Sennheiser announced in a Nov. 18 press release that it will stop selling pilot headsets after February 2016.
The German audio company known for headsets and microphones built for music and other applications challenged Bose, Lightspeed, and other high-end aviation headset makers in 2011, introducing a noise-canceling headset at EAA AirVenture designed and priced to compete with top-of-the-line offerings. The last of those headsets, including the S1 model, will be sold in February or soon after, though warranties and product support will continue.
“Our decision to leave the pilots’ headset sector was not taken lightly, especially as we have played a key role in the development of audio transmission in the cockpit, for example by introducing the world’s first headset with active noise compensation to receive FAA-TSO certification,” said Peter Claussen, Sennheiser’s chief operating officer, in a news release. “We will redirect our aviation-specific resources to focus on our key business of headphone and microphone technology.”
The company pledged to fulfill all guarantees and service obligations, and noted in the news release that “generous transition periods have been agreed with airplane and equipment partners.” Claussen said that support can still be offered in individual cases even after the company’s legal obligations have expired.
A Q&A posted online provided further details, noting that Feb. 29, 2016, will be the final day for headset sales, though some distributors may still have them after that while supplies last. The company will stock parts and accessories for the balance of the warranty period of the last pilot headsets sold.
Sennheiser said it will continue to sell headsets made for air traffic controllers, along with audio headphones and microphones for a range of applications.
AOPA reviewed the S1 in 2011, finding it a strong performer and a worthy alternative to Bose and Lightspeed models. The company developed a strong following among professional pilots who favored the comfortable, over-the-ear design and features.