The David Clark H20-10

The headset that has carried me through flight training, that promises to keep delivering


Above Photo: A snapshot of me sporting the H20-10 taken by my instructor when I was a student pilot. All Smiles

This is my first post so allow me to provide some background.

I was 18, I had only ever flown a handful of times in my life, but I knew that I wanted more. I wanted a career in aviation. I was accepted into ASU’s aviation program in 2012 and in the months leading up to my August 16th move in date I needed to wrangle up a full assortment of tools that I had only ever seen in catalogs; a plotter, an E6B, sectionals, a kneeboard, and the all-important headset. I had no clue where to start and neither did my family, I am the first person in my extended family to pursue aviation at any level.

I visited my local pilot shop at Zamperini field (KTOA) in Torrance, CA to pick up the necessities. I figured what they had there would be as good as anywhere. Recalling my confusion over what supplies to get is the primary impetus for starting PIREP Magazine. At the early stages of training it is hard to know which way is up, what moves are the right ones to make, and if you have zero experienced resources right out of the gate, the process can be even more confusing, daunting, and even scary.


My first ever Phoenix VFR sectional, a memento that still lives in my flight bag, a plotter, an E6B, and a brand new logbook all were piled on the counter at Rolling Hills Aviation when I turned to the display of headsets and asked for some help picking one out. I will admit that some part of me knew I would be leaving there with a David Clark headset. Maybe it was the familiar pale green that one seems to see everywhere, maybe the wide selection caught my eye, at any rate the David Clark felt right, and the folks behind the counter were happy to recommend the H20-10. At the time this was the latest model. I asked how long these things normally last, and was assured that David Clarks will outlast any other headset, and with all of the replacement parts available they would be easy to keep in top shape and in working order. I still remember getting handed the simple white box with the David Clark logo emblazoned on the top and being told that I have “there right pair of shoes there”.

My first few days at ASU were an interesting experience. I was one of only a few professional flight majors on my floor, and my roommate, an electrical engineering major, was interested in the headset I had on my desk. To most on my floor all they knew was It wasn’t a gaming headset, and if you tried it on it made the whole world go silent. Silence was exactly what I was after. Airplanes are loud and protecting my hearing is important to me. I suppose the average noise reduction rating of 22dB fills that role nicely. The folks at David Clark say the H20-10 “Yields an overall Noise Reduction Rating of 22dB, with 29dB of attenuation at the fatiguing 1000Hz level and 37.9 at the 4000Hz level.”


The soft ear pads are gel like, and form a tight but comfortable seal around the ear. I always wear sunglasses while flying and I never notice any discomfort or a change in noise level caused by the earpieces getting between the headset and my head. Just the other day I “lost” my sunglasses on my head; that’s how comfortable these things are. In instrument training I used Jeppshades and I had no issue putting the band around the headset, but I did find it more comfortable to put the shades around my head first and then put the headset on over that. The headset is lightweight, 19oz without the cord, and I never feel like there is anything weighing me down. With no exposed wires around the head pad there is nothing to catch on nor is there any concern for damage to any wires. The flex mic boom stays in place and makes adjusting your mic position easy.

The pillow like head pad adjusts with a simple locking ratchet mechanism that is easy to use once the headset is where you want it on your head. This can make the headset feel more tight or loose to your preference. What’s more is the pad is easily removable for washing, but given the pad’s breathability it has never become dirty even under my regular use in the flight training environment.


I have had a solid four years with this headset, and it is promising to give many more. The sound quality is great; the noise protection is even better. I have used it regularly in a Cessna 172, Piper Seminole, and a Cirrus SR22 and in all cases I heard what I wanted to hear clearly with minimal engine noise to listen over. All warning horns, and changes in engine sound come through perfectly so you will never be blocked from full situational awareness. It is important to note that all cockpit noise situations are a bit different so depending on your intended use you may experience some differences. Make note of the attenuation levels in the description from David Clark below for a better idea of the specific areas of noise reduction.

Noise Attenuation Data
22 dB
Frequency (Hz) 125 250 500 1000 2000 3000 4000 6000 8000
Attenuation (dB) 14.7 19.9 24.7 29.6 32.0 35.2 37.9 36.3 36.1
Standard Deviation 2.1 1.9 1.9 2.5 3.2 3.3 3.4 4.1 4.1


In my opinion this headset is THE headset. It has been my constant companion through flight training and it is strong and reliable. If you’re looking for a new headset why not start where I started and get the David Clark H20-10?

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