FBO requiring you to purchase their headset.


New Member
Have any of you ever experienced this?

The FBO I'm looking at taking my private at requires that you pay an initial fee that includes a Jeppesen Private Pilot Kit, and a David Clark 13.4 headset. I asked the guy in charge there if it would be alright for me to subtract the cost of the headset, and buy my own. He told me that it was "highly suggested" that I pay the flight school $275 for it.

When I went on my intro flight, I tried one of the 13.4's. It felt like a clamp at the end of 45 mins...I can only imagine what it'd be like for a longer flight. I've heard good things about the Lightspeed 15xl, and would like to order one online for a better price.

What do you guys think? Should I go against a "high suggestion" and piss off the guy who runs the FBO...or suck it up and pay the $275 to be on good relations with everyone?
I own a pair of DC 13.4's and they're probably the nicest set of civil aviation headsets I've ever owned.

But they may not be for you. It's a personal decision.

$275 seems steep for a set of 13.4's but I haven't considered that when I bought my set for $245, it was 1995.

Holy crap, I'm getting old.
The 13.4 is a really nice headset, and would be a good choice for equipping new students. Still, it should be your choice-you are the customer. $275 isn't so bad for the 13.4 at all, and you *can* bend the headband a little to reduce some of the pressure.

ANR is better (see a thread on this topic in Technical Talk) and is worth consideration. You will need a second headset at some point for passengers though. I used a Lightspeed passive headset for most of my private training, and then bought an ANR just before I finished and went to flight school.
Consider ebay to find a cheaper headset. The guy may be pressuring you since you are an "innocent kid" to buy his headset (or maybe an ignorant student pilot). Just tell him you'll bring your own based on the advice of experienced pilots at a place called jetcareers.com It's okay to buy his headseat, too, if it seems right for you.

When I learned to fly, we didn't have headsets and intercoms. We yelled at each other and went partly deaf from the engine noise...but that's the way it was....and we liked it. If your headset hurts after 45 minutes, then TAKE IT OFF.

What are you paying for flight training? I just got a 152 and this 16 year old wanna be airline pilot guy I know wants me to teach him for his private this summer. I'm thinking of charging him 3K to train him to private standards and hope I can keep it under 45 hours. We'll see....
Actually I haven't even talked price with this guy yet. The last time I was there was last summer...we talked briefly about it. I can't remember the details so well. I had taken notes and written down his quoted price, but that eludes me now. I do remember that he said it would take a lot more than 45 hours though, and quoted me based on that. It was higher than 3k for sure.

Their site is http://www.kciaviation.com

No prices listed...hrm.

You can see on this page where it says about the headset...also their proposed number of hours.

I think it is crap that he would imply a need to buy his headset. You will already be paying him for your training, the last thing you need is to be forced to buy a headset of a certain kind if it is uncomfortable. He should understand that one size does NOT fit all when it comes to headsets. If it feels bad after 45 minutes, it will feel worse when you get to your cross country phase of training. I would do what's best for YOU and that is to buy whatever the heck headset you want.

$275 is about right; the store I used to work at sold them for $295 in socal.
I do remember that he said it would take a lot more than 45 hours though, and quoted me based on that. It was higher than 3k for sure.

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I think national average for the private is around 70 hrs. It took me 59, but there are always many variables that you must take into account. For example, if you fly out of a towered field, you will generally spend more time on the ground...
Tell him you already have a set that was given as a gift from your fater/wife/sister/mom.

then what Buy his anyway.

13.4s are the best (in my opinion) but I have never used the lightspeed etc. the 13.4 needs to be adjusted so it won;t crush your skull.
Go ahead and piss him off. You're the customer. Way too many flight schools forget this, and treat their students like they're doing them a favor by taking their money. Demand better.

I agree with these guys in that it's crazy to be expected to buy that headset when you said that it hurts your head. That being said, I have a pair of 13.4's and they're great. They do feel like a clamp on my head after 3-4 hours, though. I'm looking into a pair of Lightspeed ANR's once I start my commercial/CFI training in prep. for spending more and more time in the cockpit.

I'd get one that fits your head and not worry about what they want to sell you.


John Herreshoff