July 19, 2004

Love / Hate

For most of the past three years I've flown with a nice pair of LightSPEED Aviation 20XL active noise reduction headsets, with a pair of their el cheapo QFR Solo headsets as backup and for passengers (and for aerobatics because they're light and I can anchor them firmly on my head), and an ancient pair of cheap-but-sturdy Dave Clark DC-somethings for further backup and passenger use (John uses a wildly-expensive set of Bose ANR headsets, but then flying is his job...).

I love the 20XL's -- they're astonishingly comfortable, the active noise reduction is excellent, and they were relatively cheap when I bought them. But -- and this seems to be a common story with LightSPEED owners I know -- they've broken way too easily in normal GA usage. Mine have been back to the factory at least twice for serious repair (the last time was two weeks ago); in both cases, they were repaired (or replaced) quickly, cheerfully, and without question, and for free (even though they're way beyond the warranty period), but still....

In summary: great headsets when they work, but they too often don't work, or break way too easily. And LightSPEED's clearly a company with an excellent approach to customer service -- but a company that needs excellent customer service. I'm hoping the new generation 30G's (etc.) are tougher -- I'd buy 'em in a second if they've solved the mechanical weaknesses.

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