Pilot tools

This is a list of tools we use to fly and we recommend to you as well. We have listed budget options where possible as we realize that money can be tight in getting your ratings. 

Let's start with the essentials:

  • Tablet
  • Tablet mount
  • EFB (Electronic Flight Bag)
  • Headset
  • Kneeboard
  • ADSB receiver

Optional but highly recommended

  • Fuel stick
  • Fuel tester
  • Home simulator
  • Powerbank
  • Flight bag
  • Headlamp
  • Handheld radio


iPads are the best choice here. More stable, more predictable. However if you are a religuos anti-Apple person a high end Android will get you there as well. We recommend a standard sized iPad. If you have great eyes and like smaller the mini will do just fine. If you want to splash like our CFI-geek Jan does get the pro. An apple pencil will help once you are comfortable writing on it, otherwise just write on your kneeboard. Our experience is: while you are getting all your ratings: write on paper, once you are a pilot you will write on your ipad. On a budget? Get a refurbished iPad. Don't get anything more than one previous generation as it will be sluggish with the modern EFBs 

Tablet mount

Best choice is a RAM window mount. Yes it will remove 10º of outside visibility which is easily compensated by moved your head but it adds a huge amount of situational awareness and safety. Flying with an ipad on your lap, in particular in situations that demand attention is very dangerous. 

EFB (Electronic Flight Bag)

To have up to date charts, plates, weather and much more with you at all times you will need an EFB. The two big players in the US are Foreflight and Garmin Pilot. We recommend trying both (free for 30 days) then pick one. Foreflight is somewhat more advanced but also a bit harder to learn and is Apple only. Garmin Pilot will also run on Android phones and tablets. 
Make sure to have a backup! If your ipad fails: your phone is your backup. If your phone is Android Garmin becomes a logical choice as it runs on both.

Jamie's choice: Foreflight. More advanced!
Jan's choice: Garmin Pilot. Simpler, cheaper and also runs on Android

If you want to totally geek out: here is a 5 part youtube series Jan made with Geezergeek Pilot.  



If you can afford it buy a headset with active noise cancelling. It's worth it. They are really expensive but they will also last 20 years if you treat them well. Careful with buying them used. If from a local pilot you know: fine. Online there are many scams. Another benefit of buying new is the warranty. Jan's Bose's microphone broke twice (probably due to his mishandling) in 5 years, Bose repaired for free ($180 listprice for repair). Once out of warranty all the big brands have good repair programs in place. Here are your key options:

  • Bose A30
  • David Clark One X
  • Zulu Lightspeed


A kneeboard is essential to keep paper checklist and make notes. In particular during training and checkrides.


ADSB receiver


Optional but highly recommended


Fuel stick

Some schools and airplane rentals provide them but not all. Make sure to find out how the situation is at where you go. When you start with us your instructor will have one if the plane doesn't

Fuel tester

Same as above!


Home simulator




Flight bag




Handheld radio