By Jack Boyd

Are you aware of the four common headset mistakes pilots make?

Headset manufacturers cringe when they see their products proudly and incorrectly worn by pilots on Insta­gram, TikTok, and Facebook. So, what are we doing wrong?

  • Wearing the boom mic on the wrong side of our head. Most aviation headsets are made to wear with the boom mic on the left side to prevent entanglement with the power cord (see #2). You can also expect a higher quality of sound output with the boom mic on the correct side.
  • Wearing the boom mic too far from your lips resulting in poor communication quality. You are guilty of this if your voice cuts in and out as you communicate or if ATC says, “Your transmissions are weak and unreadable.”
  • Reaching for the boom mic every time you communicate. Usually this is a consequence of #1 and/or #2. Reaching for the mic is distracting and potentially comdangerous because it could force you to take your hand off the throttle at a critical time.
  • Putting your headset on before starting the airplane. I wish I had a dollar every time I see this one. Wearing a headset during engine start prevents you from hearing verbal warnings from passengers and others on the ramp. It also masks unusual engine sounds. Use the speaker button to listen to ATIS if you prefer to copy it before start up.

Takeaway: study your headset instructions on the proper care and wearing technique and enjoy a “relatively” drama-free flight.

Fly safe friends.

Jack Boyd, ATP, CFII, MEI, DPE, is the president of Gold Standard Aviation flight training center. He is currently an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner and a former international airline pilot with a wealth of aviation real-world experience in high-density airspace environments.