The Lightspeed Sierra gets the award for best value – as stated in our guide to the best aviation headset.. It does a lot right and very little wrong, managing to strike the right balance between price and quality.
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The Sierra’s battery life stands at 40 hours. This is the same as the more expensive Zulu 3 from Lightspeed, and just a notch or two down from the Bose A20 (50 hours), and David Clark ANR headsets (45 hours). The Sierra at 40 hours is a nice step-up from a good budget headset like the Faro G2.
Build quality is generally very good. The Sierra has a few more plastic parts than the Zulu 3, but that model is arguably considered to be right up with the very best in terms of build quality. All you need to know is that the Sierra won’t fall apart, even with frequent use and after having been put through some abuse. It it does, Lightspeed will have you covered.
One of the things that really sets the Sierra apart from its competitors is its comfort. While this is actually quite a heavy headset at 16 ounces, weight is distributed in a way that the Sierra feels lighter and doesn’t pose a problem to comfort.
While there is more clamping pressure than more expensive models, any clamping is still minor and again unlikely to be a problem. The plush ear pads feel soft on the ears too.
Of course, the Sierra isn’t going to be able to match the Bose A20, and to a lesser extent the Zulu 3 or David Clark ANR headsets. However, its performance is good enough and right where you expect it to be for the price.
Nowadays, even budget headsets offer good enough noise reduction and protection, so the Sierra definitely doesn’t disappoint in this regard, offering more protection than inexpensive headsets, and enough to get the job done.
PNR could be better due to the way in which the Sierra was designed to enhance comfort. Reducing clamping pressure to a minimum has the side-effect of affecting how tight of a seal you can get. This is an ANR headset after all, though, so this isn’t much of a concern in any case. Many pilots will choose comfort over the passive noise reduction capabilities of an ANR headset.
The Lightspeed Sierra includes Bluetooth and an audio input, allowing you to make calls, listen to music and eliminate wires. These both work as expected, and the quality and clarity of the audio coming through is just fine. The ComPriority feature enables you to reduce the volume of auxiliary devices automatically during radio or intercom transmissions.
FlightLink only used to be available with Lightspeed’s most expensive offering – the Zulu 3. Thankfully, you no longer have to pay as much as the Zulu 3 to take full advantage of FlightLink. It is a feature that pilots of all levels have come to appreciate, as it allows you to capture and retrieve incoming and outgoing communications – particularly beneficial for student pilots.
While it doesn’t usually make sense for a student pilot to spend as much on a headset like the Zulu 3, the Sierra is just about at the right price point where it makes sense to take advantage of FlightLink.
You are also able to boost voice clarity, fine tune audio response, and draw or erase notes or diagrams on the scratchpad with your finger.
The Sierra is backed by a 5-year warranty. This is less than the 7-year warranty the Zulu 3 is backed by, but the same as the Bose A20 and David Clark ONE-X and PRO-X2. Lightspeed are known to be very good at honouring their warranty and even exceeding expectations for things that you might expect would fall under wear and tear.
As mentioned at the start, the Sierra does very little wrong and almost everything right. You won’t be getting the same ANR performance as a premium headset, and clarity may be a step behind these too, but it’s still easy to recommend the Sierra.
It is the best value aviation headset – and you will find few very few pilots who will state the contrary.
Click Here to Read User Reviews >> Lightspeed Sierra User Reviews