Pilot Flight Bags | Ultimate Gear for Professional Pilots

Gleim Pilot Flight Bag
Pilots carry important gear inside their flight bags, so the bag itself is an important tool.

Do you ever wonder what’s inside those pilot flight bags? Everyone from a student pilot to an Air Force pilot carries one, so you know they’re important. A pilot bag is a tool of the trade, and whether you’re a military pilot or you fly for the airlines, you need one.

What is in a pilot’s flight bag?

If you’re thinking snacks, you probably wouldn’t be wrong. But there are many important items as well. For example, every pilot must carry his or her pilot certificate, photo ID, and in some cases, an aviation medical certificate. After that, the tool list is optional based on each pilot’s needs. Some of the items you’re likely to find include:

  • Charts – Many pilots strictly rely on electronic charts. However, it’s a good idea to bring paper charts along in case the electronics fail.
  • Checklists – All aircraft have their own unique checklists, and pilots often carry these inside their flight bags. The checklist is an essential tool for all pilots.
  • Headset – A headset is a staple of every pilot’s flight bag. Pilots typically prefer their own particular brand and type for noise reduction in the cockpit.
  • Logbooks – All student pilots bring their logbooks as required by the FAA, but many professional pilots also carry theirs as a matter of preference.
  • Tablet or iPad – These have become common tools for today’s pilots, even those who fly in glass cockpits. Redundancy and back-up systems of all types are common in the cockpit. There are numerous apps that help pilots with weather, situational awareness, and flight planning.
  • Flight Computer and/or Plotter – Pilots know the value of back-up systems, whether electronic or old school. Computers might be doing the heavy lifting these days, but any system can go out, so carrying an electronic flight computer is smart. And keep an eye on those batteries.
  • E6B – The manual flight computer is still a popular tool that many pilots carry.
  • Kneeboard – This is a standard tool of cockpit resource management. A kneeboard helps with organization, which reinforces safety. Kneeboards usually feature a notepad and pen for jotting down ATIS or instructions from ATC. They also keep your checklist and charts for the flight organized and easy to grab. They also typically have a pocket for your flight computer phone. A VFR kneeboard is used by all student pilots.
  • Sunglasses – That sun can get pretty bright when it’s bouncing off the clouds or you’re staring directly into it. Pilots even carry and use sunscreen for such occasions.
  • Flashlight – These are essential for night flight, and whether you choose a headlamp or a dual color LED, keep one handy. As with all electronics, check your batteries often.
  • Books – In addition to checklists, student pilots often carry books, such as the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.
  • GoPro or Other Camera – You’ve seen plenty of cool videos from the cockpit of an airplane, and these are often made by pilots who carry their own video equipment. Here at Epic, our students love filming their flights over New Smyrna Beach.

So, those are some of the items you can expect to find inside a pilot’s flight bag along with a few snacks and water. What else should you know about pilot flight bags?

What types of pilot bags are there?

Stay Fly Designer Flight Bag front
There are many types of bags to choose from. Decide what you need to carry, and then read reviews to find the perfect bag.

Pilot flight bags are built for efficiency and durability, so the style is up to your personal preference. You can find everything from a leather briefcase to a vintage backpack with wheels to a Brightline brand bag with a dozen pockets. There is no one best design. When you need a place to stow your gear, it’s up to you to find the bag that suits your needs, whether large or small. Read reviews and see what other pilots have to say before making your final selection. After all, this is an important tool carrying other important tools.

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