I want to start training for my Private certificate but I do not want to waste my money. I'm already purchasing an online course for ground school. Generally speaking, are the following used during or after training? And, if so, would a $150 US price tag be worth it?

  • Electronic E6B Flight Computer
  • FAA Aviation Weather Text Book
  • FAA Airplane Flying Handbook
  • Private Pilot Maneuvers Guide
  • Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
  • Pilot's Log Book
  • FAR/AIM Fuel Tester
  • Flight Gear HP Crosswind Bag
  • Sectional Plotter
  • VFR/IFR Flight Plan Forms

Thanks, in advance. I'd rather spend my money on flight time than nonsensical items.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ All of the FAA handbooks and the AIM are available for free on the FAA website. The FARs are also online. You can download them to your computer or iPad. I like the fact that they are searchable, so you can find things much more quickly than in a book. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Personally, the only things I use these days is the log book, fuel tester, and plotter. I would probably have used the on-line manuals if there had been an internet when I was a student pilot. I still have the mechanical E6B I got back then, stuck in a drawer somewhere. I don't think I've used it since I finished training. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ Is it a "FAR/AIM Fuel Tester" or "FAR/AIM" and "Fuel Tester"? $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 0:55

2 Answers 2


Well going by Sportys own price lists

Flight Gear HP Crosswind bag - 50
PHAK - 16
AFH - 16
AWTB - 16
FAR/AIM - 16
Fuel tester - 11
E6B - 40
Logbook - 16
Plotter - 16
Private Pilot Maneuvers Guide - 16

TOTAL: 213

If the list price is 150, that represents a savings of 63.

Of all that equipment, save for the maneuvers guide, you will need the rest of it to complete your training knowledge test and checkride. The E6B and the chart plotter are a little anachronistic these days but can still be put to good use for time or fuel sensitive flights. You will make good use of the flight bag for the rest of your flying career. All in all it’s a pretty good kit.

One thing they left out and I highly advise you buy is a flashlight and spare batteries. It’s a $30 item and it could save your life if you ever have an electrical failure at night. I would recommend the Smith and Wesson Captain’s Flashlight for this. Avoid tactical flashlights with high output white lights; these are counterproductive when flying and will wreck your night vision. Another good option are the head mounted lights popular with cavers and climber. Select one with white/red output and, again, not too bright.

Another useful item is a headset. High end ANR headsets cost over 1000 USD but ther are economical and good quality one in the 200-300 USD range. I used the David Clark H10 series headset during my primary flight training and still have the headset handy for passengers.

I would recommend spending the money on the following apps

Either ForeFlight or Garmin Pilot as an EFB. Best thing since sliced bread for charts, maps, weather products, flight planning, filing, etc. much lighter and a hell of a lot cheaper than paper products for this.

ASAs FAR/AIM - Heck of a lot lighter than a paper FAR/AIM, can search regulations faster and it automatically updates annually, instead of having to buy a new paper one every year.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ To be honest, sliced bread isn't that great for charts. $\endgroup$
    – Sanchises
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:46
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Sanchises I'd rather bring sliced bread than a loaf and a sharp knife in a small GA aircraft cockpit... $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ While the kit may be a bargain, that doesn't really answer the question. Should I buy all of this? Also, I plan on buying ForeFlight and an iPad Mini. So, the question still remains: do I need to buy this stuff? $\endgroup$
    – G. Deward
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ All and all for a student pilot flight kit, that one is pretty good contains virtually all of your study material and some needed cockpit equipment for less than buying all the parts separately. All in all I’d say it’s a good deal. But that’s gonna be your call. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Sanchises It can be useful if you want to make a sandwich while reading the charts, though. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 21:17

Personally, here are the items I use a lot:

  1. Flight bag
  2. Log Book
  3. Fuel Tester

Items I sometimes use, but you could easily replace

  1. E6B
  2. Sectional Plotter
  3. Flight Plan Forms

Items only used as a student:

  1. FAA Aviation Weather Text Book
  2. FAA Airplane Flying Handbook
  3. Private Pilot Maneuvers Guide
  4. Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
  • $\begingroup$ Assuming I were buying ForeFlight and an iPad Mini, which of the items above should a new student buy? The entire kit? None of it? $\endgroup$
    – G. Deward
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 17:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A good pilot is always a student. I still often read things in the Airplane Flying Handbook, PHAK, AIM and other resources. I got my PPL in 1999, IFR in 2005 and have flown jets and helicopters and there's still so much I don't know. $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 17:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @dvnrrs: Sure, but I think the question is whether it's worth paying money for hard copy books when you can download an online version for free. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 19:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .