If you’re at the beginning stage of your flight training, or are even just thinking about becoming a pilot, you’re probably wondering exactly what products you’ll need to “get off the ground.” And if you’ve ever walked into Banyan Pilot Shop and browsed the many aisles within, you may have been overwhelmed by the endless amount of pilot supplies, training aids and accessories available.
After speaking with many flight schools and instructors, we came up with a short list of the “must-have” supplies. These are the products they all agreed were necessary for a beginning student pilot.
10 Essential Products for Beginning Student Pilot
It can get awfully bright soaring above the clouds, make sure you have a pair of good quality sunglasses to protect your eyes. Keep in mind, polarized sunglasses make viewing avionics LCD screens difficult so you’ll want to choose a non-polarized pair.
This is your official record of training and flight hours and will be with you on every training flight. Most paper logbooks are relatively inexpensive, but try to choose one that will handle a life of being tossed in and out of a flight bag.
To calculate aviation’s different sets of formulas and conversions, most flight schools will require you to use a manual E6B Flight Computer. Once mastered, you can move on to an Electronic Flight Computer that does the calculations in a calculator format.
This ruler/protractor combination is used for cross-country planning.
Known as “maps” to the non-aviation community, sectional charts are divided up to cover different areas of the country. Ask your instructor or pilot shop for the sectional you’ll need for your area.
Your flight school or instructor will advise on which books you’ll need for your training, but the essentials are FAR/AIM, Airplane Flying Handbook and Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.
A kneeboard is used to keep your charts, checklists, calculators, pens, etc. organized and easily accessible while flying. Kneeboards consist of a velcro strap to secure just above your knee and most have a clipboard and may include multiple pockets. Most students prefer tri-fold style kneeboards.
Flashlight or Headlamp
When selecting a flashlight or headlamp, make sure it comes with a red lens. Unlike white light, red light helps preserve our ability to identify dimly lit objects. When we shift our vision from the cockpit to looking outside for unlit objects, our eyes are not saturated by the red light and remain dark-adapted.
As a student pilot, you’re going to have a lot of materials and supplies to carry with you (everything on this list and then some) so it’s recommended you get a big enough bag/case to hold everything. It may appear that any large bag or case will do, but a lot of thought and design have gone into today’s flight bags to help keep you well organized.
You may have access to a headset at your training institution, but once you’ve soloed it’s time to consider purchasing your own. You’ll be wearing them a lot so it’s crucial to get a pair that fits comfortably and is quiet and clear.
Infographic: Student Pilot Shopping List (click to download/print)