As you accumulate flight time as a student or licensed pilot, you’ll probably want to give up the bag you received through your flight school, and buy a flight bag designed to carry all the gear you’ll need. Things like a headsets, kneeboard, headphones, aviation charts, writing instruments, sunglasses, tablets, chargers, and water bottle all need to be organized and easily accessible in the cockpit.
If you’re looking to buy, here are three medium-sized flight bags that I’ve recently researched: the ASA AirClassics Flight Bag, the Brightline B4 Swift bag, and the Brightline B7 Flight bag. These bags are from established brands and offer lots of compartments to keep you organized. The flight bag you decide on will depend on your relative preference for features, the way you like to organize your belongings, and how much you want to spend.
ASA AirClassics Flight Bag
The ASA AirClassics flight bag is the largest-volume bag of the 3, yet is the lightest in weight. Its clean look owes to its large central compartment, similar to that of a duffle bag, allowing lots of storage. It also has zippered pockets on either end, and thin, unobtrusive pockets on the front and back.
Double-pull zippers access the main storage area which has adjustable dividers allowing you to configure the space somewhat. The cavity is big enough for things like a tablet, charts, kneeboard, water bottle, and books.
The front zippered pocket opens to a series of other, smaller pockets designed for items like ID, keys, and holders for a flashlight and fuel tester. There’s an open back pocket with a sleeve that can fit over roller luggage.
Although the two end compartments are designed for headsets, they look to be a tight squeeze for a standard set, and online reviewers complained of the same. If you’re interested in this flight bag, it might be a good idea to test out the pockets with your personal headsets to ensure they fit. However, given that most higher-end headsets come with their own headset bag, this may not be an issue.
The bag appears to be quite durable, was designed to weather the elements somewhat, and is built solidly. It’s made of water-repellant 600D polyester (backpack fabric), heavy-duty zippers, has reinforcing straps wrapping the bag, and its semi-rigid bottom has plastic feet.
For the price, the ASA AirClassics flight bag is a good bag for a student or pilot who likes using a large central compartment. It’s got plenty of room to carry what you need on a flight.
Dimensions & weight: 18" x 11" x 11"; 3.5 lbs
· Roomy & lightweight
· Durable and sturdy construction
· Pockets on either end may not fit a standard headset
About the Brightline Bags FLEX system
The Brightline Bags FLEX system, designed by a pilot and flight instructor, is a modular system allowing you to build your own bag out of hundreds of possible configurations. This allows you to put together the right-sized bag corresponding to the gear you’ll need on a given day. Buying one of the preconfigured nylon bags like the B4 Swift or B7 Flight gives you a base for which you can familiarize yourself with the system and start using the bag the way you’d like to.
The B4 Swift
The B4 Swift is one of the smaller preconfigured bags in the Brightline system. But it’s one that allows for a number of permutations, including removable and interchangeable side pockets; the smallest configuration to allow for this. The B4 Swift is actually 2 complete bags in one.
The B4 Swift is made up of these 5 components:
· the front and back sections
· the center section
· 2 side pockets
The front and back sections are mainstays of all Brightline bag configurations.
The front section features an arrangement of 9 pockets with colour-coded zippers for your small-