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Bose QC2 w/ Ufly Mic - earbuds now required by FAA

Weasil

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Skywest Chief Pilot said:

Bose QC2/UflyMike Combination-TSO Status Alert​
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Our CMO has stated that the Bose QC2 headset/UFlyMike combination is not TSO’d for aviation use. This is due to the fact that the headset portion will fail completely when the battery fails. There is NO passive voice capability. While the Uflymike boom mike is in fact TSOd, but the Bose QC2 is not.​
In order for this combination to meet TSO requirements, the Bose QC2 Headset/UFlyMike combination must be used in conjunction with the TSO’d earbuds. Any noise attenuating headset must have manual reversion capability if the battery fails. Supplementing the Bose QC2 with the earbuds meets this requirement per the ACO and MIDO.


Looks like you have to now buy earbuds from Uflymic if you want to keep using this headset. Does anyone know if you can use the earbuds and the mic without the Qc2 headset or do you have to basically have two headsets on now to use this thing?
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belchfire

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Why don't you cheap fracks just buy some real honest to God aviation headsets in the first place?

Geeze...
 

BigLebowski

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I don't use this headset but have a general question...

Can you just plug in your earbuds for something like your ipod and wear those under the headset or do you have to buy the buds from UFM?

Just ranting now...this is rediculous. The majority of headsets that pilots wear are not TSO approved. Just a few examples are BoseX, Clarity Aloft...I was amazed at how few headsets actually meet TSO approval.
 

Headwind

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Why don't you cheap fracks just buy some real honest to God aviation headsets in the first place?

Geeze...
For me it has nothing to do with being cheap, I like them. Don't want to use anything else. They work great in the CJ-1 and I don't like Bose 10's. I also have Telex 750's and David Clark's.
 

CheeseDick

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I don't use this headset but have a general question...

Can you just plug in your earbuds for something like your ipod and wear those under the headset or do you have to buy the buds from UFM?

Just ranting now...this is rediculous. The majority of headsets that pilots wear are not TSO approved. Just a few examples are BoseX, Clarity Aloft...I was amazed at how few headsets actually meet TSO approval.

bose x aviation headset is TSO'd C-57a & C-58a.

You'd only have spent $200 or so more on the bose x after you count the quiet comfort 2, the uflymike and the earbuds...Not to mention the qc2 eats batteries, so that'll eat up the money saved. And the bose warranty on their aviation headset is 5 years.

i think southwest won't let you use the qc2 due to the non TSO'd nature of the qc2 headset.
 

mynameisjim

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You'd only have spent $200 or so more on the bose x after you count the quiet comfort 2, the uflymike and the earbuds...Not to mention the qc2 eats batteries, so that'll eat up the money saved. And the bose warranty on their aviation headset is 5 years.

My QC2's were $300 and the uflymike was $200. The Bose X is listed at $995.
 

SSDD

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So has any other POI had anything to say about this,or is it just Skywest's?
 

BigLebowski

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k...so can you just plug your regular earbuds (ipod ones) into the qc2 for the backup...or do you have to buy the ones sold by uflymike?
 

PBRstreetgang

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k...so can you just plug your regular earbuds (ipod ones) into the qc2 for the backup...or do you have to buy the ones sold by uflymike?
Mikes! Yikes
 

CFI2766

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k...so can you just plug your regular earbuds (ipod ones) into the qc2 for the backup...or do you have to buy the ones sold by uflymike?

I'm too lazy to post the actual TSO, but yes, I believe that you can use any earbuds that will fit into the outlet on the Uflymike, as long as they are powered by the aircraft system, and not by their own power source.

I bought the buds from uflymike and they appear to be nothing more than simple, in-ear speakers. They are certainly not TSO'd by themselves. The earbuds are the cheapest part of the setup; just buy the ones from Uflymike to make sure of fit and compatibility. Though I did buy the buds, I've used them exactly once to make sure that they would work should a Fed decide to inhabit my jumpseat. In a pinch, I would simply turn the speaker on to hear the radios if my headset went out.

In this setup, the QC2 is simply a headband to hold the mike and earbuds: thus, no TSO is required for the QC2.

I've used both the Bose Aviation X and the Uflymike setup, and I love the uflymike setup. It's much lighter and more comfortable than the X. The light blinks on the headset when the battery is within a few hours (5?) of going out, so there is not much of a chance of the headset failing on you when you don't expect it to. I picked up a QC2 from Ebay for $150; there is no reason to buy new QC2s.

And just in case someone decides to question me on this, I printed out the TSO and keep it in my flight kit. Right next to my aircraft decorating collection and supplies.
 

asapilot

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Some clarification

Guys, let me give you a little clarification on this...

First, the CRJ was not certified with headsets, so you can use any headset you want while flying it, even those sweet Radio Shack units you guys have at SkyWest.

Second, you are not in violation if you use the QC2s. The violation occurs if you lose continuous communication with ATC. This is possible with the QC2 because if the battery dies, you lose all audio. However, if they're functioning properly, no violation has occurred. This is true of any headset that functions this way, not just the QC2.

So, what are your options?

1) Buy the earbuds so you have backup in the event of battery failure.

2) Get a different headset.

3) Turn the speaker on. You don't have to crank it, just have it on enough so you'd hear if something wasn't coming through your headset.
 

DoinTime

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Guys, let me give you a little clarification on this...

First, the CRJ was not certified with headsets, so you can use any headset you want while flying it, even those sweet Radio Shack units you guys have at SkyWest.

Second, you are not in violation if you use the QC2s. The violation occurs if you lose continuous communication with ATC. This is possible with the QC2 because if the battery dies, you lose all audio. However, if they're functioning properly, no violation has occurred. This is true of any headset that functions this way, not just the QC2.

So, what are your options?

1) Buy the earbuds so you have backup in the event of battery failure.

2) Get a different headset.

3) Turn the speaker on. You don't have to crank it, just have it on enough so you'd hear if something wasn't coming through your headset.

Its not an issue of aircraft certification. Its an issue of the individual carriers ops specs. If the carriers ops spec requires a TSO'd headset then that is whats required. There is no second guessing that in front of a fed. The assertion of there only being a violation if the non-TSO'd headset fails is completely false too.


Though I did buy the buds, I've used them exactly once to make sure that they would work should a Fed decide to inhabit my jumpseat.

Thats a great compliance culture you have there. Do you only comply with other requirements when someone is looking over your shoulder?
 

asapilot

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Its not an issue of aircraft certification. Its an issue of the individual carriers ops specs. If the carriers ops spec requires a TSO'd headset then that is whats required. There is no second guessing that in front of a fed. The assertion of there only being a violation if the non-TSO'd headset fails is completely false too.

What you say is correct, but is not exactly the whole issue here.

First, there is no specific regulation that requires TSO'd equipment be used. Obviously, OpSpecs are regulatory and must be complied with. Were there a requirement in the OpSpec for the use of TSO'd headsets, not using them would be a violation.

Aircraft can be certified with specific headsets. Were those headsets TSO'd, then a TSO'd headset would be required for that aircraft's operation.

The CRJ was not certified with a headset. Additionaly, SkyWest's OpSpecs do not require TSO'd headsets. The last place that could make it regulatory is the carrier's approved Operations Manual. Currently, SkyWest's FOM does not require TSO'd headsets to be used.

The regulatory issue then becomes completely seperate from the TSO issue. The issue is can you maintain two-way communications in the event of battery failure. Technically, you'd only be out of compliance during the time from the battery failure until you push the speaker button, but someone could get picky about that.
 

Weasil

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Friday, February 1, 2008
http://www.aviationtoday.com/av/categories/military/18859.html
Opinion Allows Flexibility In Pilot Headsets

Airline pilots have embraced a wide variety of active noise reduction (ANR) products to improve communications and protect their hearing in relatively high-noise cockpits such as the ubiquitous Boeing 737. A popular ANR application combines the Bose QuietComfort 2 (QC2) headphones with the UFlyMike boom microphone adapter (UFM) designed by retired Southwest captain Mike Lackey.
The UFlyMike adapter plugs into the existing headphones jack without modifications, says UFlyMike, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. The adapter had passed testing requirements of Technical Standard Order (TSO)-C139 and was awaiting FAA certification.
Several thousand airline pilots have found this combination offers optimum noise reduction while providing exceptional clarity in the 83 to 88 dBA ambient noise environment found in the 737 and several other aircraft.
In early 2007, FAA inspectors within the certificate management offices of two major airlines objected to pilot use of the QC2/UFMs, ostensibly claiming that airline pilots could use only headsets authorized by FAA TSO. Eight months after receiving a request for clarification, the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel responded that federal regulations do not prohibit airline pilots from using non-TSO’d products to supplement already-installed communication equipment that meets minimum requirements.
According to a letter dated Oct. 12, 2007, and signed by Rebecca B. MacPherson, FAA assistant counsel for regulations: "There is no specific requirement that aircraft operating under 14 CFR, part 121 be equipped with headsets or that flight crewmembers use headsets produced under a TSOA (TSO authorization).... Use of a non-approved headset to supplement the operation of an aircraft equipped in accordance (with) those regulations would not... be considered a regulatory violation."
Airline pilots do not have to use headsets at all, but they do have to use boom microphones below 18,000 feet. One major airline’s minimum equipment list (MEL) allows pilots to substitute their own personal equipment for installed equipment, and Boeing’s 737 operating manual allows the use of "any standard microphone." In this context, "standard" is permissive; it means "commonly used or supplied."
Some FAA inspectors object to use of the QC2s because the headphones require some minimum voltage from one AAA battery to keep the earcup circuit closed. They argue that if the battery dies, the earcups also die and the pilot cannot maintain communication. FAA "is particularly concerned," MacPherson said, "that Active Noise Reduction headsets and headset adapters used by flight crewmembers that rely on battery power are subject to failure when internal or externally connected batteries discharge under normal use. These headsets therefore may not be capable of providing the continuous, uninterrupted communications capability necessary for safe operation of the aircraft."
Pilots who use the QC2/UFM setup counter that QC2s provide plenty of warning beforehand, while substantially reducing communication-related risks.
First, a steady red LED in the right earcup starts flashing when a minimum battery life of five hours remains. Second, if the pilot ignores the flashing LED, he cannot miss obvious aural changes when the ANR circuitry starts cutting out as battery voltage approaches zero. Third, battery condition has no effect on the boom microphone. Finally, should the earcup circuit open, the pilot maintains communication by turning up the cockpit speaker and pulling back one earcup just as he would with any other headset-earpiece failure.
Using the risk assessment guidelines contained in FAA Advisory Circular 120-92 to assess the QC2/UFM setup reveals that the likelihood of failure is very low and the severity of consequences borders between negligible and minor, which places their use well within an acceptable risk range. Compared with the missed or misunderstood communications that occur on every flight, pilots find the QC2/UFM benefits far outweigh the risks. — Mitch Whatley
Mitchell R. Whatley is an attorney in Southlake, Texas, and a 737-800 captain with a major U.S. airline.
(Contacted by Avionics, Bose Corp. said it does not endorse the use of the QC2s by pilots, or their compatibility with another manufacturer’s product. The company issued this statement:
"The Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones are designed for noise reduction while listening to entertainment channels in air transport aircraft, such as audio or movie sound channels, and should not be used as a headset for communicating with air traffic control. They are not engineered to meet the needs of pilots and do not meet civil aviation authority standards for communication headsets. Given this, we can not endorse the inclusion of the Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones in your story on aviation headsets in this context or in regards to its compatibility with another manufacturer’s product, like UFlyMike.
The UFlyMike product enables an external source to provide music playback into the QC2 headphones without priority muting or control of received aircraft radio, air-traffic control directions or cockpit intercom communications. This design may allow music to mask critical cockpit communications.
Bose also does not recommend this type of usage with the QC2 headphones because no incoming audio will be heard with a discharged or improperly installed battery. This shortcoming could result in the potential of missed air-traffic control communications while piloting an aircraft. For pilot use, we recommend the Bose Aviation Headset X. The product is TSO-approved and features a microphone with the appropriate power and intelligibility for transmission and reception of flight information. It is engineered to withstand the altitude and temperature conditions common in non-commercial aircraft.")
 

Salukipilot4590

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I don't know about you guys but when I was originally in the market for a new headset I narrowed the options down to the Zulu, QC2-UFM, X, and DC X11. Having tested out the X11 and found that it was ultimate sht I decided to go with the X since I'd flown with it for a while back at SIU.

Can't beat a B-X! (Unless you get word that you're getting furloughed and don't have the money for one anymore. Then, yeah you can beat an X...with nothing.)
 

CA1900

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Why don't you cheap fracks just buy some real honest to God aviation headsets in the first place?

Because it's the most comfortable headset I've ever worn. More comfortable than the Bose X by far, for me.

You'd only have spent $200 or so more on the bose x...

If by $200, you mean $500, then you're absolutely right. :rolleyes:

Not to mention the qc2 eats batteries...

For my use, it "eats" a single AAA battery a month. I think I can fit it into the budget.
 

Weasil

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k...so can you just plug your regular earbuds (ipod ones) into the qc2 for the backup...or do you have to buy the ones sold by uflymike?


Here's what the FAA says
In order for this combination to meet TSO requirements, the Bose QC2 Headset/UFlyMike combination must be used in conjunction with the TSO’d earbuds


This was verified by a phone call to Mike (at UFM).

I am thinking about just switching to the bose x, but that thing looks big a heavy like the david clarks...
 

asapilot

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Here's what the FAA says

In order for this combination to meet TSO requirements, the Bose QC2 Headset/UFlyMike combination must be used in conjunction with the TSO’d earbuds

Yes, that is what the FAA says about them meeting TSO requirements, but not about them meeting FAR requirements. Remember, TSO is a manufacturing standard.

This doesn't mean you can't use them, you just need to know what your company and the aircraft it operates require.
 
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