Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flight "Stuff"

Temps are in the 20's today so no flying for me.  I guess I could go plug the plane in and maybe fly tomorrow.  Honestly, The flying is not the problem because 08Romeo is very warm and airtight.  The part that really stinks is the pre-flight and then securing the plane when I land, it's just to darn cold. So for now I connect to flying with my keyboard and try to get my aviation fix for the day, please bear with me.

What's that pictured above you ask? It's my five year membership pin from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) that I received this past week. The five year pin got me thinking about how my flying has changed over time and all the flying stuff I have "collected" in this room.  Since my closet is overflowing with certain items lets start with my flight bag collection!

I started flying with the flight bag supplied with the King PPL learn to fly or cleared for take off course. Once I obtained my private pilot certificate I decided to purchase a bag that would hold all my "stuff" and an extra headset for Mary. I purchased an ASA bag that would hold it all and the extra headset. This lasted for a short time. I felt like every time I was going flying I was moving out of the house hauling that large flight bag and all my junk flight gear.  I was renting aircraft at the time so I had to carry everything "I" needed including a portable GPS.
Mary and I joined the Archer II flying club based at Wilmington (KILG)and that reduced some of the load.  I switched to a smaller bag, this one was made by Sky High, it was slimmer and easier to handle.  Mary was also given her own bag to haul, a headset bag from AOPA. This could carry the headset and extra flight items she liked to bring along, usually her music, reading material, snacks, water and handi-wipes.
I really liked the Sky High Bag and still have it today.  I toyed with the idea of the Brightline bag but sent that back the day I opened the box. While most pilots love it, I have to say it didn't do much for me. To many tiny compartments that were not big enough for what I needed and it reminded me of a back pack.  Repack the box and tape it up, it went back the next day.
Somewhere along this time line of bags or my flight bag fetish as Mary calls it, Mary and I purchased our own plane and left the Archer club. This move opened a whole new world for us.  We really didn't have to carry headsets back and forth each time we wanted to fly but I still do.  I don't want to leave my Lightspeed Zulu's in the plane baking in the heat (even though we have solar shields and a cover) or present the opportunity for someone to see them and break in.
The Garmin 496 is panel mounted and the recent purchase of the iPad makes the cockpit pretty much paperless.  I still keep a WAC chart current for emergencies and my favorite flying area Sectional chart, even though expired, tucked between the back seats with a hard bound flight guide.  I switched to the AOPA blue headset bag that can fit my iPad, headset and kneeboard. I do miss the extra pens, portable radio, extra LED flashlight and miners type headlamp and extra batteries that I always carried. Yes, the plane has a large flashlight in baggage for night time preflight activities, an LED light in the pilots pocket and a regular unit too along with extra pens.

I am once again looking for the flight bag of my dreams, maybe I should go back to the Sky High bag, it's been the best fit so far and kept me happy the longest. Maybe I should seek treatment for this flight bag fetish, so many things to think about. 

I decided to give another flight bag a shot, it's smaller, seems to be able to hold all my gear and not leave me feeling like I am moving away from home but yet provide storage for the items I need.

I recently purchased the Sportys Headset Bag.  I'll report back once I get a chance to try it out. Attached is the Sportys product description.

Flight instructors always have a lot to carry, but multiple lessons per day can make a big bag difficult to use. That’s why the instructors at Sporty’s designed this new Flight Gear Bag to store everything CFIs carry, but in a lightweight, compact bag.


• Padded external transceiver pocket with Sporty’s patented split flap
• Padded external GPS pocket protects your expensive gear
• Single quick-access chart pocket stores just enough for local flights
• Large, wide-mouth center compartment is perfectly sized for a headset
• Front organizer section has room for business cards, ID, fuel tester, flashlight and more
• Six year warranty

Measures only 12”w x 5”l x 11”h overall.


Unknown said...

I am just a few months behind u! (should get my 5YR pin in the spring)... But I definitely DON'T have your flight bag "fetish"!! I still have the same Jepp bag that I got for "free" when I purchased my first Cirrus.

Gary said...


LOL...I am serious, I counted up all the gear I have. The list includes seven headset bags and one lightspeed hard case. I gave away most of the flight bags and only have my Sky High bag and one favorite laptop case that I considered turning into a flight bag. I guess I should count all the camera bags too. I will start the flying videos again and there will be at least four different bags to choose from, it's all about fitting in the extras and keeping it organized, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Now if I had a hangar that would allow me to leave it all in the plane except for my iPad.

I think it's time to post a few items on ebay!

D.B. said...

Gary - I notice we have 2 things in common, apart from flying. we both own a Sundowner, and an English Springer Spaniel. I have never taken mine flying, however. How do you get the rescue dogs into the plane? Mine is too big to go in the cargo door, and it's a big step onto the wing for a medium sized dog (although at 70lbs he is rather large for a Springer)

Gary said...


We love our Sundowner! We share our home with two dogs, Maggie our Italian Mastiff (115lbs) and Rudder the Yorkie (5lbs). We do fly rescue flights for Mid-Atlantic English Springer SPaniels.

I use a kennel command for my Mastiff. A simple tap on the baggage area foor and she hops right in, the springers have done the same. Our dogs know the kennel command from going in their crate and getting in our vehicles. No boarding the car or truck unless they get the kennel command.

Steve said...

Neat post, Gary - you may have a bit of an obsession but it's cool to see the evolution of your flying illustrated via pilot bag.

I am obviously a fan of my BrightLine but it's not for everyone - glad to see you've found ones that work for you.

Nate said...

Congrats on five years with one of the most incredibly effective organizations in the country. Just qualified for my 25 year pin...and my taste in bags has become less stringent with every year.

My guess is at some point your needs are more likely to become more flexible than the bags are to improve significantly.

Nice blog - hope you'll come follow mine, too!

Gary said...


Thanks! Congrats on 25 years in AOPA....that's a lot of magazines!

If I get into a hangar someday I'm sure I will only have to carry my iPad to and from the airport.

I'll check out your blog and add it to my list...thanks for checking in!