Student Pilot Equipment List – the essential guide

student pilot equipment flight bag

One of the many important choices a new student pilot faces is what gear to buy. The Student Pilot Equipment List is your essential guide to making the right purchases as you begin your training.

Student Pilot Equipment Approach

My approach to compiling this list is minimalist. I’m going to stick here to the bare essentials. The following gear recommendations are aimed at providing the new student pilot with a complete load-out, while avoiding unnecessary distractions and cost. This is a basic set of equipment, but it will see you all the way through from first lesson to certificate. In particular, I’ve avoided the temptation to include a tablet/apps, as I believe that learning to fly the ‘old fashioned way’ will make you a better pilot. There is plenty of time to play with ForeFlight after you’ve mastered pilotage by charts, and flight planning with a paper and pencil. There is another school of thought which claims that learning with modern tools is the right way to go, because that’s how you’ll be flying after you get your certificate. Fair enough – but what happens when your iPad dies? You need to be competent with paper and electronics, don’t skip becoming proficient with the former.

This guide is organised by equipment category – study materials, planning tools, and flight equipment. I’ll finish the article with an item-by-item list of the equipment I used to get me to my Private Pilot certificate, complete with a budget. You’ll find many of these items reviewed in the product review section of this website.

Study Materials

Work in progress …