Doug Ranly

Pilot's guide to portable oxygen systems

Oxygen systems are only for turbocharged airplanes and flights above 12,500 feet, right? Wrong. Even pilots of normally aspirated airplanes will find plenty of uses for a good portable system, from increasing passenger comfort to flying safer at night. Here's our advice for when to use oxygen and how to choose the right system.

 

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My first encounter with Bose military headsets

Performance + Durability = Game Changer

We first arrived in the Iraqi desert early in 2004. The invasion dubbed “shock and awe” happened in 2003, so our battalion was part of the rebuilding phase. This was well before all the fancy armored vehicles appeared in theater. The “armor” on our trucks and humvees consisted of sheet metal we cut via torch and welded together. This armor “worked” for bullets, but not so much for IEDs. We would later learn the hard way that the IEDs were a much larger threat.

 

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Avoid "gearcreep" and stay organized in the cockpit

Gearcreep: When stuff is left laying around and starts getting in the way of important tasks.

For anyone who has kids, gearcreep is a daily adventure. Books, bags, lunchboxes, one blue sock, and clarinet reeds somehow can’t cross the forcefield that is found approximately 10 feet inside my front door. Eventually, the forcefield can’t hold back the massive piles of junk and the gear starts creeping across the floor, only to be found at 2 am while stumbling down the hall to the bathroom.

 

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How do ANR headsets work?

“It’s magic.” At least that is what I thought the first time I turned on an Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headset. WOW! What kind of wizardry is happening in these ear cups? I was instantly convinced that ANR might be the single greatest innovation in aviation history. The noise environment of a piston airplane makes communications tough, but modern ANR headsets have revolutionized the way pilots communicate.

 

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How to improve reception on your ground-based aviation radio

The first product Sporty’s ever sold was a receiver/scanner. The small radio allowed student pilots to listen to the interactions between air traffic controllers and airline pilots. By hearing these professionals speak on the radio, students could learn how to better communicate when they were flying. The radios have drastically changed since we first started in 1961, but pilots still like to listen to each other while on the ground.

 

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Stereo vs Mono Headsets - what's the difference?

Buying your first headset can be confusing. There are a lot of things to consider: passive noise reduction (PNR) vs. active noise reduction (ANR), plug types, Bluetooth, aux inputs, ear seals, and finally mono vs. stereo. While we won’t tackle every subject in one blog, we will attempt to answer that age old question: Do I need a mono or stereo headset?

 

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Aviation Headsets and Hearing Aids

Inevitably, there will probably come a time when most of us pilots will need to have some sort of hearing aid. After all, much like losing hair, it can be a natural part of aging. So it comes as no surprise that we get a lot of questions about hearing aids and aviation headsets. Which headset is the most compatible? Does my brand “X” hearing aid work well with ANR headsets? Should I take hearing aids out before starting up?

 

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Webinar: how to find the right aviation headset

Buying a headset can be confusing. Do you need ANR? How does Bluetooth music input work? Which brands are the most popular? Join Sporty's for a guided tour of the aviation headset market in this fast-paced webinar recording. From the technology behind the products to some real world advice on making the right choice, you'll get the information you need to make a good decision.

 

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