Ebay is a pilots best friend

Crp 5

Flying is expensive, we all know that, so when we can save some money we should all jump at the chance to do so! There are great deals to be had out there on things that just don’t need to be purchased at full retail price. This is why Ebay is a pilots best friend!
Two recent things I have needed to purchase are a David Clark H10 13.4 headset. The best price I could find was around £300 at the online retailers.
I turned to Ebay and ended up getting a brand new set from for just £185 delivered, which of course is a huge saving on the retail price.
If you wanted to get a used one you could save another £50 or so on that price which would make it under half price.I am approaching the navigation stage of my training and I need a CRP computer. As I plan to go straight onto my ATPL after my PPL I needed the CRP 5 over the CRP 1.
I had a look online and the best price I could find was around £70. For me for something that looks like a few bits of rotating plastic this seems to be a lot of money.
Once again I turned to Ebay and after missing out on a few, I got a brand new one for the sum of £37 which is a lot more reasonable and considering the amount of use it will be getting over the 2 years, it will be a massive bargain!
Over the two products I have saved almost enough money for a flying lesson which of course is great.
Before you splash out on brand new equipment from the retail stores you should check sites like eBay, amazon used and forums, all of which may provide you with a bargain compared to what you was thinking of paying.

Pooleys Student Pilot Starter Kit

pooleys student starter kit

One of the things that is offered to a lot of new pilots is a starter kit. The Pooleys student pilot starter kit is a popular one for the schools to offer.
The thing I want to cover in this post is the question of do you actually need to buy this kit? In my opinion, I would say no, for the reasons I will explain below.
Please don’t take this as me saying Pooleys make bad equipment, because they don’t. Pooleys make great products and at some point in your flying you will most likely use something they produce (I’m looking at you CRP-1 or CRP-5).
I personally have purchased their protractor, log book, ruler, CRP 5 and they provided my CAA map, so let me say it again, Pooleys make great equipment.
The kit includes the following items and I will go through them one by one as to if you need it. This kit costs £229.99 direct from Pooleys.

1) APM Volume 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, & 7 – These books are good and well reviewed and they will get you through your PPL exams. However I brought a PDF called EASA private pilot studies for the grand old sum of £20.05. The books on the Pooleys website are around £23 each.
Are they worth the difference over the £20 PDF? I don’t think they are. I mean I have passed 7 out of 9 exams so far.
2) Pooleys Spiral United Kingdom Flight Guide – A book of airfield plates, I haven’t come across a need for this yet and most plates can be printed of the internet.
3) Pooleys NM-2 Scale Ruler – Useful, but can be brought separately.
4) Pooleys PP-1 Protractor – Again, useful but can be sourced elsewhere.
5) Pooleys CRP-1 Computer – This is needed when you start navigating, however, if you plan to go on to your ATPL you need a CRP-5 so this will be useless to you and you will have to purchase another one. So it would make sense to buy the CRP-5 in the first place.
I recommend Ebay rather than paying the £79 cost. I paid £37 for a brand new one, you can get them used even cheaper than that.
6) Pooleys CB-3 Kneeboard & Log Pad. – This is useful when starting navigation. A good way to keep everything organised.
7) Pooleys PPL Log Book – I payed a grand total of £10 for my logbook from my flight school. If you shop around you can probably get it even cheaper than that.
8) Set of permanent Lumocolour Markers – These are just marker pens, you can get these from any stationery shop.
9) CAA 1:500,000 chart of your local area – This is needed and you will have to purchase one at some point. The cost of these seems to be £15.99
10) Pooleys FC-8 Case – We all need a ‘flight case’ to carry our stuff in. However you say flight case, I say small holdall. The cost of the Pooleys bag on the website is £28.96 and the cost of the holdall I brought was £7.50. The design is basically the same.

So all in all, I would say you get a lot of things that you can get separate or elsewhere.
This is not to say that Pooleys don’t make good equipment, of course they do, but I think you should build up your flight bag as you go along.
I am 15 lessons in and I have brought a holdall, protractor, scale ruler, map, headset, headset bag & a log book.
Don’t get me wrong I carry other things in my flight bag such as my Dell venue 11, sunglasses, copy of my medical etc, but so far I just haven’t needed anything else.
If you want an all in one kit then the Pooleys offering isn’t a bad way to go, however in my opinion, you will be best of buying a bag and building it up as and when you need things.

David Clark H10-13.4 Review

david clark 10-13.4

As a student pilot one of the first major purchases you make is a headset. I have been borrowing one from the school however I really needed to get my own. After doing a LOT of research online one headset came up time and time again. For that reason I decided to purchase it and see what all the fuss was about, so this is my David Clark H10-13.4 Review.
The first choice I had to make before getting this headset was whether to purchase a ANR (Active Noise Reduction) headset or just a PNR (Passive Noise Reduction) one.
I tried an instructors ANR headset but the prices of a good one were pretty expensive. For this reason I decided I would just get a PNR one for now and if there was a need later on I would then get a ANR headset.
The next step was what PNR headset to get. I didn’t want to get a headset that was cheap and would just break and then would need replacing again. So I eventually narrowed it down to the David Clark H10-13.4 and the Sennheiser Passive S1.
I must admit, I preferred the look of the Sennheiser Passive S1 over the David Clark H10-13.4’s pea green army look. Also I knew Sennheiser had a great name in the audio world having owned a few pairs of their consumer headphones. One thing that did put me of was the fact that Sennheiser are pulling out of the aviation headset market so in a few years the out of warranty support will most likely be a problem.
However in all my time searching I never found anybody who had a bad thing to say about David Clark’s. I had heard people who said they had 30 year old pairs that still work perfectly and people describing them as indestructible! What more could you ask for.
The best price I could see for a new pair of David Clark H10-13.4 were £289 and £254 for the Sennheisers.
However one day I was on an auction site and saw someone selling some brand new for £200. The item didn’t sell and I contacted her, negotiated a deal and got them for £185 all in. So I have saved myself £100 there and as we all know, when it comes to flying any saving is welcome.
Turns out the lady I purchased them from is a student on the Easyjet MPL and she already has a Bose A20.

Some of the features of the David Clark H10-13.4 are as follows –

  • Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad
  • New Comfort gel, undercut ear seals
  • Certified Noise Reduction Rating – 23 dB
  • Reduced headband force
  • Universal Flex Boom for perfect microphone placement
  • Exclusive M-7A, the most advanced noise-cancelling microphone available
  • Low-profile volume control knob with detent settings
  • Molded cord assembly made to exceptional pull and flex standards
  • FAA TSO Approved C57 Cat. B and C58a
  • Exceeds RTCA/DO-214 Standards
  • Weight (without cord assembly): 16.5 oz.
  • 5 Year Warranty

I managed to use these 3 times over the weekend and I must say they are a big improvement on the loan ones I was using previously.
First of all they are very light, in fact I forget that they were even on my head. On top of this I didn’t feel any pressure at all which allowed me to concentrate even more on my flying.
The passive noise reduction on these is pretty good, they were defiantly quieter than the school headsets that I was using previously.
My instructor said that I was loud and clear and ATC didn’t seem to have any issues either.
Even with its lightweight the headset feels very well put together and sturdy, all the parts seem to be made of high quality and I am sure that most of the parts are replaceable too.
The head pad is a really nice addition and I am sure that is part of the reason why there is a reduced force. The gel ear seals are also very comfortable.
I can see why these are the worlds best selling headset and so far I am another satisfied customer. In fact I brought this headset without even trying it based solely on its reviews and people’s recommendations.
I can’t say that there are not better headsets out there as im sure the active noise reduction headsets are pretty amazing, however for the price I paid £185, I am more than happy with my purchase.
Just a FYI by standard this headset does not come with a headset bag to store them in. However these are readily available so not really a big deal.
While I don’t have a massive amount of headsets to compare them to I will give them the following score.

Noise reduction 3/5
Comfort 5/5
Build Quality 5/5
Clarity 5/5

So overall I will say a 4.5 out of 5. They only got a 3/5 for noise reduction because they are not active noise reduction. However I think they are one of the best passive noise reduction headsets you can buy.

 

Avia weather – aviation weather app

One of the great things about pilots is we are always learning from each other and sharing things that we have discovered.
I was recently looking for a weather app for my android phone and came across this app Avia Weather.
The Avia Weather – Aviation weather app is a very easy way to get METAR’s and TAF’s for 9500 airports around the world.
It will provide you with information in raw or decoded format, so you can have a quick look and see the conditions if you haven’t learned or do not want to decode the raw data. I personally keep the default on the raw data so that my skills do not get rusty and when the time comes I am still quick at reading the Metar and Taf data.

Avia weather METAR and TAF

There is even a handy icon that shows if the weather is IFR or VFR conditions.
This is a great way to check the conditions at the airfield from your phone before you head up there for a lesson or a flight.
The best part of the app is that it is totally free from the Google play store. Sorry iPhone users but I didn’t see a version for you on the iTunes store but I am sure that there are alternatives available.
You can add your favourite airports so they are right in the screen when the app loads so you do not have to dig around or search for them.

avia weather decoded

Basically, if you are a pilot with an android phone then get Avia Weather downloaded right now.
You can also pay for a widget so that the information is available right on your home screen. The cost of this at the time of writing is £1.49.
As the developer who is an aerospace engineering student develops the app for free there is also an option in the menu to donate to him.

Avia Weather gets a 5/5 from me and I think it is essential for any Android user.

 

Which GoPro to buy for flying

goprohero5

It seems the must have accessory these days when doing any kind of action activity is the very versatile GoPro camera. However with many models available you may ask which GoPro to buy for flying?
Well in this post I will let you know which models you should look to get and which ones you should avoid.

GoPro Hero
This is the cheapest member of the GoPro family but is also the most basic camera. The video capabilities max out at 1080p 30 frames per second and photos are taken at 5pm. This camera cannot record from an external microphone so ATC comms is a no go.
This camera has the following features –

  • 1080p 30fps video
  • 5mp photos
  • 40m waterproof

GoPro HERO On Amazon UK

GoPro Session
The newest member of the GoPro family the Session is an all in one camera that is lighter and smaller than the other GoPros. I do not recommend this camera due to the fact it cannot accept external misc which if you want to record ATC communications on your video is essential.
The camera has the following features –

    • Smallest, Lightest member of the GoPro Family.
    • Waterproof to 10m
    • Easy One-Button Control
    • 1080p 60fps video.
    • 8MP photos.

GoPro HERO4 Session On Amazon UK

GoPro Hero+
A solid camera but one that I will say you should avoid. Don’t get me wrong it is a good camera and takes a good quality video. Once again it does not accept external microphones so you will not be able to record ATC communication directly onto your videos. If this is not a major issue for you then you can purchase it however most of us would like to do that so we would avoid this one.
The Camera has the following features –

  • 1080p 60fps and 720p 60fps video.
  • 8MP photos.
  • Wifi and Bluetooth.
  • Waterproof to 40m

GoPro HERO on Amazon UK

GoPro 4 Silver
The GoPro 4 Silver is the one that I purchased. It has the ability to connect and external mic using the official go pro audio cable. I would avoid the cheap imitations as people are reporting issues with them not working as intended. It also has a LCD touch screen on the back which makes it easy to view the video and change settings on the go.
The camera has the following features –

  • 1080p60 and 720p120 video
  • 12MP photos up to 30 frames per second
  • Wifi and Bluetooth.
  • Protune for photos and video
  • Waterproof to 40m.

GoPro 4 Silver on Amazon UK.

GoPro 4 Black
The GoPro 4 Black is the top model in the GoPro range. This is what they call their Pro camera and the main feature it has over the silver is that it can take 4k video at 30fps! However the black doesn’t have the LCD touch screen that the silver does. If you have the money and the hardware to edit 4k video then this is basically the best that money can buy.
The camera has the following features –

  • Super slow motion at 240 fps
  • 4K 30fps, 2.7K 60fps, 1080p 120fps and 720p 240fps
  • Protune
  • Waterproof to 40m
  • 12MP photos at 30 fps.
  • Improved audio.
  • Wifi and Bluetooth.

GoPro 4 Black on Amazon UK.

 

GoPro Hero 5

The latest in the GoPro range is the new hero 5. This camera ups the game in a big way with the following

  • Voice activation
  • Touch display
  • Waterproof without a housing
  • One button control
  • Video Stabilization
  • 4k video, WDR photo, exposure control, stereo audio and GPS.

GoPro Hero 5 on Amazon UK

Accessories
Once you have decided on your camera there are a few accessories I think everyone will need.

      1. BacPac – This pretty much doubles the GoPro’s battery life and is pretty much essential. There are two versions of the BacPac, one with a LCD screen on it and one without.
        GoPro Battery BacPac On Amazon UK
        GoPro LCD Touch BacPac On Amazon UK

 

      1. Skeleton Housing or Frame – You will need this to get at the GoPro’s audio ports while it is in use, so you can record the aircraft comms. Click here to learn how to record ATC comms with a GoPro camera.GoPro Skeleton Housing On Amazon UK
        GoPro The Frame On Amazon UK

 

      1. Go Pro Audio Cable – You will need this cable as well as some others to get the ATC on your videos. The link above explains exactly what is needed to achieve this.
        GoPro audio adapter On Amazon UK.

 

      1. Suction Mount – Last but not least you will need a suction mount. This allows you to mount your GoPro on an aircraft surface.Let me know which GoPro you went for in the comments.
        GoPro Suction Mount on Amazon UK

 

    1. MicroSD Card – Last but not least you need a memory card, but you don’t want to buy cheap ones because they do not have the speed required. The Sandisk Extreme is a good card that should satisfy your needs.
      SanDisk Extreme 64 GB microSDXC On Amazon UK.
      SanDisk Extreme 32 GB microSDHC On Amazon Uk.

How to record ATC comms with a Gopro camera

One of the new must have devices when flying is the ever popular go pro camera. There are many videos on YouTube with people who have the ATC comms which make them a lot better. You like myself was most likely wondering, how do they do that? Well in this post I will teach you how to record ATC comms with a Gopro camera.

This is the equipment you will need.

GoPro Camera
The basic go pro camera is NOT good enough for your requirements. It does not have the ability to have a mic in which is essential for this. For this reason you will need a GoPro 3 or higher in the black or silver edition.
GoPro 4 Silver on Amazon UK.
GoPro 4 Black on Amazon UK.

Suction Mount
We now need to find a way to mount the camera to the aircraft surface so for this we use a mount.
GoPro Suction Mount on Amazon UK

Adapters, cables and Housing.
From here you need to get the audio to the go pro camera. So to link the aircraft comms to the GoPro you will then need.
A 6.3mm adapter to go in the aircraft headset jack.
A 3.5mm cable to run from the adapter. (note – not all the knock of cables work, do your research).
A GoPro audio adapter to go from the cable into the GoPro camera.
A GoPro skeleton housing. This allows you to be able to plug the cable in while the go pro is in use.

From here you just connect the 6.3mm adapter to the aircraft headset jack. The 3.5mm audio cable runs from that to one end of the GoPro audio adapter and then the other end plugs into the your camera.
Then you have ATC comms and passenger communication recorded directly onto your video.