Can I Use My Military Pilot Headset For General Aviation?
Yes, but only with an adapter. A military headset comes with a single plug for the mic and headphones and has a low impedance design. General Aviation uses two plugs for the headphones and mic. General aviation headsets typically have a high impedance design. For this reason, you will need an adapter.
What Does Low Impedance and High Impedance Mean?
The ohm is the unit of measure for impedance. Impedance is the property of a headset that restricts the flow of electrical current through it. According to Ohm’s Law, in an electrical circuit, current flow is directly proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to impedance.
Low impedance headsets are designed to be plugged directly into a single source and generate sound from a lower level input signal more efficiently. Most headsets with low impedance require little power to deliver high audio levels
Military headsets are low impedance and are more sensitive for this reason.
Headsets with higher impedance demand more power to deliver high audio levels. As a result, they are portected from damage caused by overloading. General aviation typically uses higher impedance headsets.
This will make a bigger difference than the headphones. Military systems use low impedance mics. Civilian systems use the opposite. This comes into play with what the mic picks up.
Should I Get An Adapter For My Military Pilot Headset?
It depends on how much you plan on using it. Most flight schools or rentals offer headsets, but in the COVID era, it could be beneficial to just use your own. Your own headset has most likely proven itself and is comfortable to you.
Getting an adapter will save you from buying a general aviation-styled headset. Your military headset is probably nicer anyways unless you decide to buy one of the top headsets such as the Bose A20s.
What Adapter Should I Get For My Headset?
The adapter you get depends on your plug type.
When converting to a general aviation aircraft you need to make sure the adapter has both a proper-sized headset and mic plug.
In general aviation, the most commonly used headset plug is a 1/4″ plug or 0.25. The microphones in general aviation headsets are separate and use a somewhat aviation-specific .206″ TRS plug.
Military headsets use a single plug for both the mic and headset. These are larger plugs. When finding your adapter check to see what size the plug is on your headset. The reason being that the U.S. and U.K. militaries use different sizes, so this will be to save you some time and effort.
This one has worked well for many of us with minimal issues and saved us money from buying a new general aviation-specific headset. Check out the current price on amazon!