15 Best Accessories for Your New Aircraft – New Aircraft Owner

AeroAvion

15 Best Accessories for Your New Aircraft – New Aircraft Owner

New Aircraft Accessories

Just bought a new aircraft? Well, there are some inexpensive upgrades that you can make to increase the usability and safety of your cockpit. 

 

Dont know where to start? If you recently purchased we have a quick start guide on what to purchase. 

 

Below we have listed a few items that you will want for your new aircraft.

One of the most important things you can have for your aircraft are engine cowls and intake covers. In any season its common for birds and bees to seek the warmth or protection of an aircraft interior. This is why it is essential to keep this part of the aircraft covered at all times. Having engine intake covers ensures the intake of your engine is protected from any unwanted visitors.

Additionally, Intake covers can lead to preventative maintenance. As you know, with heat matter will expand, and when cold, matter will shrink. When this process happens too fast, items can be susceptible to cracking. This goes for engine parts and components. When your engine is on and running for a flight, it can get reasonably hot.

Placing an intake cover on the engine immediately after flight keeps the heat in and helps it dissipate more evenly. This can potentially prevent cracks in engine parts due to drastic temperature changes.

For your new aircraft, having a tow bar is almost absolutely necessary in order to move your aircraft around small spaces. It’s no secret that you cannot use your engine power to back into parking spaces or hangars. 

This is why you will need a tow bar to move your aircraft manually to ensure safe storage of your aircraft.

You want your own tow bar, why? Well many times FBO tow bars can be bent or misused which may in turn damage or scrape your strut. You want to make sure you have a proper fitting tow bar for your aircraft frame and type. This helps ensure that you have the best tools for your type and spec.

The tow bar we list above works for Cessna Single Engine Aircraft 150, 152, 172, 177, 182, 205, 206, 210. Be sure to do your diligence to ensure you find the perfect one for your aircraft type.

We all know how important chocks can be. Aircraft are ‘lighter than air’ and with a small wind you can often find them moving on their own. It’s important to make sure you have a good, quality set of chocks for your aircraft. This ensures that they aircraft stays put no matter the position or environment that it is in. 

Of course, there are chocks at an FBO, however, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where there are no more chocks around for your aircraft.

The chock we suggested is a rubber chock, not a wooden one. We find that over time wooden chocks can get flimsy and can break apart often leading to sharp points. Rubber chocks tend to last a bit longer and keep their quality. In addition, the worst nightmare is having a splint from a wooden chock piercing your aircraft tire, very rare, but it has happened on occasion. 

These chocks come with a heavy-duty rope in between ensuring that they stay connected for the lifetime of the product. We highly suggest you get two for both main tires of your aircraft to ensure stability in all conditions.

In training, we learn the importance of testing aircraft fuel before the flight. Even when you have your own aircraft it is important to have a fuel tester to use for every flight. With your own, you can ensure that no other contaminants from shared aircraft enter the tester. 

This will ensure you have visibility to any water or dirt that gets in the engine fuel tanks. Pilots who have their own aircraft but don’t fly often will probably need this the most as the longer your aircraft is sitting, the more susceptible it is to contaminate the fuel tank.

Now we are putting this separate on the list because its important to have analog backups with anything electronic in aviation. However, we highly suggest investing in an electronic fuel reader due to the harmful nature of 100LL or Avgas. 

Even though Avgas is low lead, there is still some lead exposure. In addition, when using the analog fuel testers and fuel gauges this can often leave avgas on your skin causing it to dry up a lot faster. For younger people this may not be a problem, but as you age you may notice the detrimental effects this has on your skin. 

Make sure you stay protected, invest in an electronic fuel tester to ensure your skin has limited contact to the avgas.

Are you flying an older aircraft that may need intercom repairs? Well, a great tool / helpful utility to have onboard is a portable aviation intercom. Having one on board can be an excellent backup or an alternative to bypass your internal intercom system. 

This emulates a normal internal cockpit version with a pilot isolation switch, the ability to mix music, and a record in/out portion in case you want to keep a record of your comms. Combined with the utilitarian aspect and the neat features, it makes for a great buy in the cockpit.

7) Backup Headset

Arguably the most important thing you need in a flight bag is the headset. Communication is key in aviation and ensuring you have the best equipment to communicate is part of what makes an effective pilot. 

As a given, you probably already have a headset in your flight bag, but what most pilots often forget is that you should always have backup headsets in the cockpit. This ensures that any issues with your headset can be resolved.

Scenarios can be shorts in the cables of your headset, Dead batteries, or faulty equipment. Regardless, it’s great to have one on standby in case of an emergency need.

If you have a 12V adapter in your aircraft we highly suggest equipping with a 12V usb charger for any and all electronics in the cockpit. We suggest the Anker 12V adapter and we cannot stress enough, it is IMPORTANT to do your due diligence when choosing a 12V adapter in the cockpit. These days there are so many on the market that often time can be faulty and lead to electrical shorts. 

Choosing a reputable brand such as anker ensures you have excellent build quality and a product that won’t cause trouble down the line. DO NOT penny pinch with this option as this will be directly connected to your aircraft battery.

Having this on board ensures that you have the capability of charging at all stages of flight. Ensuring that your devices stay powered can be essential in the technological age we live. This will help you power your EFB device to stay charged.

Learn more about EFB’s with our Apps in the Cockpit Blog post Here

Every pilot should always include a headband / Handheld flashlight in the cockpit at all times. Specifically, one that can light red and white depending on your flight needs. For night flights you only want to enable the red light so that it does not interfere with your night vision.

Imagine a scenario where you lose electricity during a night flight, You want to be prepared with a headband light to make a safe and secured landing. Having one can make sure you are prepared for any time of day, ensuring you have the items needed to see during any situation.

It’s always important to have a backup radio on hand. Scenarios where losing electrical power or an emergency landing in the middle of nowhere can result in you having no communication methods. It’s important to keep one handy just in case you need to contact a guard or test communication systems on the aircraft.

Other advantages are fuel savings! Instead of turning on your engine to receive clearance you can simply call in and request. Overtime, this can lead to a huge return on investment, because no longer would you need to have the aircraft running just to receive a clearance or listen to what is going on unicom.

Check out our guide for the best aviation handheld radios on the market. This will give you a great Idea of what to buy when looking.

11) Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide detectors are one of the must-haves if you are an aircraft owner, this ensures that you identify any leaks into the cockpit and are able to address them quickly. Carbon monoxide is something that pilots should not take lightly; CO is a deadly gas that is virtually undetectable to the human sense of smell. 

Essentially, you could be consuming Carbon monoxide during a flight and won’t notice until it’s too late.

In all likelihood, the chance of you having a fatal incident from a carbon monoxide leak is very low (according to NTSB Crash Statistics). However, being an avid traveler, pilot, or passenger is rule number 1 to always be prepared. Understanding the risks, options, and situations when it comes to carbon monoxide is important for every pilot.

Check out our guide on carbon monoxide detectors and why you need one in the cockpit!

Carbon Monoxide Detector

An Essential Item that is often overlooked is windshield cleaner for your windows. It’s actually a requirement that a pilot should have an unobstructed view out of the front window of the aircraft.

Over time bugs, dirt, and debris will formulate on your window shield oftentimes leading to an obstructed view. This can be detrimental as little specs on your windshield can be mistaken for actual aircraft in the skies. In order to make sure you are completely protected it is important to use an approved aircraft windshield cleaner. We highly suggest getting the plane perfect specialty cleaner as this is made for Plexiglas windows. Don’t make the mistake of using other types of liquids that are not meant for aviation. Some liquids are too abrasive for aircraft windshields and can lead to scratches.

Additionally, we have added a microfiber cloth suggestion that will acts as an anti-abrasive for your aircraft windshield.

Portable ADS-B Receivers

At this time all aviators are aware of the rise in ADS-B receivers. Even if your aircraft comes with this equipped, we still suggest having one mounted in your cockpit. Why? For your Electronic flight computer. Having redundancy in flight aids will keep you as a safe pilot during times of adversity.

If you don’t already know, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast is a technology that determines aircraft positions in the sky and broadcasts over digital data link.

As of 2021, ADS-B IN is not required on board your aircraft as it is simply a receiver. However, as of January 1st, 2020, (FAR 91.225) the FAA has required ADS-B OUT under the following conditions:

  • Class A, B, and C airspace;
  • Class E airspace at or above 10,000 feet msl, excluding airspace at and below 2,500 feet agl;
  • Within 30 nautical miles of a Class B primary airport (the Mode C veil);
  • Above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of Class B or Class C airspace up to 10,000 feet;
  • Class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico, at and above 3,000 feet msl, within 12 nm of the U.S. coast.

Check out our guide on the best ADS-B receivers of 2021

We highly advocate that all pilots keep a solid checklist procedure in their aircraft. This does not have to be a complicated document, just one that is easily readable for each phase of flight. It is super important to always use checklists for any stage of flight to ensure that you do not miss anything important. 

Having checklists for Preflight, Runup, Takeoff, Cruise, Descent, landing, and emergency can ensure you are a safe pilot during all stages.

Not all checklists are the same, so ensure to do your due diligence for the aircraft of your choosing. Check out one we suggest for the Cessna 172.

Last but not least we highly suggest getting a portable fire hydrant for the aircraft of your choosing. We do know that many aircraft do already come with this feature, however, if there is a chance that your aircraft does not, it’s always wise to keep one on board. 

It is important to get an aviation specialized fire hydrant as these can often minimize the weight and lead to space efficiency in the cockpit.

Generally speaking, aviation fire hydrants are around 2-3 lbs and should be small enough to be within pilots’ reach. Our suggestion from Halotron leaves no residue, doesn’t corrode expensive avionics or other aircraft parts, doesn’t impair vision, and doesn’t freeze surfaces. This is an important distinction from a regular fire hydrant which is not built for in-cockpit functions.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, being prepared can come in handy. We have listed these couple of items so you can feel just at home in your new aircraft. From fuel testers to ADS-B detectors there are many options that can help you become a safer pilot.

Take the time to review some of the products we have listed and consider them on your next flight.

Are you still looking for an aircraft? Check out our buying guide on what you should ask when purchasing an aircraft.

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Check out our blog post on 5 Easy and Cheap Ways to start flight school, in which we also discuss how contracting a personal flight instructor can prove to be significantly cheaper in your own aircraft.

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