It is no secret that pilots love gadgets, especially gadgets that improve the flight experience. To make gift giving easy, we have rounded up some of the coolest gadgets currently available for pilots. Whether you want to help your favorite pilot upgrade their aircraft or improve their communication capabilities, these high-tech gadgets are sure to do the trick.
The Garmin D2 Air may be one of the pricier watches out there, but it's worth every penny. It comes packed with features designed to aid pilots in their travels. This timekeeper not only tells you what time it is, but also provides weather updates, travel information, airport data, auto flight logging, Pulse Ox monitoring, a host of other health metrics, a barometric altimeter, and adjustable alerts for time, distance, and altitude; plus a fuel timer.
This watch is an invaluable tool for any pilot taking to the sky.
The Garmin GLO 2 for Aviation is an incredibly useful tool for pilots of all levels. Its combination of GPS and GLONASS satellites offers a heightened level of accuracy, plus the Bluetooth functionality allows you to access it with your iOS or Android device. Even more impressive is its speed - updating 10 times per second – which gives you added confidence while in flight. Additionally, with 24 more satellites than just a GPS-only device, you can rely on this model to get you where you need to go with ease.
The ASA Flight Timer offers so many convenient features. Its easy-to-read LCD display lights up brightly and includes 12 approach times. There are audible and visual alarms as well as a fuel timer and stopwatch with 1/10th & 1/100th second digits. The multi-function clock gives you options for UTC, 12, and 24-hour time formats.
It is important to have a handheld radio backup to your aircraft’s built-in radio, and Yaesu has several quality models to choose from. The communications-only Yaesu FTA-450L covers the basics at a competitive price. Users can pre-program up to 200 channels including those in the 8.33 kHz narrow band.
Pilots who are looking for a nav/com combo can select from two versions of the FTA-550. This model is available with either a Li-Ion battery or a lower priced AA battery option. Both versions have a 1.7” x 1.7” full dot matrix LCD screen and VOR navigation capabilities along with ILS localizer navigation and NOAA weather channels and alerts.
The top-end Yaesu handheld is the FTA-750L. This model has the same screen, COM/NAV capabilities, NOAA channels, VOR, and ILS functions as the FTA-550. The upgrade is the 66-channel GPS WAAS receiver function that makes the FTA-750L truly an all-in-one communication and navigation system.
Get all of your current weather and traffic information relayed to you thanks to a Dual XGPS190 unit. This device is compatible with a variety of EFB apps running on Android, Apple, and Windows tablets. Two devices can connect to the XGPS190 at the same time, so both pilot and copilot can work simultaneously. The small size and easy portability allow you take your XGPS190 with you for ground-based activities like golfing and land navigation. One charge gets you five hours of use before you need to recharge.
The Bose A30 aviation headset is the premium choice for pilots seeking the ultimate comfort and clear communication. Electric noise cancellation (ENC) keeps ambient cockpit noise from interfering with sound quality, as does the flex-boom noise canceling electret mic. It has a headband with 20% less clamping force than the A20 to provide long-term wearability and comfort.
Bose offers plenty of configurations and plug options depending on your aircraft and preference for battery power or aircraft power setups. The A30 also comes with or without Bluetooth functionality to fit your needs and desired usage. Use the Priority Switching feature to customize your audio reception preferences for music, phone, and intercom.
A quality flight computer makes the calculations involved with flight planning so much easier. The CX-3 is authorized for use on both FAA and Canadian knowledge exams. It supports calculator, clock, timer, and stopwatch functions with setting options for backlighting, scrolling speed, day and night themes, and time zones. Use your CX-3 to make weight and balance, climb and descent, time, speed, heading, distance, altitude, wind, and fuel calculations. While in dusk or night themes, the keypad buttons will light up and the screen will be dimmed for ease of use. The Favorite feature is another valuable tool, allowing you store your most recently used functions and to create and save an aircraft profile with your aircraft-specific numbers.
Before we finish our list of gadgets for pilots, let’s not forget the MyGoFlight Dual Digital USB Charger. Having a charged iPad onboard is essential for any pilot who wants to maximize their situational awareness.
This charger allows you to quickly charge your tablet and other devices while in flight. It has two ports—USB A and USB C, the latter of which is used for newer tablets and smartphones. An LED readout shows both volts in and amps drawn at each port, delivering 36 watts of total charging power.
We hope this list of aviation gadgets was useful. As technology advances, pilots will have more resources to help increase their knowledge and safety in the friendly skies for all.
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