Headset Humblers

Learning to fly is nothing if not humbling.

It’s not surprising, really, when you consider the amazing new skills we’re being taught. Nevertheless, it’s humbling when you zigzag the airplane along the taxiway like a billycart; its humbling when you bunny hop all over the airstrip as you land and its humbling when your instructor is the same age as your kids.

To top it all off, your competencies (or otherwise) are a visible display for the entire world to see, which is also very humbling.

However, the greatest humbler of them all is Mastering the Unruly Headset. Here are nine ways that this naughty gadget can trip you up.

  • You can’t decide which side to put the microphone on and stab yourself in the eye in the process.
  • You want to turn the screeching sound into a pleasant volume but get lost in ‘loose articles’ tracking the cord down behind the seat to find the volume adjuster.
  • You can never remember which side the cord should be on so the headset doesn’t strangle you.
  • You finally figure out that the cord should be on the side it comes up from (duh) only to find it’s caught up somewhere behind your seat on the wrong side.
  • You successfully tame the cord only to find that the microphone arm simply won’t swing into position – your instructor demonstrates that the microphone arm swings over the top, not around the bottom (the way you were trying to swing it).
  • You try wearing a cap under your headset like real aviators do. You quickly write that off as a bad joke and secretly wonder if real aviators use Velcro on top of their caps to hold on the headsets.
  • You win! Headsets are on ready to go. You confidently track down the cord to adjust the volume but to no avail – your instructor shows you that these kinds of headsets have volume adjustors on the earpieces.
  • Your gradually loosening headset falls off your head completely during a bumpy landing (and it wasn’t your best landing).
  • You pull forward the headset to untangle the cord. You wonder why it seems stuck. You realise that a piece of Velcro on the headset has attached itself to the upholstery / lining above the cockpit window.

You sigh and wonder how it’s humanly possible to have so much trouble with such a simple thing. Thankfully, humbling, like flying, is good for the soul.