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The Best Tools and Gear for Student Pilots in 2021

13.1k views | 12 min read | Posted on July 06, 2021 by Senne Vandenputte | Last update August 17, 2021

The Best Tools and Gear for Student Pilots in 2021

Having the right tools will make your life as a student pilot a lot easier. But which gear do you need and how do you decide what to buy?

In this guide, we list some the best tools and gear for student pilots in 2021!

The Best Tools and Gear for Student Pilots in 2021

Best Aviation Headsets for Student Pilots

One of the most important things you will need as a student pilot is a proper aviation headset. Not only does it help you to communicate with your instructor and ATC, it’s also crucial to protecting your ears. You will spend a lot of hours in the cockpit of a piston engine airplane, having a decent headset will make these hours a lot more comfortable.

For students, price is often a major factor to take into account when deciding which headset to buy. Here are a few headsets that offer great value for their price!

1. Faro G2 ANR

The Faro G2 ANR offers a quality ANR (Active Noise Reduction) headset, at an affordable price point. Ideal for student pilots on a lower budget but who still want a quality ANR headset.

The G2 PNR uses two AA batteries that provide up to 30 hours of active noise reduction, depending on the environment. The headset will continue to work as PNR when the batteries run low or die.

If you are looking for an ANR headset but not willing to spend $500+, the G2 ANR gives you the most bang for your buck!

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2. Kore Aviation KA1 Series PNR

Kore Aviation's KA-1 is a great inexpensive aviation headset for all: pilots, passengers, instructors, student pilots, flight schools and more. It provides good comfort with ultra-soft gel ear seals, clear sound with exceptional noise reduction, durability built to last and luxury you can feel with the highest-quality materials at the best value price.

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If you want to learn more about aviation headsets, what to look for and which headsets we recommend, check out our 2021 Student Pilots Aviation Headsets Guide!

Best Flight Bag for Student Pilots

To transport all these tools and keep everything organized, a good flight bag is essential. Your headset, books, charts and other tools will follow you wherever you go, a good flight bag will not only make your life easier, it will also protect all the precious and expensive gear you bought.

These are some of the best flight bags you can find as a student pilot and we heard a lot of good things about them!

1. Flight Outfitters The Lift Travel Bag

Perfect for travel in tight spaces, the Flight Outfitters The Lift Travel Bag will carry all your essential items. Though this bag is small, it features both external and internal pockets and plenty of open room to pack a powerful storage punch.

You can read our review of the Lift Flight Bag here!

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2. Jeppesen Student Pilot Bag

A great first bag for the student pilot. Features include: outside pockets, removable shoulder strap, double zipper opening, reinforced bottom, PVS backed 600 denier poly. Size: 10 inches x 5.5 inches x 17 inches.

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If you want to learn more about flight bags, what to look for and which bags we recommend, check out our 2021 Flight Bags Guide!

Best Pilot Kneeboard for Student Pilots

1. ASA VFR Tri-Fold Kneeboard

For the pilot who needs to carry more, this folding kneeboard provides maximum storage space, encourages cockpit organization, and serves as the pilot’s desk during flight. The left panel has ample room for small books, papers and items that don’t fit elsewhere. The center panel holds the kneeboard under clear plastic with a pen/pencil holder and buttonholes on either side — allowing a pilot to fold back one or both panels with the leg band. The right-hand panel contains a clear pocket for easy map viewing, and the elastic leg bands Velcro closures fit any leg size comfortably. Black nylon with embroidered silver wings logo.

The kneeboard is 6-1/2″ wide x 9-1/2″ high.

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2. ASA KB-1 VFR Kneeboard

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If you want to learn more about pilot kneeboard, what to look for and which kneeboards we recommend, check out our 2021 Pilot Kneeboards Guide.

1. ASA E6B Metal Flight Computer

This is the flight computer I personally used during my flight training.

It’s easy to use and read, has a clear instruction booklet and comes with a handy case to store it in your flight bag.

The E6B Metal Flight Computer is a great tool to use during flight planning, flight training or studying, and may be used during FAA written knowledge exams.

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2. ASA CX-3 Flight Computer

The CX-3 Flight Computer makes flight planning simple by taking confusion out of the equation. Fast, versatile and easy to use, the CX-3 delivers accurate results quickly and efficiently.

Besides the functions mentioned below, it features a protective cover, Night and Day views, control of the brightness of the screen, illuminated buttons, a Favorite feature and Aircraft profiles.

It can be used on all FAA and Canadian pilot, mechanic, and dispatcher knowledge exams.

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If you want to learn more about flight computers, what to look for and which ones we recommend, check out our 2021 Flight Computers Guide.

Best Handheld Aviation Radios for Student Pilots

1. Icom IC-A16B Handheld Transceiver

Making radio calls often causes stress and discomfort to student pilots, listening to ATC conversations can be a great help to improve your own radio skills. The Icom IC-A16B is one we personally recommend!

The Icom IC-A16B is the ideal flight companion for the student pilot. This radio practically pays for itself by saving pilots both engine hours and fuel during preflight communications with the tower.

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2. Yaesu FTA-450L

The Yaesu FTA-450L is a competitively priced (COMM-ONLY) version of the wildly successful FTA-550L. Featuring the same easy to operate icon-driven menu system, on a large 1.7″ x 1.7″ Full Dot Matrix Display. The same loud 800mW internal audio speaker guarantees calls will not be missed. The FTA-450L has a programmable 200 channel memory bank, means all favorite channels can be easily stored and retrieved with just a few button presses.

Valued packaged with all the necessary accessories, including 110VAC and 12VDC chargers, headset adapter, Alkaline battery tray, Belt Clip, USB programming cable, and a large capacity 1800mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery.

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If you want to learn more about handheld aviation radios you can read our 2021 Handheld Aviation Radio Guide!

Best Cameras and Accessories for Student Pilots

1. Garmin VIRB Ultra

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 waterproof HD action camera captures 4K/30fps video with GPS data overlays. It also has voice control so you can tell the camera to start, stop and “remember that.”

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2. Digital Audio Recorder Adapter for GA Aviation Pilot Headsets

Perfect for recording your ATC calls and instructor’s feedback to use for debriefing and learning!

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If you want to learn more about aviation cameras and accessories you can read our 2021 Airplane Cameras & Accessories Guide!

Best Books for Student Pilots

1. Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook

Flying is fun, and with Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook, learning about flying is now fun, as well.

If you want to learn to fly, or even just learn about what makes a plane fly, you’ll find this lavishly illustrated, fast-paced book to be the best available guide. Written in a clear and witty style, the Private Pilot Handbooks contains more than 1,200 illustrations and photos that are a standalone education about why we can fly.

Studying for your private pilot oral and knowledge exams? Everything you need is in this book. It’s not just a beginner’s book—it’s a comprehensive and useful reference resource for private and even professional pilots. As one flight student said, “This handbook explains why things are the way they are, in a way that’s easy to understand. I learned lots of things in Rod’s book that I had not read ANYWHERE else, despite years of reading aviation literature.”

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2. Rod Machado’s Complete ‘Digital’ Private Pilot Collection

Enjoy Rod Machado’s private pilot products as a digital collection for 40% off! This collection gives you all the study material (and more) needed to begin your adventure at learning to fly and becoming a licensed private pilot. And, for a LIMITED TIME ONLY, you’ll receive one of Rod’s popular aviation eLearning courses to make your experience even more enjoyable. This special will last only a very short time. Don’t miss this LIMITED opportunity!

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3. ASA Private Pilot Kit – Part 61

ASA student pilot kits provide the books and supplies a student pilot needs to complete training at an exceptional value.

The Part 61 and 141 student kits ensure that FAA regulatory requirements are met, and are the perfect training solution for both instructors and students. For students taking flight training courses at a smaller flight school or through a freelance instructor, this Part 61 Student Kit includes everything they’ll need, packaged in the ASA Pilot Briefcase.

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4. FAR/AIM 2021: Federal Aviation Regulations / Aeronautical Information Manual

ASA has built a reputation for providing the aviation community with the most accurate and reliable FAR/AIM products available. The The 2021 FAR/AIM book continues this tradition, containing complete and up-to-date information from Titles 14 and 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 and 49 CFR) pertinent to General Aviation, Sport Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators, combined with the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), and a free email subscription service for you to receive updated information as it is released by the FAA.

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5. Private Pilot Test Prep 2021: Study & Prepare

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6. Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge: FAA-H-8083-25B (FAA Handbooks series)

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If you want to see more great books for student pilots, we recommend checking out this article!

Best Software and Online Courses for Student Pilots

1. Rod Machado’s 40-hour Private Pilot eLearning Ground School

Rod Machado's new 40-hour+ private pilot eLearning ground school has been one of the most popular courses we have mentioned on Hangar.Flights and keeps receiving great feedback from students who purchased it.

If you’re thinking about learning to fly (for a living) or refreshing your knowledge for a flight review, then the best place to start is with Rod Machado’s ground school. This eLearning course prepares you to take the private pilot knowledge exam and provides the foundation of knowledge needed to make your flight training a more enjoyable experience.

This highly animated, interactive eLearning course is one of the most comprehensive, private pilot ground training programs on the market today. Its 26-course modules span 40-hours of highly educational, fun and interactive aviation ground training. The depth of material covered in this course is what you’d find in your traditional single-semester, college aviation ground school.

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1. Understanding Weather – Rod Machado’s Interactive eLearning Course

Rod Machado’s interactive eLearning course on Understanding Weather is precisely the course you need to help you make sense of the basic weather concepts you either missed or never quite understood in ground school. Presented in Rod’s highly popular Laugh & Learn training style, this 5.5-hour course will have you feeling a lot more comfortable about the environment in which you fly. Why? Because you’ll see the connections between abstract weather concepts and how these ideas apply to real-world flying. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn with this unique eLearning format. And you’ll be even more amazed at your ability to understand the weather information presented in your next weather briefing. Understanding weather shouldn’t be hard, but it is for way too many pilots. Rod makes difficult concepts easy to understand and fun to learn. For the cost of about one hour’s worth of advanced dual flight instruction, you’ll receive 5.5 hours of highly educational and entertaining weather training. You won’t be disappointed.

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2. ASA Private Pilot Virtual Test Prep

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Best Pilot Watches and Timers for Student Pilots

1. AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane

The AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane is the classic aviation-inspired chronograph. Classic case shape lines house detailed dials, colours, and graphics that celebrate the spirit and adventurism of an era gone by. Straightforward hour indexing, bold hands, and detailed vintage designed subdials of the chronograph are all blended to create a timepiece that is elegant in design, precise in performance and stylish in its comment on the wearer. Strapped with a genuine leather strap that is both dressy yet casual, this is a timepiece that nods to chivalry and performance.

Bonus: Get 20% off when using our discount code HANGARFLIGHTS at checkout!

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2. ASA Flight Timer 2 – Digital Aviation Flight Timer

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If you want to learn more about pilot watches you can read our 2021 Pilot Watches Guide!

Other Helpful Gear for Student Pilots

1. Jeppesen Pilot Logbook

Crafted with durability and a highly-functional design, Jeppesen’s Pilot Logbook has become an industry-standard – made to go the distance. Large flight-time spaces arranged in accordance with FAA regulations and 520 flight entries ensure plenty of note-taking. And “easy-on-the-eyes” green pages resist ink bleed through. Bound in a scuff-resistant cover. Measures 8″ x 5 1/4″.

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2. Aircraft Fuel Tester

Fits all quick-drain valves and has an adapter for recessed drains. The transparent cylinder is 6″ long with octane color-coding molded in the side. Also included is a screwdriver blade with both Phillips and slotted heads.

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