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NFlightMic Nomad converts headphones for aviationNFlightMic Nomad converts headphones for aviation

Listen up: Save money by transforming popular audio headphones into aviation headsetsListen up: Save money by transforming popular audio headphones into aviation headsets

The NFlightMic Nomad is a cost-effective headset option for pilots that adapts consumer-grade noise canceling headphones into aviation-specific units when needed, explained Patrick Carter, the founder of Nflightcam, who introduced the product at EAA AirVenture July 25.

Nflightcam founder Patrick Carter describes his company's newest product, the NflightMic Nomad, which transforms consumer headsets into aviation headsets, during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 25, 2018. Photo by David Tulis.

He said the concept was simple, and reversible, too. “The new microphone converts aircraft audio output to line-level audio that any consumer headset will accept,” he said. Dual-lock fasteners attach an aviation-specific microphone to the side of consumer-grade headphones that are widely available at big box retailers or online “for less than $300.” The $249.99 NFlightMic or the new $299.00 NFlightMic Nomad—which adds auxiliary audio input and stereo intercom support—brings the total investment to about half the price of an aviation-specific, top-of-the-line, noise canceling headset, he noted.

The key is a 2.5-mm input jack installed on many noise-canceling headphones to accommodate external music sources such as smartphones and MP3 players. Some headphones have a larger jack input, but the NFlightMic kit includes a conversion cord.

The transformation effectively converts them into aviation headsets when needed—and the non-permanent mounting solution allows them to revert to regular headphones “that people can use anywhere they listen to music,” Carter said. “We’re really excited about it,” he added, noting that the Nomad news announcement was the company’s first press conference since its 2010 founding.

“Our mission has always been to take off-the-shelf technology and convert it to aircraft use,” Carter said.

The career pilot cut his teeth on fabricating creative video mounting options and special propeller filters. He said the company’s mission is to reduce the overall cost of flying, and he noted that the headset idea was a good fit because of the firm’s familiarity with audio connectivity for general aviation aircraft.

Business partner Courtney Martin rattled off a handful of popular headphones that can accept the aircraft conversion, including the Bose QC25 “that we bought on Amazon for $125,” or the audio company’s latest QC35 model, which retails “for around $300.” She said familiar headphone brands and models include Sony’s 1000XM2, and offerings from Sennheiser, AKG, JBL, and others.

“What’s unique about this product is that it allows you to use almost any active noise reduction consumer headset for aviation,” Martin reiterated. She cited “excellent ANR quality” and comfort as key draws.

“The nice thing is I can take the microphone off and use the headphones to listen to audio, or to a movie,” said Martin. “You can use it in your airplane, in your den, living room, or studio.”

“We’ve tested them in Cessna 120 and 170s, [de Havilland] Beavers, and all the way up to the airlines and this works in almost everything—and I can wear it all day long” without pinching, binding, or extra pressure, Carter said. He added that the company was “in the middle” of TSO certification to meet the internal requirements for certain Part 121 carriers. “It’s our No. 1 priority right now and we’re looking to finish up this year.” He noted there are no such requirements for Part 91 pilots.

He said the conversion kits come with an unconditional lifetime warranty that includes “two pilot errors. That means if you break it, we don’t ask questions and we cover the unit for repairs and replacement. All we ask is that you send the product back to us, but we’ll send another unit out immediately because we want you back in business as soon as possible.” After that, the device is covered for manufacturer’s defects for its lifetime. The kits also come with a 30-day guarantee so pilots can try them out to make sure they work as intended. “If not, they can send it back for just the cost of postage.”

Carter said the next mic iteration is “an adaptation of in-ear technology” that would allow pilots to use their earbuds with a lightweight around-the-neck frame to support the microphone. It would be priced similar to the Nomad.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: Headsets, EAA AirVenture

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