10 must have accessories for a pilot to look cool and armed

Hi there, I am Aanand Keerthy here. Today, let us discuss about basic but must have accessories a pilot should have to look cool and armed. By using the term accessories, I doesn’t mean regular or latest footwear or cool looking gadgets to show off in front of flight attendants and eagerly staring kids. This article is about tools which can come handy at times to pilots when you cant get reliable information from aircraft’s own instrument panel. Now let us go through the main types of equipment which you may consider buying this season.


A smartphone with some rare sensors

Smartphones now come in various sizes, camera qualities and a lot many types of sensors. But there are a few sensors a pilot can use in case of instrument failures.A few smartphones now come with almost accurate sensors to sense atmospheric pressure (barometer), hygrometer to sense humidity, magnetometer, compass, inclinometer, accelerometer, oxygen level monitor, heart rate monitor etc. I don’t care about sensors like fingerprint sensors, Eye iris sensor, proximity sensor, light meter etc. which are all just fancy tools for chicks.  However all smartphones doesn’t come with all the above mentioned sensors. So make sure that your phone has them all and you have necessary apps to interpret the readings from the sensor so that they can be used by pilots.

Click here to read more about smartphones and applications a pilot should use.

Phones having above said sensors include:

  1. Samsung Galaxy note 2, note3, note 4, note 5 etc. in note series
  2. Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, S6, S7 and the main S series
  3. Apple iphone 5S, 6 and later
  4. HTC one M8s
  5. LG G5, G4
  6. Huawei mate 8
  7. Xiaomi Mi 5, Mi4 etc.
  8. Microsoft Lumia 950 and its variants

Please note that only Samsungs and Apples in the list have all sensors like hygrometer, thermometer, SpO2 (oxygen monitor), compass etc. Other phones have barometer only as the distinguished sensor. However it will also be enough as other sensors are used rarely. Personally I use Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is a bit out dated model now. However I am satisfied with it as it has got necessary features (for me) like memory card slot, 4K video recording (ultra HD), good LED flash, clear and bright AMOLED display, all the above said sensors except heart rate monitor.


Professional yet light camera for those memorable moments

Gone are the days of those bulky DSLR cameras to take crystal clear pics. Now it is time for mirrorless cameras which out-perform DSLRs in many aspects. They are light weight, extremely compact like point & shoot cameras, give clearer photos than DSLRs, has got interchangeable lenses like DSLRs etc. However most of them are not so cheap and comes in premium price-tags like DSLRs. Here is a list of cameras in this category to choose from. Here also I have a personal preference about brand, which is the Canon. I know that Nikon and Sony has got competing or better products than Canons, still….

Preferred models..

  1. Canon EOS M  (costs 33,000 Rs INR or 500$ USD approx)
  2. Canon Powershot G1 X (46,000 Rs INR or 800 $ USD approx)
  3. Panasonic Powershot Lumix DMC-GF2W (30,000 Rs or 450$ USD approx)
  4. Sony ILCE-5000 L (29,000 Rs or 500$ USD approx)

Or else, you can even consider buying compact point and shoot cameras like Canon IXUS series which give sharp and crisp images at the fraction of cost of DSLRs. However their functionality will be limited with proprietary batteries, non-removable lens etc.

Click here to see a detailed list of similar cameras and their current prices


Watch, sorry a very smart watch

This is not about fancy smartwatches with android or iphone connectivity to share latest Fb updates or events. This is about watches with smart sensors like altitude, attitude, compass, thermometer, barometer etc. Shown below is my Casio Protrek in my hand, with a host of amazing features. Shown in the screen is the current altitude while I was flying a Cessna 172. I recommend Casio Protrek series of watches to you too, which will cost around 6000 to 20,000 Rs according to the model you choose. The model I have is the 270, which comes with a titanium strap and good water resistance. It is powered using sunlight which falls in the circular solar panel in around the dial. Face detecting automatic lighting feature helps to see the screen in dark without pressing any key for light. What more, it is rugged and you can count on it as a long term flying partner, just as I do.

Watches I recommend

  1. Casio Protrek series (affordable and rugged)
  2. Suunto military series (costly but cool; though not too rugged)

casio pilot watch


Pen drive for storage. Beware of portable hard disks; that’s not for you!

You will definitely need a pen-drive or portable hard disk drive to keep your music and personal files. In this scenario I strongly recommend you to take a fast and compact pendrive with you rather than a portable HDD. Pendrives hold lesser amounts of data than HDD but they are unaffected by physical shocks and are really easy to carry and hide. HDDs are prone to damage due to shock, vibrations, magnetic interference etc. So, my advice here is to keep all your personal data and a few movies and music collection in a new 64 Gb or higher capacity pen drive. Make sure that you have copies of the data in other medium like DVDs or in your laptop drives.

A multi-tool for emergencies

Multi tools like swiss knives, tool cards etc. will come handy and useful in emergencies. Make sure to carry one of good quality to survive in such situations. I prefer Victorinox as a brand in this. Their products are somewhat costly but are price-worthy. Tools are sharp, hard and durable enough to withstand any work load. Some models come with torches, watch etc. which might be helpful in some emergency situations. Prices range from 1000 Rs to 10,000 Rs; according to the number of tools and sizes.


Portable gym equipment

Portable gym equipment like hand crunch, finger balls, compact push-up kits etc. will help you to retain or gain your muscles even in a busy schedule. Make sure to buy them and USE them on a regular basis. Beware of heavily advertised rope machines, cycles, treadmills etc. which are simply waste of money while you can do better yielding exercises in ground without using any equipment.

Cycling for fitness

Buy a good bicycle for your local travels. It will help you in reducing your carbon footprint, provides you a free mode of transport, exercise and pleasure al at once. New models of bicycles are easy to carry, disassemble and store even inside the boot of a small car. Personally I use a Firefox Roadrunner Pro D, which is a hybrid bicycle for both off-road  and on-road cycling. I hate spending a fortune for a bicycle but 20,000 Rs (300 $ USD) is reasonable for a cycle with appreciable qualities like light alloy body, disc brakes etc.

Here is a guide to choose the best bicycle for you.

firefox pilots cycle



I don’t care about regular equipment & medicines you need

Sunglass, caps, footwear, backpack, medicines, log book, manuals regarding aircraft etc. come in the prime priority as we both know. I don’t like to discuss about them in this article as you might know them better than I do. However I would like to publish a post about that too, in coming days, only for student pilots who are eager to have their first air experience.

Till then, Cheers…

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