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Postby Deano60 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:47 pm

As a new student pilot, I'm wondering if there is a reference that can be used to learn about cockpit electronics. Communications, guidance, and what not. The have to haves vs the nice to haves. It seems when I read in want ads or spec sheets that everybody has something different for these things and I have no idea what is new useful and relevant, what is old or outdated what is somewhere in between. Pointing me to any available resources, websites, books, DVD's would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Electronics

Postby cozy171bh » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:40 am


First, congratulations and all the best as you pursue your flight training! You have embarked on an adventure which will be one of the greatest of your lifetime. And remember, time spent in flight training is not subtracted from your lifespan, as Dave is fond of saying.

This is a great topic for the next UCAP episode, and perhaps the trio will take it up.

First - Less is more. Particularly as a student pilot, but applicable to all pilots, complexity is your enemy. It will distract you from your primary task of flying the airplane and thinking, making decisions, and executing. Keep it simple. If you buy only one electronic device, make it a headset. Get a quality one that is comfortable and protects your precious hearing. It will last many years and serve you well. You might also need a portable intercom. I flew for many years with a sectional, a plotter, and a mechanical E6B. I still do, but occasionally supplement with an iPad running ForeFlight. It adds a level of safety because of the additional information it can display.

It can also add a level of risk because of the additional information it can display. In an effort to add more features for the consumer, makers of tablet applications continue to add functionality. All you need are a few basic functions. Forget the rest and make it simple. You can always add features later.

Second - Know how to use the tools you have. Armed with little more than sectional charts and a pencil, you can fly anywhere throughout the US. The key is knowing how to effectively use a sectional, as it contains more useful information than most pilots know how to use. But you asked about electronic equipment. The same point applies. It is better to thoroughly know how to use one tool than to have half a dozen scattered around the cockpit with a lot of features you either don't need or you don't know how to use. Whatever you choose, know how to use your tools at ground speed zero before you go flying.

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