What aviation equipment should a student pilot have?

Both the Aviation Banter and the Ask a CFI websites have had student or would-be student pilots ask what types of aviation equipment a student pilot should have to begin their flight training with. Specifically, John Stevens had asked on Aviation Banter several years ago:

What makes sense to buy now and what should I wait on until I’ve flown
a while? What would make my training easier and more productive? Pilot
courses, simulator etc.

And more recently, Craig Williams asked the same question on Ask a CFI and he noted that he has only logged one hour as a trial lesson, but he will be coming back for more.

Gordon Bower responded to Craig by pointing out that the materials needed by a student pilot will vary from flight school to flight school, but he would expect that Craig would need to obtain the following (with no particular brands or models in mind):

  • Headset
  • Plotter/computer
  • Kneeboard
  • Chart
  • Flashlight
  • View-limiting device

Jim Foley also added that its nice to have your own fuel tester, a white/red flashlight for  night flights and a headset so that you don’t have to keep spending money on renting a pair from the flight school.

Meanwhile, James Macgregor came up with the following list of items:

  • Headset (A used pair of David Clarks off Ebay or Craigslist and to be sure it’s a dual plug GA headset)
  • Pen & paper
  • Paper E6B (Like a slide rule)
  • Plotter and aviation ruler
  • From the Ground Up book
  • The King School private pilot program (As it’s the industry standard)

However, James does not like his students using kneeboards as he says they can get in the way and are not needed for a PPL student.

GolfHotelWhiskey.com - Pilot's Starter KitIn response to John Stevens’ question on Aviation Banter from several years ago, David Megginson advised him not go too crazy because right now he will need money for flight lessons and “spending like a drunken sailor should wait until after you have your PPL” while Peter Duniho pointed out that most pilot shops or flight schools will have a starter kit for student pilots containing the essentials.

Peter also added that any decent logbook will work and ideally one without too many
pages because until you have been flying a bit and logging time, you won’t
really know what they want in a logbook. Peter personally likes a logbook that has columns
for the types of flying he does along with pages in the back for various endorsements. He also pointed out that all of the above “stuff” will need a bag to be carried in or just kept together in one place, but the bag does not need to be a specially made pilot bag.

With the above in mind, are their any pieces of equipment that a student pilot should have that we might have left out?


One Response to What aviation equipment should a student pilot have?

  1. Ted December 11, 2012 at 18:13 #

    Just finished my PPL-A in norway. Made my own kneeboard from a clipboard and velcro strap. This was great to write down block times, frequencies and squawk codes. Needed watch/stopwatch, pencils, pens, flipbook, torch (preflight), logbook, charts/maps, CRP-1/E6B, ruler, protractor, bottle of water and maybe some pastries to share with the regulars at the aero club! Things I bought but didn’t need as a student: headset (was included with aircraft hire), flightbag, radio scanner.

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