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4 Answers

Insert Headsets v. Over-ear headsets

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Aviation Headsets

I'm a relatively small female student pilot working on my PPL. I've been using the clubs rental headsets for my training, but I've been having difficulties with them staying in place during flight. This prompted my CFI and I to talk about getting my own headset. 

My main consideration, obviously, is something that is small enough to stay on my head. In doing my research I came across insert headsets (like Clarity Aloft and Halo). Clarity Aloft boasts of noise reduction of 35-45 dB which is better than any price comprable over-ear headsets. Some discussion with my CFI, however, has led me to believe they won't be sufficient for my training (a C172).

I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience with the insert type headsets on training planes. And, if not, does anyone know of an over-ear headet that would be small enough...the lovely statistic about size is not included on most websites.

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4 Answers

  1. Rich Tyler on Nov 07, 2012

    Personally I have flown with Dave Clarks for almost 15 year and after using Royal Air Force Atlantic headsets they were a god send. But on long flights they start to get uncomfortable and when it’s hot pretty heavy, also not the best at cutting out the excessive noise around me.

    My father in law had a Bose noise cancelling headset which I thought was amazing but felt that they never seemed to sit on my head properly, but sound quality was very crisp and clear and bizarrely quiet. But I was always paranoid about not hearing something and what happens when the batteries run out!

    On a flight down through Virginia earlier in the year I got the chance to try a pair of Clarity Aloft and was very impressed by the passive noise cancelling how comfortable they were and now my head wasn’t pressing against the roof in the PA28. On returning I looked for a pair of the Aloft but couldn’t justify the money, after further investigation and review reading I opted for a Halo, and have been very impressed sound quality is great and cuts out about 45db but still allows me to hear the engine enough to make me feel comfortable.

    The Halo can be worm in several different ways and is very light and comfortable. My only complaint would be they are quite flimsy compared to over ear headsets but this is the compromise for being lightweight I guess.

    My suggestion would be if possible try an in ear if possible as some people don’t like in ear headsets, before you commit to one.

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  2. Summer on Nov 07, 2012

    I am a female pilot and have clarity aloft headsets. I will highly recommend them and they worked just fine during my training and after my PPL too.
    First of all the over the head headsets give me a headache. I also frankly believe that these headset manufacturers only cater to the male pilot population.

    With clarity Aloft I get to fly to places and not have shitty hairstyle by the end of my trip. Over the head ones mess up my hair and gives me ahead ache.
    What was the reasoning of your CFI for not being able to use in training? I did just fine so not sure what they were referring to lol 😉

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  3. Erin on Nov 07, 2012

    Summer- Nice to meet another lady pilot! I don’t think my CFI has encountered anyone who has had a problem getting a headset to fit, and I’m not sure he’s worked with the inter-ear set-up before. I really think he’s concerned they won’t cut out enough noise, since they don’t look like they will–he commented on how they’re intended for quiet planes. My biggest concern is making sure the headset actually stays on, but after doing some research I’m not sure I get the proper fit from the over-ear ones anyway…. But yes, getting a headache on an xc is definitely another concern of mine. Also, the hair, even though I’m fairly certain I’d get laughed it for admitting it 🙂

    On another note, he’s a great CFI, and I absolutely love working with him, so no complaints from me.

    Rich – Thank you for the incredibly detailed answer! I’d been looking at the Bose (mostly just for comparisons sake, I’m not ready to invest $1100 on a headset until I know more about what I’m doing), and my FOB is a Clarke retailer (also an AFB, so figures). I’m not sure I’d opt for an ANR headset anyways, I like hearing the engine to a certain extent. I’ve heard great things about Clarity Aloft and Halo, and I’d love to try them out, just not sure how I’d do that without actually buying a set, but I very well may end up doing that. I’m not too worried about having something in my ear (I’m an ipod child, but that’s been the most common criticism I’ve seen of them.

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  4. Paul Robichaux on Nov 07, 2012

    I just switched to a Halo from a Pilot USA Liberty. I love the Halo! Lightweight, quiet, comfortable, and perfect for use in the 172 I’m training in. (I have really short hair, plus I’m a guy, so the hairstyle issue isn’t a problem for me.)

    The customer support at Quiet Tech has been excellent. You might just call or e-mail them and see if they’d give you a 30-day trial or something.

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