My Gear List

Hi everyone,

I’ve finally finished purchasing all of the gear required for the program and want to share with you the items that I ultimately decided to go with and why. A lot of research went into my purchases, and I found the posts and advice on this website very helpful in my decision-making process. There are a TON of different options for pilot gear, and what works best for you will ultimately come down to your own preferences. Hopefully, this helps you in your search too!

Headset: David Clark DC ONE-X

When I started looking for a headset, I knew I wanted to buy a high-end model with ANR and a good mic so that I can hear my instructor/radio transmissions/ATC clearly. I narrowed my choices down to the Bose A20, Lightspeed Zulu 3, or David Clark One-X.

I went to my local airport’s pilot shop to try on the headsets and immediately ruled out the Lightspeed Zulu 3’s due to comfort. The headset felt heavy and bulky compared to the other two, and there was more a bit more clamping than I’d like. I could see it getting uncomfortable when wearing for long periods of time.

I didn’t have high expectations out of the David Clark One-X’s and was immediately surprised by how comfortable and well-made the headset was, especially when compared to the Bose A20’s. The Bose A20’s had a bit of a cheap plastic feel and felt loose on my head. When I turned my head from side to side, I could feel the headset moving from their fixed position and the ear seals breaking and letting in background noise. Comparably, the DC One-X’s felt sturdier and better made and were extremely comfortable. There was minimal clamping, but they felt sturdy and stayed fixed when I moved my head from side to side. The DC One X’s were the most compact of the 3, and could be folded down for storage to about a 30% smaller size than the A20’s.

I tested the ANR on each headset and was really impressed with all 3. I couldn’t hear any background noise at all when the ANR was on with the Bose A20’s or the Lightspeed Zulu 3’s. The ANR on the DC One-X was also great, but not quite as good as the other two headsets. I considered this to be a pro, because I don’t want the ANR on my headset to be so good that it drowns out vital noises in the plane (like if there was an issue with the engine/propeller/etc.).

All of these things considered, I still had a hard time deciding between the Bose A20 and the DC One-X. The A20 is the gold standard and considered the best of the best, and while my gut said that I didn’t like them as much as the David Clarks, they were still an excellent choice. The A20 has a much more sleek/professional look, while the One-X has a more vintage look. The One-X is also $200 less than the Bose A20’s.

Ultimately, I decided to go with the One-X because of comfort, quality material, compact size, and the right level of ANR for me. Also, I’m one of the people that like DC’s vintage green look.

iPad- Apple iPad Pro (9.7in, 128GB, LTE)

iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro? I ruled out the regular iPad and iPad Air models early on due to the slower processing speeds and potential resulting ForeFlight lag. The iPad Air was easy to rule out because I didn’t see the value of it when compared to the iPad Pro. They’re similarly priced, but the Pro is simply much more powerful than the Air and has a better display.

That leaves the iPad Mini and the iPad Pro. The iPad mini has a processor that’s comparably powerful to the Pro, a smaller screen, and a facory anti-glare screen. My decision ultimately came down to the size of the screen. While the Mini is more compact and easier to fit in the cockpit, I went with the full-size screen because I want the larger display for ForeFlight and taking notes. I didn’t want the screen to be too big, so I ruled out all iPad models with screens over 10.5 inches. Since the latest iPad Pro model has an 11-inch screen, I decided on the slightly older 9.7 inch iPad Pro. I bought it refurbished off of Amazon for a good deal. I also bought an anti-glare (matte) screen protector to reduce glare in the cockpit and a sturdy/thin protective case. Here are the links for both:

Kneeboard- Custom Kneeboard by MOAgear

Now that I decided on my iPad, I could start looking for kneeboards. There’s a French phrase, “mis-en-place”, that roughly translates to “everything in its place”. I’m big on organization and feel the most prepared when everything is organized, in its place, and easily accessible. I wanted to make sure I bought a kneeboard that organized everything efficiently without being bulky or cumbersome, but I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the different options for cockpit organization. You can use a single kneeboard for all of your materials, two kneeboards (one for your iPad, and the other for a notepad), or a kneeboard/iPad mount combination.

I don’t want to use two kneeboards, so I ruled that set-up out immediately. I like the idea of mounting the iPad, but I don’t want to have to rely on mounting the iPad every time I get in the plane, so I definitely wanted to buy a single kneeboard that could organize an iPad and a paper notepad at the same time. I’m going to see how this set-up works, and then maybe buy a suction cup windscreen mount later on if I decided that I don’t like looking down at the iPad screen and want it mounted at eye-level. I ruled out yoke mounts because I don’t want the iPad to get in the way of the flight controls.

The closest kneeboard I could find to what I wanted was MyGoFlight’s iPad Folio C Kneeboard, but it doesn’t have all of the features I’m looking for. I want to have the ability to easily switch between the iPad and notepad, without having both of them splayed out across my lap and taking up a ton of room. I also want storage for pens, etc.

I started looking for custom kneeboards (is that even a thing? turns out, yes) and found MOAgear, which is a company run by a pilot named Sean who started making custom kneeboards when he found himself in a situation similar to mine, unable to find one that fit his needs. His kneeboard design checked all of the boxes in what I’m looking for, and the price ended up being much less than the Folio C kneeboard. Score! I bought his MKIII kneeboard model.

Why I went with the MKIII- it’s designed to be used with a tablet as your “electronic flight bag” while still maintaining the versatility and function of a traditional kneeboard. Your tablet can be run under or on top of the clipboard, and there is a simple one-handed switch between either. There are velcro slots for pen storage, and I added a 4x7 inch Velvro removable pouch for storing additional items.

Travel Bag- Flight Gear HP Captain’s Bag

Flashlight- Maglite Mini Incandescent 2-Cell AA Flashlight Combo, Black
EDIT: Replaced w/ Smith & Wesson Night Guard Elite Dual-Beam

View Limiting Device- KMD Aero Aviation Flight Training Glasses with Frosted Adjustable Polycarbonate Frames

I also bought the Atlanta VFR sectional chart (I’m going to be attending ATP’s LZU location) and a pair of non-polarized Ray-Bans, because all of my current sunglasses are polarized.



Thank you for posting such a detailed list, I am sure that many will find it helpful.


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That’s a great list of stuff. I believe they ask that your flashlight has red output as well as white, however so that you can use it while in the cockpit during a night flight without blinding yourself and your instructor.

edit I just noticed that it comes with different colored lenses. I guess that should probably be OK although I think most have dual white/red output flashlights and some have the ones that go on their heads.

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Hi Seuk,

I’m glad you pointed this out. The flashlight comes with red and blue lenses, but I didn’t think about the fact that I’d have to carry the lenses with me and change them out to switch colors. Seems like a pain. I’ll probably return the flashlight I bought and switch it out for a dual beam with separate red & white buttons.

Thanks friend!

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Hi Amanda!

I realized the post is over 2 years old, so not sure if this thread could be revived but let me try! First off, thank you for sharing such detailed info, research and thoughts that went into the gear list! My start date is mid-Jan 2023, and I was browsing my options today as it is Cyber Monday… then of course I got a bit overwhelmed by the amount of options and prices.

I was wondering if you ended up feeling happy and satisfied with all your gear choices? I’m especially interested in the kneepad review. What would you do differently? Any tips and advice are appreciated!

I also have a question in regards to finances for those who might have an answer for me. So when I applied for the loan, I requested for some extra amount of money considering the commute and gear costs as the application suggested to consider. Is there any way I get to use that money now (before my first official start date) to purchase my pilot gears, or does the money become available only after the program starts? I don’t have a clear understanding in how this loan becomes available and when it kicks in. I should reach out to the ATP finance/training support team.

I also know that seat cushions will be of an immense benefit for me because I felt slightly uncomfortbale with looking out and feeling my pedals during my introductory flight (I’m short!) Is there anyone who uses one and can recommend a brand/type you liked?

Thank you so much in advance for your time and help!


Welcome back to the forum, hopefully Amanda will get a response shortly with her reviews on the equipment. What I can note is reviewing the list above that Amanda provided looks appealing to my eye, but without trying them I can’t provide reviews. When I was shopping for gear, I went to pilot stores and looked for specific things related to what I would need based on ATP’s list:

Any questions related to finances we typically direct to the finance department at ATP as you mentioned. Typically, any monetary distribution is made within the first week of your start date.

I know many individuals who have used seat cushions because they need a little boost. I would say the best seat cushion is the one you would feel most comfortable using for some time. I recognize a few on this search I did below on the Sporty’s website when students/instructors during my attendance at ATP use:

Sporty’s Seat Cushion


Thank you Brady for your kind reply! I’ll do some more research of my own before making my gear choices and will share my info with everyone later on this forum!


Hi Hyeon!

I ended up exchanging the DC ONE-X headset for the Bose A20’s. 2 years later, I’m loving the A20’s and highly recommend them.

For the iPad, I liked the full size version for taking notes (I used the GoodNotes app) but would have found the iPad mini useful during instrument training. You spend a lot of time head-down looking at your iPad in your lap during instrument and it would have been helpful to have the mini mounted to the yoke so that the iPad is more in your line of vision. I got by just fine with the full size iPad and still use it, but that was the only downside.

I love my kneeboard! I’ve recommended it to several people since then and some of my students have bought it as well.

For the flight bag, I found it useful in the beginning of training because it allowed easy organization but ended up ditching it towards the end of training for a regular backpack and have used my backpack since. I don’t find the flight bag to be necessary.

Here’s the backpack I use now-

In regards to your finance question, I’d recommend reaching out to ATP’s finance department and your loan servicer.

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I have to second the A20s. Mine finally started to show wear this year and a headphone plug broke. I sent them in to Bose and less than a week later I had a set that looked branded new. The only way I knew they were mine is by the scratches on the headband. I’ve had them since 2019


Bose, Bose, Bose! We even got Chris to convert and he’s a stubborn guy! :wink:



Thank you Amanda and everyone for your replies! I’m well convinced that I should go with Bose A20 and your custom kneeboard! I do have a full size iPad Pro (11-inches) and I will see if I feel comfortable using it in actual flights or may end up buying antoher mini.

I see that there’re many options I can choose in my kneeboard order. Please help me decide. I’ve never used one before so I’m not certain what features I’d really appreciate later on. What options do you find useful and would recommend me to add to my order?:

Removable strips for ringed sheets (+$9.00)
Vinyl clipboard cover (+$25.00)
4×7 Removable pouch (+$15.00)
Small E6B panel (+$15.00)
(Alternative) Black Aluminum Clipboard (5.875″ x 9″) mini/TAB-A ONLY
(Alternative) Coyote Aluminum Clipboard (5.875″ x 9″) mini/TAB-A ONLY
Belt loop kneeboard retention strap (+$15.00)

Thank you again for your help. I really appreciate you take time out of your busy day to answer my question!

Just one more! Which flashlights/view limiting device would you recommend? Thank you!


I’m a mini-mag and Foggles kinda guy but there are so many out there. Most people either like the foggles or they don’t. Id wait and try other people’s and see what suits you.


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I never liked the foggles, they always felt super uncomfortable on my face. I preferred “the hood” myself:


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When I was teaching at ATP, a few of my students enjoyed the Feather IFR Training Hood. It had an elastic band that went around the back of the head to keep the hood snugged, it was made of a softer material and worked fine.


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Had a chat with a few instructors at my training center the other week about the best ipad for training in small aircraft. The hands down winner was the iPad mini for the following reasons:

  1. The training aircraft is a small and tight space so anything larger than the mini will only be in your way

  2. Most students regret the iPad Pro and will downsize. You may think it’s perfect for training but soon realize it’s overkill for what you need. Plus the Mini is cheaper!

  3. You can only mount your iPad to the yoke or attach it to a kneeboard. You won’t be able to use a suction mount on the side window. I recommend the following mount because it fits perfect between the yoke in the Archer. I found to have spent too much time looking at my lap and not enough on my instruments so that’s why I switched to the yoke mount. RAM Mounts EZ-Roll’r Cradle with Yoke Clamp Mount for Apple iPad Mini 6 RAM-B-121-AP36U for Rails 0.625" to 1.25" in Diameter

  4. Less battery drain especially if you are using a refurbished iPad.

  5. Let the airlines pay for a larger iPad when you get there.

Hope it helps.


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Good insights, thank you.


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Thank you all for the great insights and advices! I really appreciate all your inputs. I realized I won’t need every single item on the list immediately as I won’t start instrument training right away. I will deinitely make a trip to a physical store or try other’s to see what suits me the best!



Just make sure you have the required items for the first day. You should have received a checklist of those items in your supplies box!


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Bumping this up again. How about wearables?

Are there any watches that you guys use or recommend as a pilot? I currently have an older apple watch with cellular which I am guessing brings nothing to the table but before I upgrade to a newer version I wanted to see if I should consider something else that may translate into a future in aviation?


I don’t know about the others, but I love to sport my Alpha Tango by TRASKA. If I don’t have it on, my wrist feels naked. One day I drove 8 hours to training and forgot it on my nightstand at home, I felt naked for an entire month at training… thankfully I got a few days home and I grabbed it before my checkride. :slight_smile:

In fact, I have my watch on as I am typing. :smiley:

Only thing I could see an Apple Watch doing is causing distractions if it’s not on Airplane Mode. :wink: