David Clark Trumps Sennheiser Lightspeed





Oh the delight that filled my ears last night as I flew ZS-PWO around the circuit for a dual check with Darius.  For dear reader, a Dave Clark H10-13.4  headset had found its way onto my noggin.

Dave Clark H10-13.4

Firstly, the Cirrus SR22 has a loud engine.  It is a Continental 310 HP Engine fronted by a 3-blade Hartzell propellor which tears through the air pulling the craft of beauty at a cruise speed of 170 knots, or 315 kph which is, in the words of the Bard,  SENDING IT.

For those bereft of a proper upbringing, SENDING IT means going really fast.

There will be many, many thousands of pilots who scoff at my “going really fast” comment because compared to a Gulfstream G650 which cruises at Mach 0.885 or 1 093 kph, its not.

But for a PPL who loves aviating at night its sufficiently quick to keep you busy.

Back to the noggin-covering David Clark headset. After almost ten years of aviating about South Africa wearing a Sennheiser lightspeed, it was time for an upgrade.  I have read quite a bit recently about how really good quality headsets save your hearing.  Being 55  years old this is becoming more important by the day. Not that the Sennheiser is a shoddy piece of kit, but we have to understand scales of effectiveness.

Like all bits of hardware,  the trade off is in the price.  Whereas the Sennheiser costs around R2.8k  the David Clark’s are R7k.

Yes, a significant difference.  And so too in their quality. I shall now bore the living daylights out of non pilots and post their specifications :

  • Expanded, super-soft, double foam head pad
  • Larger, yet lighter, undercut, Comfort Gel, ear seals
  • Universal flex boom for perfect microphone placement
  • Exclusive M-7A, the most advanced noise-cancelling microphone available
  • Low-profile volume control knob with detent settings
  • Molded cord assembly made to exceptional pull and flex standards
  • 5-Year Warranty, Made in USA
  • FAA TSO Approved C-57b, C58a
  • Exceeds RTCA/DO-214 Standards
  • Weight (without cord assembly): 16.5 oz.
  • Certified Noise Reduction Rating – 23 dB

What all of these bullet points don’t tell you, is just how comfortable the headset feels.  When you’re flying for hours at a time in various temperatures, its vital to feel as comfortable as possible.

At this point in my aviating career I’m forced to wear spectacles at night and in low light. The headphones slot neatly over the arms of the spectacles and shut out the sound.

The remarkable thing in today’s world is that these headphones are not manufactured in China or Vietnam on behalf of a name brand.  They’re 100% built in the U.S.A. and as with other quality goods like the Harley Davidson or my Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster,  there’s no comparison to plastic rubbish.

David Clark’s are steel and double foam topped, its microphone cover is soft and .. um .. cuddly .. and all around I’m one very happy chap.  Furthermore, the brand has been linked to incredible feats of aviation.

For example they developed pressure suits used on the Red Bull Stratos programme where Felix Baumgartner performed his famous record-breaking free fall in 2012.  The company began producing aviation products in 1941, including the first standard anti-G suits used by allied fighter pilots during World War II.

My Sennheiser’s are now the spare which passengers who deign to come fly on board the good ship Cirrus SR22 can experience while I indulge in “Clarking”.



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