What’s in your pilot flight bag?

Evan Krueger has recently written a useful post on the Let’s Go Flying blog about what he keeps in his flight bag. And while Evan noted the old Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” in the beginning of his post, he then wrote that he does not lug his entire flight library with him and that he uses a fairly small flight bag. Moreover, Evan also wrote that while some pilots spend hundreds of dollars on a flight bag, he finds spending this much to be unnecessary. In fact, he just uses the free one AOPA sent him when he renewed his membership.

As for what Evan keeps in his flight bag, he noted the following items:

  • Headset
  • Logbook
  • E6B Flight Computer
  • Airport/Facility Directory and Charts
  • Flashlight
  • Sunglasses

Hence, we would like to ask our readers: What do you keep in your pilot flight bag? Do you prefer a small flight bag for the bare essentials or a large flight bag with everything you could possibly need?

Flight Bag

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9 Responses to What’s in your pilot flight bag?

  1. Patrick Flannigan July 19, 2010 at 16:27 #

    Nothing special in my bag. I've got three big chart binders, a manual, one flashlight and my headset. Sometimes I have a few earplugs in the side pocket.

  2. Johnny May 9, 2011 at 02:28 #

    Nothing too special. "Trapper binder" (those big things that have the binder+accordion style folder) with a notebook, sectionals, and approach plates. Headset, light, sunglasses and of course my logbook, within which I keep my certificates.

  3. Robert June 13, 2011 at 01:05 #

    I'm flying almost 4 hours a day three days a week to complete my PPC and instrument rating concurrently. As a result, I'm carrying a quite a lot in my flight bag. In addition to the "basic" items such as headset, logbook, checklist, sectionals, enroute charts, approach plates, airport facilities directory, sunglasses, manual and electronic E6B, and a plotter, I also carry various training material, aircraft owner/operator's manual, foggles, hat, eyeglasses, contact lens case and solution, vitamin water, Icom A24 transceiver w/spare battery pack, flight timer, cell phone, pens & highlighters, small note book, Post-It notes, 2 LED aviator flashlites, spare batteries, IFR and VFR kneeboard, multi-tool, small tool bag w/basic tools, wet wipes, watch w/Zulu time, and I make sure to have a credit card and cash at all times. As soon as I finish my current PPC and IR, I'll immediately transition into multi-engine training, so, until I buy my own aircraft, I don't envision my flight bag contents changing much over the coming year or so.

    • Matthew Stibbe June 13, 2011 at 06:05 #

      That's a lot of stuff. I probably have a similar pile of things in my flight bag. I did try to slim it all down and use a much small bag – actually a little camera bag – but I was always finding myself short of this thing or that thing and reverted to a much bigger, heavier bag with all the usual gadgets.

  4. Kyle January 8, 2012 at 22:54 #

    I usually keep a Jeppesen CR-2 whiz wheel, some A320 FOM's, which I will probably give back to my dad, 2 logbooks (one for FSX and another for real life, first entry at 12 years old 1/7/2012), some IFR chart books, mostly approach plates for large airports, high- and low-altitude charts, a folder for FSX airport charts and route plans and real-world flight receipts, and some old papers that Dad had in his flight kit. I also carry a lot of sani-wipes and an old ear piece. I also keep writing utensils and 2 sectional charts for Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

    • Matthew Stibbe January 9, 2012 at 07:29 #

      Isn't it a bit heavy to carry A320 manuals with you? I assume you're not actually flying an A320! 🙂

  5. Jace April 16, 2012 at 06:29 #

    I have been changing my flight bag over time. I started out with a headset and a sectional. As I progressed through my PPL I started adding more until I got to the point where Robert is at carrying everything within arms reach! 🙂 This changed when I passed my PPL Checkride and enrolled in my IR Course. I know that I should have added more but I now have multiple bags. My regular flight bag (I will list contents below) A pack that I carry if we will be going over mountains or where there is no sign of civilization within gliding distance. The final bag is basically just an overnight pack if I am visiting family with a change of clothes and basic hygiene products.

    Anyway back on topic, In my flight bag I currently have:

    David Clark X11
    Icom A24
    Headset Adapter
    Foggles
    Surefire Flashlight
    Benchmade Nim Cub II
    Spare Batteries
    Glow Stick (Not for parties)
    Small Notebook
    Paper Charts (SEC,TAC,I-L)
    Approach Plates (Only for local airports or airports along my route of flight)
    POH for Airplane I will be flying (Normally C172S)
    Sportys Electronic E6B
    Multi-Sump Cup
    Fuel Stick
    Water Bottle
    Sunglasses
    Headphones
    Phone
    Gum
    Tic-Tacs
    Chap Stick
    Hand Sanitizer
    Pens/Pencil
    Checkbook (Flight School Requires This)
    License
    Logbook (Holds my medical as well)
    Photo I.D.
    Ipad 2
    MyGoFlight Pro C Kneeboard

    It all fits nice in a backpack. Any opinions on things I should add or remove would be greatly appreciated. Many of you have been doing it a lot longer that me…

    • Chip February 20, 2013 at 14:07 #

      I might add a granola or protein bar. You gotta keep the blood sugar up.
      -FPM

  6. Luke March 11, 2017 at 06:43 #

    1. Short Plum Line with Alligator Clips (to combat the ‘slowly boiling frog’ syndrome while incrementally getting more spatially disoriented during a redeye).
    2. Telescopic Ladder.
    3. Plastic Ice Scraper on a telescopic rod with a smartphone clip near the scraper. You would turn on your smartphone camera in video recording mode with the flash permanently on (not auto-flash mode). Then check the footage for invisible ice exposed by the scrapings.

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