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12 Things Every Student Pilot Needs: Tools, Technologies, Supplies and Other Essentials

If you’re gearing up for flight school, there are a few things to keep handy to ensure the learning process goes as smoothly as possible. Let’s take a look at 12 tools, technologies, supplies and other essentials that every student pilot needs.

1) iPad and Garmin Pilot/ForeFlight App

Garmin Pilot/ForeFlight is arguably the most popular electronic charts app available today and allows you increased situational awareness in the cockpit. An iPad loaded with Garmin Pilot/ForeFlight may not be essential right away as you first learn to read paper charts, but as your training progresses, you’ll learn to use this program and it will become one of your most important, go-to tools.

2) Logbook

Your logbook will be the main way you take notes, keep track of flight plans and mark down any relevant piece of information as it pertains to your advancement as a pilot. Use your logbook to record every flight, including lessons learned and any passengers you take. It’s usually good to have a high-quality logbook on your very first day of flight school so you don’t have to transfer information between books at a later time.

3) Kneeboard with Pen and Paper

While not the most exciting item on the list, nonetheless, it is still an essential tool to take along with every flight lesson. With a kneeboard, you can have your writing tools and paper ready to go whenever you need to write down instructions, calculate flight paths or record radio frequencies.

4) Charging Cords and Backup Battery

Whenever you’re using an iPad or other smart device during flight, it’s crucial to always bring your charging cords and a backup battery, particularly when you begin cross-country flight training. It’s a good idea to pick up a battery that’s strong enough to charge your iPad a few times, just in case. In addition, it helps when you need to charge your phone mid-flight, in case you need to make a call or come upon a great photo opportunity.

5) Non-Polarized Sunglasses

It can be bright above the clouds, so invest in some non-polarized sunglasses to keep your vision protected. A pair of good non-polarized glasses won’t reduce the visibility through windscreens or instruments with their anti-glare filters.

6) Headset

There’s no doubt that you’ll need a reliable headset in the cockpit. The one you choose will be a personal decision, but generally, you don’t want to skimp in this area otherwise you run the risk of having to buy another set to fix the problem. Some of the more popular options for student pilots include Bose A20, Lightspeed Sierra and the Faro Stealth Passive.

7) FAA Textbooks

As you progress through flight school, your textbooks will be at your side almost all of the time. FAA books like the Airplane Flying Handbook and the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge are essential reading for any pilot-in-training. They’re full of a ton of helpful information, and you’ll be expected to know much of that information to pass your final exams and checkride.

8) Flight Bag

With all of these essential items, you’ll need somewhere to store them. That’s what flight bags are for, to hold the other things on this list. It’s recommended to purchase a bag specifically designed for the needs of pilots, rather than using any old off-the-shelf backpack.  

9) E6B

Flight school students will soon learn how to use a manual E6B Flight Computer, which calculates different sets of aviation-specific formulas and conversions. Once mastered, you can move on to an Electronic Flight Computer that does the calculations in a calculator format, but the E6B is a good place to start.

10) VFR Sectional Charts

“VFR sectional chart” is just a fancy way to say “maps”, and you’ll need a specific sectional for the region you’ll be training and flying in. Consult your pilot shop or flight instructor for more information on your area’s specific chart.

11) Fuel Tester

You’ll learn about basic pre-flight checks and the processes that go along with it, including testing the aircraft fuel for contamination. Some planes do not have a fuel tester or filter in the cockpit, so you may want to purchase one. Exposure to elements due to frequent flying can cause water to seep into the fuel tank and contaminate it.

12) Handheld VHF nav/com

Handheld radios can make great backups for student pilots. After all, you probably have enough to think about without worrying about a radio failure. Plus, it helps advance your aviation education–on the ground, use it to monitor the frequencies of nearby airports to become more familiar with aviation speak.

Are you ready to take flight?

Get in touch with the certified flight instructors at Inflight Pilot Training today!

Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and a deep roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, we help those who’ve dreamed of flying reach their goal of becoming a pilot. Get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.