Student pilot gear and essentials.

student pilot gear and essentials

Before you purchase a set of private pilot training kits from available pilot shops online, discover here the inexpensive and essential student pilot gear.

A set of gear that will actually aid you in your private training effectively and save you from wasting money.

The private pilot training kits sold in pilot shops online are not always the only option.

In this post, I discussed only about the student pilot essentials, and the most practical books to ace your private pilot check-ride and PPL written test.

I made a list of books and the student pilot gear, which is adequate to get your private pilot license.

I am a pilot, and this list is based on my experience.

Must-have books for student pilots.

Typically ground school comes before actual flight training, thus having the right books is essential to prepare for the actual flight.

A pilot always has to keep learning. So let’s start with the books I think is best for a kickstart of your private pilot training.

Jeppesen Private Pilot: Guided Flight Discovery.

Are you just starting your private pilot course ground schooling?

No wonder you need a book that is very well illustrated and has beautiful graphics.

Having a book using too complicated language and not clear graphics will cause difficulties to understand many topics for beginner pilot students.

Jeppesen Private Pilot Guided Flight Discovery is an excellent book. I like this book because it can catch the attention of the readers and keep them attached to studying.

When you are simply starting your private pilot ground schooling, initially you may find something hard to understand. The illustration will help you a lot to learn quicker.

However, there is another book for private pilots or any other pilots to review all the basics.

The book is by a veteran pilot Rod Machado. This private pilot handbook is another easy to understand book with lots of humor.

Either you choose Jeppesen Private Pilot Guided Flight Discovery or Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook, both these books will prepare you for your private pilot license course.

You can buy any of these two books even before starting your private pilot ground schooling and prepare by yourself.

How to fly an Airplane Handbook by Rod Machado.

All the hours for your private pilot license, you have to fly following VFR.

In VFR flight you will use visual references outside to fly the aircraft and make perfect landings.

Many student pilots initially struggle to control the airplane using visual reference. This happens because student pilots do not understand the VFR flying techniques.

There are tips and tricks to operate an airplane smoothly. Although flight instructors teach student pilots the basic maneuvers, flight instructors do miss many important aspects of controlling the airplane.

Rod Machado’s flying handbook is a book that talks about everything a student pilot needs to know about flying an airplane.

Though you fly with a veteran flight instructor, it is not possible for a flight instructor to train and teach you everything on safe flying during flight training.

Often the flight instructors are too busy teaching you how to control the airplane and forget to mention the simplest techniques to make VFR flights more enjoyable.

At this stage, How to fly an airplane handbook can play a massive role for student pilots.

You will see noticeable improvements in your VFR flying, once you read this book and apply it during your flight training.

As a student pilot myself, I was really struggling to land the airplane smoothly. As a student pilot, my first priority was to get my first solo as early as possible.

To get your solo flight quicker and master all the basic maneuvers for VFR flights, Rod Machado’s How to Fly an Airplane Handbook is essential for student pilots.

Trust me, reading this book will help you grasp aircraft control quicker and you will not be overwhelmed during your flight with the airplane control.

To get your solo flight sooner and surprise your flight instructor with your improved performance, there is no other second best to this book.

Gleim Private Pilot FAA Knowledge Test.

Assuming now you have finished your private pilot ground schooling and have flown adequate hours to get your private pilot license.

It is time to take exams in civil aviation to obtain your private pilot license and you do not know what kind of questions you will have to answer.

That is when the Gleim Private Pilot FAA Knowledge Test is crucial.

This book is prepared from FAA reference materials. Everything you read in this book will prepare you for your private pilot test.

All the questions you will practice in Gleim Private Pilot are relevant to the FAA test papers.

Prepare yourself with this book and there will be no obstacles to stop you from passing your private pilot license exams.

The sooner you pass your exams the sooner you will get a private pilot license.

Flight Bag.

Flight bag is essential for every student pilot. If you are starting your private pilot training, do not hesitate to get your flight bag.

A flight bag is designed to accommodate all the necessities for a student pilot.

A regular briefcase will do the job, but unfortunately, a regular briefcase is inconvenient for student pilots.

Therefore, buy a bag that is durable and can accommodate all the student pilot gear and essentials.

Like I said, a flight bag is designed distinctly for student pilots to have ease of access to pilot gear during a flight and contribute to better cockpit management.

The least you want as a student pilot is a poor cockpit management while struggling to control the airplane.

Most pilot students prefer to buy the Jeppesen Aviator bag. But my experience using the Jeppesen flight bag is disappointing:

Overpriced bag made of cheap fabric that is not durable.

Thus I had to buy a second flight bag and it is durable. The Crosswind Bag by Flight Gear is one of the best and retails cheaper than the Jeppesen’s bag.

If you are a student pilot, beginning your flight training then the Crosswind bag by Flight Gear is the only choice:

  • The bag is decently priced compared to a Jeppesen’s flight bag;
  • At the same time, very sturdy;
  • Looks fantastic as well.
  • Adequate space inside the bag to take some extra clothes for your next cross country flight.

I find this bag by flight gear to be underrated, yet the most suitable one for carrying student pilot gear and essentials.

On the contrary, if you are a student pilot and want to purchase a briefcase other than a flight bag choose this multifunctional bag by Lifewit.

Nevertheless, a briefcase cannot fit all your flight gear.

It is best to choose a flight bag because a flight bag is made to serve the purpose of student pilots.


Having a good headset for flight training is a must. From my experience buying a cheap flight headset is not always the right choice.

You may buy a headset at a cheaper price which serves the purpose very well. But to save a few bucks now may result in an exhausted feeling during the flight.

Let’s think about the long run. If you intend to only get your private pilot license and fly only the desired hours, then a normal headset will do.

Thinking of getting your commercial pilot license in the future?

A regular headset will do the job fine too, however, you may face unnecessary hassles such as uncomfortable pressure on your ears during long flights.

Wearing the headset during long flights the pressure on your ears will get annoying at some point.

Cheaper headsets will show signs of problems quickly. You may have to replace it sooner than you expect.

That is why I am giving you two options for a good headset here.

The first is by David Clark H10-13.4 whick looks very cool. Most pilots prefer to buy David Clarks.

Perhaps because the headsets are very affordable and last for a long time without any issues.

The David Clark H10-13.4 is the best at the price they sell for. It is good enough to do the job.

Cancells sufficient background noise and creates less pressure on your ears during a long flight.

If you are planning for only acquiring a private pilot license and not further then David Clark H10-13.4 is the best option for you.

Get your own headset so that you do not have to face unexpected issues with the old rental headsets while you are flying in the airplane.


Let’s talk about the better option.

What if you intend to fly commercially? After you are done with your private pilot course you intend to get your commercial pilot license.

You need to invest money on a headset only once until you finish your commercial pilot course. Buy a good headset only once and you do not have to spend ever again.

There are many issues with cheap headsets. Sometimes cheaper headsets expire even if you are not using it for a long time.

That is why I say quality comes with a price.

So the better option is the BOSE A20 Aviation headset. This headset is a bit pricey.

A pricey headset is not necessary during the early stages of your flight. The David Clark Headset mentioned above will do the job right.

But when you pay a big price for a headset like these it is mainly because of the noise reduction technology used in the headset.

This BOSE A20 headset cancels noise a lot more compared to any other regular headsets.

It has a lot of lesser clamping force and creates lesser pressure on your ears than its other counterparts.

BOSE A20 headset also offers Bluetooth connectivity for more convenience of the pilot during flight.

It is really up to you which headset you choose but it will be wiser to choose BOSE A20 headset and the smarter option to choose is David Clark H10-13.4.


A student pilot will be taught in their ground class about cross country flying and making a navigational flight plan.

So without a map of the airport, you will fly from and fly into, it will be impossible to create your flight plan.

You have to check into your local pilot shop for the specific map. Ask your flight training school, they can suggest something too.

Having a map is not only crucial for flight training ground classes, but it can also be very helpful during your actual flight.

VFR Navigation Flight Planner.

It is a very important thing to plan your flight ahead of time.

Now I am not saying that you must buy it; because often times flight training schools will provide you that for free.

Although if you intend to have a bunch of flight planner to practice VFR flight planning at home, you can order here >>> VFR Flight Planner.

Rotating Flight Plotter.

Before you go for a cross country flight you must have a navigational flight plan.

Although you are a student pilot, it is your responsibility to ensure safety during flight.

You can’t be lost during your flight. So, to create a flight plan for navigation you need a map.

Similarly, you need a plotter to calculate distance on the map and your magnetic heading.

The rotating flight plotter is the best because it is easy and fun to use.

E6B Flight Computer.

Metal E6B flight computers are not really used during flight training nowadays.

However, it is rather a helpful gadget for pilot students. It can be useful during many incidents of actual flight.

Many students prefer to buy the electronic flight computer which is definitely the right thing to do in this modern-day.

But during flight training ground classes you will have to learn how to use a manual E6B flight computer.

So having a metal E6B flight computer is a must. It is also a lot cheaper than an electronic flight computer.

Pilots Logbook.

If you fly all these hours and do not log it in a logbook, how are you suppose to keep track of your hours flown?

Well, I guess that is the most nonsense thing I have ever told.

There are no pilots without a logbook.

Every pilot has at least one logbook to log all the hours they fly.

As you continue flying and build hundreds of hours you may need to add more logbooks in your flight kit list.

But first I can suggest you get one of your first flight logbooks here >>> ASA Standard pilot log.

There many choices for logbooks.

Choosing one of these standard logbooks by ASA is good enough for your private pilot training and adequate for logging your commercial pilot training hours.

I use this ASA logbook and I find it easy to log flight hours in this logbook compared to the more complicated logbooks.

Flight Kneeboard.

Well, a flight kneeboard is not really essential but some students actually find it helpful having a flight kneeboard.

In real flight, you have to stay aware of so many things at the same time. You have to stay focused on several things while flying the airplane.

The flight kneeboard will slightly ease your multi-tasking capability.

Thinking of an inexpensive kneeboard?

I think the best option is the Trifold Kneeboard by ASA. It is the perfect size to use in all types of cockpits.

As well as has plenty of room for your charts and all other papers you need during your actual flight.

You may use it to hold your iPad mini during your flight training too.

Aircraft Fuel Strainer/Tester.

Every time before you begin your flight and it is the first flight of the day for that aircraft, you must test the fuel.

If you do not test the fuel you may put yourself into fatal danger.

So how do you test the fuel?

You need an aircraft fuel tester to do that. Fuel testers are available in any pilot shop but the price I found it on Amazon.

Just go check the current price here >>> Aircraft Fuel Tester.

It is best to test the fuel for contaminants, water and also the color of the fuel to ensure whether the right grade of fuel is being used.


I guess I do not have to say much about iPads. These days even kids have iPads to play games.

Well, I was not so fortunate when I was young.

However the trainee pilots today can buy an iPad mini to ease their hassle massively during their flight training.

iPads are a device that can come so handy during your private pilot ground training and your actual flight training in the sky.

Not just for your private pilot training an iPad will assist you all your life as long as you are pilot.

Even airline pilots prefer to use an iPad for several purposes. One of the main reasons is the iPad replaced so many paper documents inside the cockpit.

Especially with so many applications available in iStore to help student pilots as well as a commercial pilot, do not hesitate to invest in an iPad.

If you have the cash just go for it.

Aviator Sunglasses.

Now this one is not absolutely necessary but I can consider it a bonus choice for student pilots.

You are starting your flight training and about to get your first pilot license, it is the right time to invest in an aviator sunglass.

Aviator sunglasses were made for pilots hence the name is an aviator.

Now as you are already becoming a pilot there is no reason to stop yourself from having a good pair of sunglasses.

Aviator sunglasses will make you look stylish and you will be benefitted from your training.

What are the benefits?

  • Well during hot summer days it is absolutely necessary to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes inside the open airport.
  • A good pair of sunglasses will aid you to observe traffic clearly on sunny days.

So grab one for yourself before you start your flight training.

2 Replies to “Student pilot gear and essentials.

  1. Capt.elite,

    I’m curious as to why you point student pilots to the very pricey Jeppesen or Rod Machado Private Pilot Handbook to use when studying (I assume this is either with or without a online program) then you suggest the Gleim Private Pilot Test Prep.
    Why not the Gleim Private Pilot Handbook with the Gleim Test Prep?

    1. Hi Ken, It’s a good question.

      I pointed Jeppesen because Jeppesen’s books are well written and excellently illustrated. It has an elaborate explanation of each aeronautical subject. Thus it’s a bit pricey.
      I believe Rod Machado’s Private Pilot handbook is the only better alternative to Jeppesen’s private pilot handbook. If you really want a more affordable alternative, there are resources online which have books for free. You can check for two free books here.

      I recommend Gleim’s private pilot test prep, particularly to prepare for the FAA Private Pilot knowledge test. To pass the knowledge test, you have to practice multiple choice question answers. Gleim’s have nailed this part of the private pilot licensing very well. Likewise, you can use the Gleim’s test prep to identify which subjects require further review to comprehend subjects thoroughly.

      Let me know if you have any more confusion, I will clarify.

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