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AOPA staff pilots' favorite flying finds

Active pilots, aircraft owners, a designated pilot examiner, and a rusty pilot share their favorite finds of the year that help them with their everyday flying and aviation daydreaming.

Passengers do not always have realistic luggage expectations, and a digital scale can make balancing the load you can carry much easier. Photo by Mike Fizer.

iPad mini. We have an old Garmin 430 with a wonky screen, but the combo of an iPad mini and a docked Garmin aera 660 [gives] me the capability to shoot flight plans back and forth, making the old 430 something of a backup. —AOPA Senior Content Producer Ian Twombly

Garmin GI 275. It effectively gives my SuperCub a glass cockpit. It has synthetic vision to give me higher confidence flying in the backcountry and working around smoke and egressing out of canyons. It has a VFR GPS to provide VFR navigation guidance and has all my critical flight parameters on the instrument. —AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden

Digital luggage scale. Having a scale on hand takes the guesswork out of weight-and-balance calculations, and it also reminds me that I really don’t need all of that extra junk in my flight bag! It is easy to use, and the backlit display and flashlight make it great for night ops too. —AOPA Manager of Flying Clubs Drew Myers

AOPA Pilot Protection Services (Basic). Things have changed quite a bit since I was flying GA and having the peace of mind of PPS is really great. —AOPA Digital Marketing Coordinator Bob Orris

ForeFlight Sentry Plus ADS-B Receiver. As a designated examiner, I’m in and out of all sorts of airplanes with wildly varying equipment. I bought the latest Sentry and love it. Between the carbon monoxide detector, built-in AHRS, long battery life, and other features, it gives me an increased sense of security as I watch for traffic during checkrides. —AOPA You Can Fly Ambassador Pat Brown

Aviation-themed office gear. This year I got all my aviation pictures and artwork framed and hung in my home office. For the finishing touch, I added a Piper Cub switch plate. —AOPA Technical Editor Jill Tallman

MyGoFlight Universal Mini Leather Folio C EFB Pilot Kneeboard and Clipboard. This kneeboard has a professional look, is made of durable leather, rotates, is multi-purpose, and straps easily to my thigh. —AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager Brad Schuster.

Alyssa J. Miller
Alyssa J. Cobb
The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: Gear, In-Flight Accessories, AOPA Products and Services

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