1. Most exciting new product of 2017. A good headset is a critical component of a safe and enjoyable flight, so it's no surprise that Lightspeed's upgraded Zulu 3 came out on top this year. The ANR headset has new comfort features and a nearly indestructible cable. In second place is Sporty's 2018 Learn to Fly Course, which combines online, iOS app, and Apple TV app formats into one package - and guarantees users will pass all three FAA tests. This is followed by the impressive new Garmin D2 Charlie Watch and the simple but incredibly useful Dual USB Charger from Flight Gear.
2. Favorite aviation headset. This hotly-contested market always elicits strong opinions, and this year was no exception. As usual, Bose and Lightspeed battled it out for top honors, but once again the A20 headset took the crown and the Zulu came in second place. While far behind, the reliable David Clark H10-13.4 came in third place, the top passive headset in the survey.
3. Top flight bag. This is another personal choice, but it was a much closer race than headsets. While the overall winner was "Other," the Flight Gear HP Crosswind Bag came in a close second - at under $50 it represents a great value. This was followed by the Flight Gear HP iPad Bag and the MyGoFlight PLC Pro.
4. Paper charts or tablet app? Popular electronic flight bag apps like ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot have certainly changed flying, and a majority of pilots who responded to our survey say they use a tablet app in flight. A little over 30% use both apps and paper charts, while very few only use paper charts.
5. Favorite iPad app. This is almost a Coke or Pepsi question, but ForeFlight ran away with the voting, with nearly 70% of respondents choosing the all-in-one EFB app. Garmin Pilot has made major strides in the past few years, and they were rewarded with their highest ranking ever in our survey - second place.
6. SiriusXM or ADS-B weather? A clear majority of pilots are flying with some type of datalink weather in the cockpit now, whether it's on a panel-mount MFD or a portable tablet. For now, pilots seem to prefer the subscription-free service available from receivers like Stratus 2S. With some new products coming on the market over the past 18 months, though, SiriusXM has started to gain new fans.
7. North up or track up? This question is a good way to start a fight among pilots - do you you prefer to fly with the moving map pointing track up or north up? In our latest survey, the track up crowd won out.
8. Most wanted gift. With Christmas right around the corner, many pilots are filling out their wish lists. What is at the top of those lists? According to our respondents, a new headset and a new ADS-B receiver would be welcome, although a pilot watch or a hand-held radio would be fine too.
9. Dream airplane. This one might surprise a few pilots. Given the choice between some classic general aviation designs, a famous warbird, or the latest business jet, pilots chose none of the above. Instead, almost a quarter would prefer a Cirrus SR22 to cruise around in - how very practical.
10. One flying skill I wish I could master. Every pilot has something they wish they could do better. In our survery, aerobatics was the clear winner, with instrument approaches close behind. Only about 10% were brave enough to declare themselves masters already...