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Pilots demand two things from their headsets. First, these units have to provide audio that is clear at all times, no matter how noisy the aircraft environment may be. Second, since aviation headsets have to be worn for many hours at a time, they must be comfortable to wear for the long run.
As one of the world’s premier audio equipment companies, it only makes sense that Bose would tackle the aviation headset challenge, and resolve it brilliantly with the A20.
Weighing in at just 12.5 ounces (354 grams), the A20 is designed to provide the most noise reduction ever offered by a Bose aviation headset, while still providing the clearest audio possible through the use of active equalization and other technologies. Compared to traditional headsets offered by competitors, the A20 provides 30 percent more noise reduction while exerting 30 percent less clamping force on the wearer’s head.
Comfort is enhanced by the A20 having a torsion spring in the middle of the headband. This ensures that the headset sits comfortably on the user’s head and distributes the clamping force evenly. It also ensures that lateral pressure is consistent, regardless of the size and shape of one’s head.
That’s not all: The Bose A20 aviation headset also offers features such as Bluetooth audio and communications interface; a customizable audio prioritization control that enables either the muting of existing audio for incoming communication, or mixing that new audio with the existing audio feed; intuitive “plug-and-play” operation for easy use in all kinds of aircraft; a high-performance adjustable noise rejection boom microphone; and an optional coil cord, popular with helicopter pilots. The coil cord version, which provides the cable management that helicopter operators often prefer, can be ordered with the most popular helicopter-specific connectors.
“Our most current product, the A20 aviation headset, is the best performing aviation headset we have ever brought to market,” said Hratch Astarjian, Bose Corp.’s manager of global aviation sales, marketing and service. “It provides more noise reduction in louder environments over a broader range of frequencies than our previous model and does so in a very comfortable and easy-to-use way. It also has the features pilots have told us are important, like full function Bluetooth, a coil cord cable, auto-on (for panel powered models), auto shut-off, and audio prioritization.”
The A20 is the latest in the company’s long line of quality aviation headsets.
“Bose was the first company to bring a commercially available, active noise reduction headset to the market in 1989,” said Astarjian. “As we have developed meaningful new technologies over the years, we have brought new headsets that incorporate those improvements to the market.”
Due to the combined noise from engines, wind rushing by at high speeds and other operational sources, helicopters are generally noisy places. This is why pilots need headsets that reduce their exposure to loud ambient noise by actively analyzing that noise and then electronically negating it before it reaches their ear drums.
“But contrary to what you might think, noise isn’t the first thing most pilots complain about,” said Astarjian. “It’s comfort. There are many noise reduction headsets on the market today, with some, like the A20, that do a good job of reducing noise. But, unfortunately, most of them trade comfort for quiet. The challenge is to deliver a headset that does a great job with noise reduction, while remaining comfortable over the long haul.”
For that, the Bose A20 is the clear choice. It has been specifically designed to cancel noise while maximizing user comfort, without the traditional trade-offs or compromises.
“Our customers routinely tell us the A20 is not only one of the quietest but also one of the most comfortable headsets they have ever worn,” said Astarjian. “That’s really satisfying to hear because comfort is one of the design elements we pay close attention to.”
“There are a wide variety of reasons pilots tell us they prefer our product,” he added. “These range from comfort to audio clarity to having the right features that add to the flying experience in a meaningful way.”
Bose’s success in making aviation headsets is borne out by its other specialty headsets made for other markets where noise reduction and clarity are also top priorities. These markets include the National Football League’s noisy playing fields for coaches; the U.S. and other militaries in a variety of tracked and wheeled, armored vehicles; and in the air on Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft, Boeing P-8s and KC-135s, and others. Bose also has strong relationships with the some of largest helicopter original equipment manufacturers in the world, including Bell Helicopter, Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland), Airbus Helicopters and Robinson Helicopter Co.
The bottom line: The A20 aviation headset is the kind of quality equipment every pilot needs in their cockpit, be it inside a Robinson R44, a Bell 406, a Cessna 172 or a Boeing 757.
“Bose has been providing products for mission critical communications for over 25 years and, it seems, our customers really value that,” said Astarjian. “The result is that customers can feel confident that the A20 will do what we claim.
We don’t over-promise and we focus on what really matters to pilots; namely clear communication, comfort, less noise and, ultimately, a durable and reliable product that will enhance the flying experience for years.”