Bose A20 Aviation Headset – 4 New Enhancements for 2015

by Brandon Ray · July 21, 2015

4 New Enhancements for the 2015 Bose A20 Aviation Headset

I recently wrote a new review of the Bose A20 vs. Lightspeed Zulu.2 vs. Lightspeed Zulu PFX as a follow-up to my detailed review when the Bose A20 debuted. This week at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that Bose added a few hidden enhancements to their A20 aviation headsets.

These improvements include:

  • A2DP – This means you can now stream Bluetooth audio (music, audiobook, etc.) from your cell phone to your headset. In the past, the Bose A20 Bluetooth only supported phone calls over Bluetooth but not streaming other audio sources. Now it supports both calls and streaming Bluetooth audio.
  • Improved control module – Rather than icons, the audio prioritization control now features more clearly defined labels, “Mute,” “Mix,” and “Off”.
  • Smart shutoff – After your flight, the headset now turns itself off after a few minutes of not being used. This helps keep the battery life going for an impressive 45 hours.
  • Auto-on – for panel-powered 6-pin headsets (common in Cirrus and Corvalis aircraft). Once your aircraft is powered on, you no longer have to press the power button for your headset to turn on the noise-canceling.

While these features may seem like small enhancements, they are helpful for keeping Bose as one of the top contenders for premium aviation headsets.

Pricing

Pricing for the complete headset remains the same ($1095 with Bluetooth), and owners of the previous generation A20 headsets may upgrade their control module/cable assembly by contacting Bose and paying the price differential for the new module. I paid around $150 to upgrade my first-generation Bose A20 headset at Oshkosh. I’m not sure, but perhaps that was a promotional discount or exchange-price for the airshow. The Bluetooth control module alone is usually around $300 without an exchange.

Buying a Used Bose A20 Aviation Headset

How do you know if you’re getting the latest and greatest Bose A20 headset? Check the control module. If it looks like the image below, it is the latest model. Notice the switch labels, “Mute,” “Mix,” and “Off”. This helps you tell it apart from the previous model which had circular icons beside the switch.

Bose A20 Control Module

Buy online:

If you choose to buy a Bose A20 headset, feel free to use my affiliate links below. To upgrade your existing first-generation Bose A20, you should contact Bose directly.

(If you purchase a new Bose A20, you might want to first verify with the seller that you are getting the latest model as I’m sure there will be some leftover inventory being sold during the transition to the newer model.)

How it Started

One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.

Training Begins

It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.

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Flying

The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.

First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).

Learning

At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.

Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.

Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.

In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.

More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/

 

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