Whether they are novices or highly experienced – flying large planes or small – all pilots need basic essential gear. Ronnie Lettow, owner of Aircraft General Supply in Jacksonville, stocks his pilot shop with the following key items for pilots on the First Coast:
Pilot licensing handbooks: Obtaining a private pilot’s license requires passing written and flying tests through the Federal Aviation Administration. Popular books to study are, “The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge,” ($24.95) and “Private Pilot” ($24.95) by Gleim Aviation.
Headsets: Essential gear for communicating with air traffic control while taking off, in the air and landing. Lettow said a popular set is the David Clark model H10-13.4. Price: $324.95.
Handheld radios: All planes have built in radios for communication with ground control, but many pilots also carry back up hand held models. The I-Com radio, for $379, is a popular model.
Logbook: Used to document flying hours, required for licensing. The Gleim Pilot Logbook is popular at $9.95. Pilots have their choice of brands, including a Professional Logbook for $29.95.
Sectional charts: Road maps of the air, divided into sections of the United States. Resembling on-the-ground road maps, they allow pilots to map their course between airports. $9.95 each.
Knee boards: Clip boards that can strap around the knee are used to support manuals and charts while flying. Laminated into the surface is key aviation information that pilots routinely need, including Visual Flight Rules (VFR) cruising altitudes and VFR ceiling, visibility and cloud clearance. $16.95.
Flight bags: Specially designed duffle bags with pockets to hold essential gear. Prices range from $39.95 to $119.00.