Must Haves for the New Pilot

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by Chris Oquist

So you’ve finally done, you decided to buckle down and make your dream of flying a plane a reality. Now what? Well, you are going to need a few things before taking flight. Some items on this list may seem like little things, but they can make a big difference. An important aspect of being a good pilot is the ability to pay attention to the details. Invest in those little things that will make your life easier.

A safety / first aid kit

When you are in the sky or landing your aircraft there are plenty of opportunities for a mishap to occur. Sure you may never need to open it up, but as the old adage goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Always carry on a flashlight, pocket knife, water, a flare, and a first aid kit for the unexpected.

Pilot’s Operating Handbook and a hard plastic checklist

Know your airplane’s POH from cover to cover and always have it on hand. This contains all the information you will need to fly your specific aircraft. It will include your preflight checklist, but I like to have another sturdy copy on hand.

Flight computer

This is used during flight planning and in flight to aid in the calculation of fuel burn, wind correction, ground speed, estimated time of arrive, among other items. Not used by all pilots, but a useful tool in training.

Good headset

A good (noise reducing) head set will alleviate the headache of using the overhead speaker and handheld microphone. You need to be able to properly hear and be heard when communicating with air traffic control, without yelling at each other.


It will keep your maps, charts, and notes secure and right there with you. You don’t want to be shuffling around on the floor for these items mid-flight. Some pilots are opting to switch these items out with an iPad and there are kneeboards made specifically for this device. Personally, I prefer to keep things old school with the good old pen and paper.

A good flight bag

Just like a businessman with his brief case and a photographer with her camera bag, a pilot requires a functional and fashionable carrier for his all his or her necessities. You’ll need something to keep everything organized and easily accessible.

A plane

The most expensive item on this list, but I’d say it is pretty darn important. To start out, I’d rent. But after you’ve got your license and you are racking up the hours I’d make the investment, in the long run you’ll actually save especially if you fly frequently.

About the Author

Chris Oquist is a private pilot and web developer at Banyan Pilot Shop in South Florida. He is a blogger and article writer whose expertise includes aviation headsets and other pilot supplies. As an aviation enthusiast, Chris is passionate about sharing his knowledge on all-things-aviation.

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