Bose A20 Review: 7 Simple Reasons Why You Need This Tech

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I was about to go out solo for my night rating in a PA28 and curiosity of what the power button did on my Bose A20 headset adaptor got me. I pressed the power button, and immediately – silence. Is the engine even running??

My world was transformed. It was like flying around in a vacuum! I couldn’t believe I had just done 100hrs of flying in a single-engine piston aircraft and not realised the noise cancelling feature had been turned off the whole time ?????!

What an idiot I can be!

Taxing out, I was concerned about how silent everything had become. I have had my Bose A20 for about three years now. I have flown around 1500hours with it, of which around 150hours were in single and twin-engine piston aircraft. The remainder in the B737!

In this blog post, I’ll share seven reasons you need to get a Bose A20 if you will be doing a lot of flying.

Reason #1: The Bose A20 noise cancelling is unreal!

I did 100hours in a noisy Piper PA28, not realising that to start the noise cancelling, I had actually to turn the headset on! With A20 headset with noise-cancelling off, I had no issues.

Subsequently, I have found pilots who prefer to fly with the noise cancelling off because they like to have noise feedback, e.g. engine noise, stall warner etc.

With the noise cancelling on the A20, it can feel like flying around in a vacuum. It took me a bit of time to get used to this. When I started flying the B737, I actually did my first few flights with the noise cancelling off as I wanted to hear the engines’ tone etc.

Now, I happily spend 12 hour days with the headset on without any problems. So good is the A20 noise-cancelling people complain it is too effective!!!

Reason #2: Comfort – You can use the Bose A20 headset for 12 hour days in pretty good comfort.

I used to have a David Clark H10 headset. The David Clark H10s was brilliant during PPL where I was strictly speaking, not doing that much flying. I used to find the David Clark headset used to clamp down on my head and become annoying after an hour or two. I get no such problems with my A20 headset.

The Bose A20 headset doesn’t apply as much pressure onto your head. The memory foam Bose A20 ear cushions also stop your ears from getting hot!

Anything you have to wear on your head will become annoying after 12 hours, but with the A20, the irritation is much less.

See the David Clark H10 headset on Amazon.

Reason #3: The Bose A20 aviation headset Bluetooth functionality is handy

With most people using tablets with ForeFlight/ Skydemon etc., you can connect the Bluetooth from your A20 headset onto your tablet. If audio alerts are enabled, you can have traffic alerts, terrain, airspace alerts etc. all play into your headset.

The A20 has a selective mute function that allows any audio paying to be paused during intercom or ATC transmissions.

Reason #4: Having a high-quality headset will improve your ATC radio work and interactions

Although not specific to the Bose A20 headset, having a high-quality headset will improve your ATC communications. I had not realised how much having a good headset was a game-changer until I joined my airline.

One of the most annoying issues I have come across is when a fellow flight deck crew member has a mediocre headset, and you spend all day having to mess about with the volume on the intercom because their audio is not clear.

The same applies to ATC. The better your headset is, the easier it is to hear and respond appropriately to commands. Don’t underestimate how critical this is!

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Reason #5: The Bose A20 build is solid

I have had my Bose A20 for three years, and the build is completely solid.

Bose A20 review - headset after 3 years
Bose A20 headset after 3 years

I have lost count of the number of times I have dropped my headset onto the flight deck floor and it has been completely fine afterwards. I won’t lie, my headset is starting to show signs that is has been ‘well used’. For example, I could do with some new ear pads.

Bose A20 review - needing new ear pads
Bose A20 needing new ear pads

The mic boom arm could probably do with tightening a little to give it some rigidity. Not a big deal – just me being lazy! The modular nature of the A20 means most of the main components can be replaced as they wear. For example, if you need a new mic, it is simply 2 screws that would need to be undone.

Reason #6: The cost. Yes, the upfront cost is high, but you save over the life of the headset.

I agree that the upfront cost of the Bose A20 headset is high. I am convinced though that the excellent build quality would save you money over the headset’s full life. A quick search of Bose A20 on eBay also gave a pleasant surprise.

The resale value of A20 headsets is quite high. I found most buy it now options to be within 15-20% of a new headset’s sales price, which shows how desirable the product is second hand.

Reason #7: I know pilots who have purchased the Bose ProFlight Series 2 Aviation and have said they would rather the A20 they had beforehand!

Some of my friends and colleagues have ‘upgraded’ to the ProFlight Series 2, and they say, it is not as hard-wearing a product, and they would have prefered to have an A20!

I have not tried the Pro-Flight Series 2, but from what I understood – it would come down to how noisy your aircraft is. I spend most of my day on the B737 and occasionally fly a PA28.

For that, I much prefer the rugged, raw noise-cancelling power of the Bose A20. If you fly a silent A350, then the Pro-Flight Series 2 may be better.

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Are Bose A20 worth it?

If you have the money, then I would say the Bose A20 headset is definitely worth it. Using the Bose A20 headset compared to my David Clark H10 headset, I definitely feel less tired after a long day, and the sound quality is excellent.

Aside, you certainly notice it when you fly with someone else who does not have as good a headset compared to the Bose A20. With the Bose A20, the sound is very clear, and you have no difficulty communicating with the headset.

How long do Bose A20 last?

45 hours with a new set of AA Batteries.

It does depend on the use. I tend to get around 5 long days of flying from a new set of AA batteries. If you have the Bluetooth on, then you can expect the battery not to last as long.

Surprisingly, I have found the best batteries that last the longest to be the Alkaline batteries from Ikea. Don’t waste your money on expensive Duracell batteries – just go to Ikea and get the ALKALISK range of AA batteries – £2.50 for a pack of 10!

They are excellent.

When did the Bose A20 come out?

Bose A20® Aviation Headset with enhanced features and Bluetooth audio came out 20th July 2015

Can you use Bose A20 for gaming?

Although I have not tried it myself, my understanding is that you can not use the Bose A20 for gaming.

The Bluetooth protocol for phones/tablets/communication is different to what is used for games consoles so audio will work but you may struggle to get your mic to function correctly.

Bose A20 frequently Asked Questions

How long do the Bose A20 batteries last for?

You can expect around 45hours of use from a new set of batteries.

Are there any Bose A20 promotions, offers and discounts?

Bose A20 discounts tend top-up up from time to time. I will do my best to keep this section updated with Bose A20 offers. Please see the links below:

Bose A20 promotion

Where can I got a Bose A20 Manual?

See the Bose A20 manual / Bose A20 User guide here

How long is the Bose A20 warranty valid for?

The Bose A20 has a 5 year manufactures warranty

If you have any questions on the Bose A20, or I have missed anything, please leave a comment in the section below. I would love to hear from you!

Bose A20 in B737

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