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Adapters: GA to Heli or Heli to GA

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Adapters: GA to Heli or Heli to GA

Old 25th Jul 2020, 03:52
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Question Adapters: GA to Heli or Heli to GA

Greetings fellow aviators. Seeking your wisdom and I fly fixed wing so please be gentle.

I am looking to purchase a second headset as a backup, I'm also an SAR volunteer and I get to ride Helos, so I'm considering a rotary rating in the future. I'm wondering if my second headset should be the helo plug version with a Helo to GA adapter or if I should stick with a second GA headset and a GA to Helo adapter.

Are there any advantages/disadvantages to these adapters or is it all the same?

Your feedback is appreciated.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 04:46
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I don't think it makes any difference adapting from either one. I like single-plug, but have an adapter in case I come across one of those 20th century luddite airplanes that were built for hand mikes and a cabin speaker. See more and more airplane owners converting to single-plug, especially in homebuilt/experimental category. Even the Russians had single plug on their GA last century.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 04:51
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Originally Posted by Smurfjet View Post
Greetings fellow aviators. Seeking your wisdom and I fly fixed wing so please be gentle.

I am looking to purchase a second headset as a backup, I'm also an SAR volunteer and I get to ride Helos, so I'm considering a rotary rating in the future. I'm wondering if my second headset should be the helo plug version with a Helo to GA adapter or if I should stick with a second GA headset and a GA to Helo adapter.

Are there any advantages/disadvantages to these adapters or is it all the same?

Your feedback is appreciated.
"GA, Heli, Helo",...my brain is spinning!

Anyway, I used an airplane headset with an adapter flying a helicopter for quite a while before I finally bought my own helicopter headset. Never had any issues solo, but sometimes flying dual the airplane headset with helicopter adapter would create volume wars with my cfi and his helicopter headset.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 05:02
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Hello there.

Both ways you mentioned (Helo > GA or GA > Helo) are the same, no difference on that.
However I need to pointout that if you have (for any reason) to use the U-174/U plug then your headset will play mono, no stereo, due to the U-174/U design.
A good option is to get a stereo headset with Lemo plug, and two adapters: Lemo > GA and Lemo > Helo. In this way if you have an a/c with Lemo panel installed you might plug the Lemo directly to the panel and have the headset powered from a/c (and stereo).
Another option is to have two separated headsets.



Originally Posted by Smurfjet View Post
Greetings fellow aviators. Seeking your wisdom and I fly fixed wing so please be gentle.

I am looking to purchase a second headset as a backup, I'm also an SAR volunteer and I get to ride Helos, so I'm considering a rotary rating in the future. I'm wondering if my second headset should be the helo plug version with a Helo to GA adapter or if I should stick with a second GA headset and a GA to Helo adapter.

Are there any advantages/disadvantages to these adapters or is it all the same?

Your feedback is appreciated.

Last edited by m32k; 25th Jul 2020 at 05:40.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 05:32
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Get a single plug (helo) - then get the adapter to two pin (GA fixed wing).

if you do it the other way then you end up with a much bigger adapter.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 05:45
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I had my fixed wing cord on a David Clark swapped out for the nato heli curly cord and plug. Then added a female nato plug onto the end of the old fixed wing cord to turn it into an adapter.
Seems to do the job ok for a fairly modest investment.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 08:09
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Make sure to check the impedance of the aircraft as they vary across Helicopters. I have a headset where the microphone is easily changed from low to high impedance.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 13:25
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A proper helo headset will suit helos better (!) as the noise attenuation is much greater.
Adaptors are all well and good but treble or quadruple the number of failure points so my advice is avoid if at all possible.
Best solution is surely one headset for helos, another for f/w.
I'm told impedance differences can cause a problem but I've never suffered it (I used adaptors for helo headset in f/w for years). What I did encounter though was different earth protocols which may render a headset/adaptor combination unusable altogether.
Peltor are probably still the best for lightness, toughness, noise attenuation and comfort. DCs are ghastly things imo.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 17:23
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Originally Posted by m32k View Post
A good option is to get a stereo headset with Lemo plug, and two adapters: Lemo > GA and Lemo > Helo. In this way if you have an a/c with Lemo panel installed you might plug the Lemo directly to the panel and have the headset powered from a/c (and stereo).

This is by far the best answer. Especially if you have invested in an expensive ANR headset and wish to use it in every type of aircraft possible. This is the exact approach I use with my DC ONE X headset.

A couple of caveats (and it is assumed you have a civilian headset with a high impedance microphone):

1. If this is for an ANR headset it must be one that can run off of battery power because two out of three configurations require it.
2. If you want to fly your civilian headset in a military aircraft you will need a high-to-low microphone impedance adapter. AFAIK, the ONLY choice for this is the Pilot Communications USA PA-87H. I used one a few months ago to fly the DC ONE X on a UH-60 and it worked quite well. Other than the pilots who were wearing CEPs, I had the best, quietest and most comfortable headset on the helicopter Be sure to buy directly from the manufacturer because they recently updated the design and you want to make sure you get the latest revision.

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Old 26th Jul 2020, 08:48
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Thank you everyone, appreciate your feedback.
I did not realize the world of aviation headset plugs was the equivalent of asking electrical engineers to physically model bureaucracy (kidding I'm sure valid reasons exist)

I did some research today and I'm tempted to get a LEMO Zulu 3 to future proof (CEP is tempting but would be restrictive for my missions). However I'm uncertain if it needs a powered adapter? I suspect it does. In addition the reviews I've seen on powered 9V adapters seem to indicate short battery life, not sure how valid these are.
Do different brands require specific LEMO to GA/Heli adapters?

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Old 26th Jul 2020, 10:56
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Originally Posted by Smurfjet View Post
I did some research today and I'm tempted to get a LEMO Zulu 3 to future proof... However I'm uncertain if it needs a powered adapter? I suspect it does.
Hence my "Caveat #1" above: the Lightspeed is NOT a good choice for this approach. The Lemo version does not have the capability to automatically switch to batteries if panel power is not available. For this reason you want the Bose A20 or the David Clark DC ONE X (the latter is my choice--built like a brick shithouse, legendary DC service, if the ANR fails it doesn't get stupid noisy so not a mission fail).

Do different brands require specific LEMO to GA/Heli adapters?
Negative. The Lemo (aka Bose) connector configuration has become an industry standard.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 11:46
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Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
Negative. The Lemo (aka Bose) connector configuration has become an industry standard.
Really?
Pretty much any single I've been in has U174 plugs and GA plugs for the stuck wings.
Lemo is also the manufacturer, not the name of the actual connector.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 14:59
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I have a David Clark H10-60. The entire lead is interchangable for helis and F/W. I've used it on both with no issues whatsoever. Now no longer of any use so for 10,000 bucks you could prise it off my hands?
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 16:31
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Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
Really?
Pretty much any single I've been in has U174 plugs and GA plugs for the stuck wings.
<Sigh> Sorry my language was not precise enough for you. Let me try again: where Lemo female receptacle style connectors are installed, typically alongside the more ubiquitous U174 (helicopter) female receptacle (I'm ignoring the GA case, but "GA" plugs and receptacles have their own proper part numbers, too), the pinning (or pin-outs, or wiring, whichever expression your prefer) of those connectors is now a de facto standard.




Lemo is also the manufacturer, not the name of the actual connector.
If you mean "not the part number" (just being precise ), yes that's quite correct, sort of. The connectors are actually made by a Lemo affiliate by the name of Redel. The connectors in question come out of this catalog. However, as you can see from that catalog, the part numbers for these connectors are quite complex. Thus it has been standard practice in the US aviation community to merely refer to these connectors as "Lemo", "Redel", or "Bose" connectors, as there are simply too many variants. The only folks who really care about the specific part numbers are stocking distributors, retailers or cable assembly houses who have to order directly from the OEM. Everyone else just buys, for example, a "Lemo female bulkhead connector" and they have to take whatever the distributor or retailer specifies with Redel, and the reseller in question will have made certain that the part is indeed one associated with the de facto aviation standard that has sprung up around this connector.

The part number variations are due to the many mechanical differences outside of the connector mating interface. One example of a fully specified part number would be here. However there are many other potential part number variations for an electrically equivalent male cable end plug that will mate with a receptacle from the same series.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 19:03
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Agree with the below; I do not have Lightspeed ANR LEMO experience (my ex Lightspeed ANR wasn't with Lemo plug) but I can confirm the Bose A20 Lemo I have are smart enough to cut off the two internal batteries when I plug the Lemo to the a/c power, and vice-versa.

From my personal experience I do not suggest you to get any high>low or low>high adapter: I had bad experience with headsets incompatibility and background whistles and noise due to the mixed configurations: one pilot with ANR and another not, or one with ANR and adapter and the other with a plain ANR headset...

In addition please cross check the a/c manufacture RFM/POH/FM or publications: in modern a/c most probably you've a list of approved headsets.


Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
Hence my "Caveat #1" above: the Lightspeed is NOT a good choice for this approach. The Lemo version does not have the capability to automatically switch to batteries if panel power is not available. For this reason you want the Bose A20 or the David Clark DC ONE X (the latter is my choice--built like a brick shithouse, legendary DC service, if the ANR fails it doesn't get stupid noisy so not a mission fail).

Negative. The Lemo (aka Bose) connector configuration has become an industry standard.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 21:37
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Originally Posted by m32k View Post
In addition please cross check the a/c manufacture RFM/POH/FM or publications: in modern a/c most probably you've a list of approved headsets.
Never seen the POH address any such thing in the civilian world. Some operators (airlines) may levy requirements (e.g. TSO'd headset, etc.), but I've never seen it in a POH, and it's not something that would properly be in a POH.
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 06:10
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Talking

AW139 Section 1 page 1-36 RFM



Just an example but I'm quite sure many other a/c has this. :P

Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
Never seen the POH address any such thing in the civilian world. Some operators (airlines) may levy requirements (e.g. TSO'd headset, etc.), but I've never seen it in a POH, and it's not something that would properly be in a POH.
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 16:31
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@m32k wow, that's crazy! If that's the case then:

a) Do they publish a list of authorized equipment?
b) Where can you download/obtain that list?
c) Do they regularly update that list as new equipment comes out?

I suspect the answers are "no", "nowhere", and "no".

Most importantly:

d) Does anyone actually pay attention to this POH directive?

I can't believe my eyes that this is in that POH. I doubt you'd see anything like this in a Bell, Enstrom, MD, or Sikorsky POH. I'm truly interested to know if that is the case or not. It's definitely not in any Robinson POH.
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