Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Flight Bag Is A Pilot's Best Friend

Modern design and computer engineering have transformed the humble flight bag into a cockpit necessity

Today, we continue to pare the list down, but the number of electronic gizmos has grown. In 2011, a modern pilot probably carries a laptop, portable GPS, handheld com radio, an LED flashlight or two, a headset, electronic chart reader (or smartphone with aviation apps), maybe a paper chart or two, an MP3 player, airplane manual, fuel tester, sunglasses, spare batteries, kneeboard and, finally, a gaggle of personal items—from your favorite gum to a good book.

So, we present the modern flight bag. We have a sea to choose from—in every color and with more functions than a Swiss Army knife. We list here a few of our favorites. Most of these manufacturers have a varied line of flight bags, so if you disagree with our choices, there’s undoubtedly one that fits your flying style better. Whatever your preference, there’s a flight bag out there for you!

BrightLine Bags
Right off the top, this bag blows our socks off with its 25 pockets and the ability to carry one or two headsets in a 13x10x9-inch footprint. If you want innovation and advanced design, this bag has it and then some. It was designed by a pilot, and was created on the computer and refined countless times before it ever went to production. Versatility and innovation are the hallmarks of this bag.

Each of the bag’s features makes you nod in approval. Here are just a few: The zippers are color-coded so you know which pocket to open. The bag will hold all FAA navigation charts without folding. The BrightLine has dedicated and ergonomically positioned pockets for sunglasses, cell phone, batteries, fuel tester, radio and many more items. It easily unzips into two separate bags with its SwitchSnap handle system. Check out the complete video on the BrightLine website. Price: $129.

Sporty’s Flight Gear Mission Bag
Sporty’s usually does things right, and their new Mission bag is no exception. First off, the exclusive “MyBag” system allows you to customize and expand your flight bag with a variety of snap-on accessories, so you can literally change the size of the bag on the spot. Dedicated pockets for the most-used gadgets like fuel testers, flashlight, charts, etc. are ideally positioned. The Mission bag has a well-constructed, hard-rubber handle for durability, a separate shoulder strap and internal file folders for organizing charts. We like that it’s top-opening so you can easily fit it between seats or on the side of the cockpit, and we love the useful certificate holder and credit card pockets on the front.

Snap-on accessories include a matching headset bag (though a headset fits fine in the main compartment), camera/radio holder, cell phone case, water-bottle holder and others. Sporty’s will embroider the bag with up to three initials. Price: $62 (base bag).

ASA CRM Flight Bag
This super-functional bag is designed to be your “copilot in a bag” and keep your cockpit clean and organized. Constructed of 600 denier polyester with PVC backing, the bag is designed to take abuse. An assortment of pockets on the inside and outside allows a place for everything. We like the outside mesh “hideaway” pocket, perfectly sized for a water bottle, and the sleek, silver-on-black bag design. The heavy-duty metal zippers feel rugged to the touch, and the nonslip shoulder strap is a nice touch. ASA’s Tech Bag retains many of the features of the CRM, but adds a wider, padded compartment for electronic EFBs and navigators. The CRM Bag is 14½x12x9 inches; the Tech Bag is 19x8x12½ inches. Both priced at $69.


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