if there is a pair that is recommended. What are your thoughts?

Also, for iPads, what cellular service provider is best for flying.


As always I’m certain you’ll get conflicting opinions on this subject, BUT anyone who’s been on this forum for any period of time knows Adam LOVES Bose! Bose are light, quiet, VERY comfy and Bose provides fantastic customer service should you ever need. The downside of course is they’re expensive. My take is, as you said “Bose A20 is my goal eventually” but for now you’re looking to spend $3-400 which I understand. But then the questions becomes why spend $3-400 now and then spend another $1100 for the Bose later? You’re gonna have some long days training, longer days instructing and even LONGER days flying for a Regional. This is an investment in your career that will serve you well everyday until you move on to a Major (if in fact you ever do). I’m good at rationalizing my purchases and while again $1100 is a fair amount of money if you figure that spread out over a min of 7yrs (2 at ATP another at least 5 at a Regional) it becomes more palatable.

Here’s ATPs recommendations regarding the iPad but I’ll let someone else chime in regarding service providers.


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Yeah I get the idea of spending the extra on Bose, however i am on a budget. I have a house to get out of, and a car loan to pay off. So I have some things I have to take care of before hand. If I can find a way to pick up a set of Bose I will, but I’d prefer to keep a budget.


I am a fan of David Clarks myself. I find them to be well built headsets at a reasonable price. You can always upgrade later if you feel the need to.


That’s good to hear, I figured as much, I can’t really remember my experience with them in the army, but I don’t remember having any problem with them. Bose is definitely what I’m going for later, but seeing pilots have been fine without them for decades I think I can make due with something a bit cheaper for now.

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I just got a Pilot PA18-50 ANR headset two weeks ago, it is very comfortable to wear, light, and comes with ANR. Pretty affordable too. It has been voted as one of the best entry-level ANR headsets in the market, so it is worth to consider about.

I have to go with Adam. I did the $3-400 headset for my first year, then after a couple months at ATP I took the jump and bought the Bose. Best decision I’ve made in a while. When it comes to the iPad cellular, you don’t need to pay for the data service. Just get one that is cellular and WiFi capable, because you need cellular for the gps location. I have yet to see a need to to have added data to mine.

Awesome info, I figured out the iPad not needing the data activated shortly after posting this. Also I found that I can pick up the dc h10-76xl new on ebay relatively cheap. They have ANR and generally run 7-800$, but I’m guessing some military guys are selling theirs off because they are selling as low as 200$ new. I can grab those, get the conversion kit for GA, and I’m under 300$ with a nice set of active David Clark’s.


Since your budget is $400, whichever brand you go with will be fine. The
cellular service isn’t intended for flying. It’s for flight planning and
filing on the ground. Any network provider will work.


So interesting enough I have been checking prices on used headsets with ANR and I came across the David Clark h10-76xl. So I find these going relatively cheap on eBay, even though they sell for 790$ new. These are military headsets with ANR that people are basically selling for 1/4 the price on eBay. In my case I got a new set for 200$ and the conversion kit for the low impedance mic swap to high, and two prong cable conversion for 80$. I am fairly excited about this purchase because of the quality of the headset I got at a fraction of the price. If anyone is looking at the h10-30 or the h10-13.4 or 13x I recommend checking these out on eBay. With the h10-76xl being a standard issue it would seem they are easy to come by for an attractive price with 24db passive reduction and 17-22db additional reduction when Active.

Definitely check out Lightspeed Zulu 3. I was going between those and the Bose and ended up with the Lightspeeds and they’re great! I have never tried the Bose but have read reviews from others online saying that in the noisy Cessna environment the Lightspeeds preform a little better than the Boses do because they cup around your ear more firmly than the Bose’s do. Again, the comparison between the Bose and Lightspeeds are from reviews I found when I was trying to make this very decision a couple months ago.

I can speak for the Lightspeeds and I like them.


They’ve been working on that TSO for a decade but still no joy. For those of you that don’t know, that means it’s not approved by the FAA and while you may get away with it during training or even instructing, you will not be able to use it once you get to an airline.


Honestly guys the best deal I found was the h10-76xl set I picked up with an adapter, I got mine brand new with a converter for GA for under 300$. They retail at 790$ and have a passive dB reduction of -24, and active adds an additional -19. Best quality for the price.