Plane & Pilot
Sunday, June 1, 2008

Heads Up On Headsets


New models & new technology, priced from $79 to $995


HeadsetsAviation headsets—now that’s a topic that’s close to my heart, or ears. My first “headset” was a Gosport tube in a military trainer, an all-rubber affair with a speaking tube connected to rubber ear pads via a long tube. Pity the poor student who tried to follow the grunts, snorts and expletives emanating from the rear cockpit. A few years later, after bouncing my head off the canopy of my SNJ Texan too many times, I took my Bell motorcycle helmet, hollowed out the padding and, using a discarded TV camera headset, inserted a set of Telex ear pads, bolted on the boom mic, then wired it to the navcom. Forty years later, it still works, more or less.
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HeadsetsPilot USA PA-1779T: This headset has the only self-contained ANR in the industry with a NiMH battery with wall charger. It features automatic turnoff when aircraft power is shut down. The headset is fitted with a sheepskin fleece cover and proprietary twin-layer silicone gel ear seals with 30% less weight. It also has cell phone and MP3 jacks. A padded protective case is included, as is a five-year warranty.
Suggested Retail Price: $475

Pilot USA PA-2170T: This passive, nonclamping, lightweight headset has superior noise-canceling ability that adds to its clarity. With a sheepskin head pad and soft leather seals, this model has the same features as the 1779T. The headset comes with a padded headset bag and has jacks for a cell phone, external radio and MP3 players.
Suggested Retail Price: $195
Contact: Pilot USA, (800) 731-0790, www.pilot-usa.com.

Sennheiser HMEC 460: This attractive ANR headset offers enhanced convenience with its cell phone and MP3 audio inputs. Its can be powered by either the aircraft’s electrical system or two AA batteries. The HMEC 460 will also operate as a passive headset. Audio response is 20 kHz for clear communication with ATC.
Suggested Retail Price: $789

HeadsetsSennheiser HME 110: The HME 110 has a constant attenuation of up to 40 dB, excellent speech intelligibility, headphone volume control, a noise-compensated boom microphone and a 10-year warranty. The 110 has an attractive high-tech finish, closed ear-protector headphones and excellent passive-noise attenuation.
Suggested Retail Price: $300
Contact: Sennheiser, (860) 434-9190, www.sennheiserusa.com.

HeadsetsSigtronics S-58: This popular headset comes in three versions: S-58 monaural, S-58S stereo (both for aircraft) and S-58H (for helicopters). All weigh less than 12 ounces. The headband has a comfortable, adjustable fit and ear seals that mold to the head. The units have RFI/EMI immune electronic circuits for clear and quiet transmission. There’s a switch for stereo/mono. The S-58 has 24 dB of noise reduction, and there are versions for children.
Suggested Retail Price: $237

Sigtronics S-20: This entry-level headset is a Sigtronics’ value leader. Available in helicopter and child sizes, it has 24 dB of noise reduction, weighs 12.4 ounces and comes with a three-year warranty.
Suggested Retail Price: $144
Contact: Sigtronics, (909) 305-9399, www.sigtronics.com.

Softcomm C-300 ANR: This headset’s many features include 18 dB of active attenuation and 24 dB of passive attenuation. Microphone bias technology allows for ANR without the need for batteries or additional power sources, and it’s cell phone compatible. It has built-in push-to-talk (PTT) on the ear dome, automatic mono/stereo switching, gel head pad and gel ear seals. It comes with a microphone cover, cloth ear covers and extra foam ear seals.
Suggested Retail Price: $429

Softcomm C-200 ANR: Quiet and comfortable, this headset comes with 22 dB of active attenuation and 24 dB of passive attenuation. It has built-in PTT on the ear dome, is cell phone–compatible and is mono/stereo-switchable. Gel and foam ear seals, microphone cover and cloth ear covers are included.
Suggested Retail Price: $329
Contact: Softcomm, (800) 342-4756, www.softcommheadsets.com.

HeadsetsTelex Stratus 50 Digital: The Stratus 50 Digital offers superior hearing protection; it uses SmartSense, a patented ANR technology based on digital signal processing (DSP), to produce 50 dB of total noise protection. DSP technology targets low-frequency and tonal noise that conventional ANR headsets aren’t able to block.
Suggested Retail Price: $719

Telex Stratus 30XT: The Stratus 30XT power-management system allows you to power the headset from the aircraft panel or with standard alkaline or rechargeable batteries. The microprocessor-controlled battery-management system ensures more than 50 hours of battery life, one of the longest on the market. Also included is Telex’s innovative cell phone/MP3 adapter, which allows you to attach your cell phone and MP3 player at the same time. Telex’s website has all the technical data.
Suggested Retail Price: $519
Contact: Telex, (877) 863-4166, www.telex.com.



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