How to be a “minimalist pilot”

With all of the new tech gadgets out there, its tempting for a pilot to become a real “pack-rat” while up in the air. However, a recent post by John Ewing for his Aviation Mentor blog is well worth reading as he mentioned a few ways that pilots can go “minimalist” and lighten their flight bag by only carrying a few essentials. The essentials mentioned by John included the following items:

New iPad Kneeboard. Although John had come up with his own kneeboard solution using an aftermarket iPad case, he noted the new iPro Aviator kneeboard which is both more cost effective and has some great new features. It goes on sale on November 1, 2010 for US$79.95 but you can also pre-order one for US$59.95 until October 15, 2010.

Mini-Bag. John pointed out that after a long search for an inexpensive and minimalist iPad flight bag, he found the Timbuktu Freestyle Notebook Messenger to hold his headset, iPad, Xaon traffic detector plus enough room for other essentials.

Flashlight. John mentioned that he carries a Petzl e+LITE LED headlamp which weights just 28 grams and takes up even less space than a set of car keys. Moreover, the e+LITE can run for about 45 hours on two Lithium CR2032 batteries.

Glasses. John noted that like many pilots who reach a certain age, he has vision problems. Hence and rather than carry multiple sets of glasses, he has started using TruFocals. TruFocals are made with two layers of lenses with the outer lenses made to your prescription while the inner lenses are silcone-filled lens that have the ability to change focus when a small slider located on the bridge is changed.

However, the main point of John’s post was that pilots should figure out what works best for them as well as take into consideration what other pilots are doing. Hence, we want to ask you our readers for your opinions: Are you a “minimalist pilot” or more of a “pack-rat”? What are the essential pieces of gear that you never leave the ground without having?

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