Depending on the headset you are purchasing, you may have the option of different plugs. Some manufacturers may offer only a fixed wing version or a helicopter version, where others have a wider selection. Your aircraft will typically only accept one type of plug, so it is important to make sure you order the correct one.
Below are the most common types of plug you will find:
GA (General Aviation) plugs are the most common plugs found on fixed-wing aircraft. The two plugs are slightly different sizes. Specifically, one plug is called PJ-055 (.25 inch / 6.35mm) for the earphones, and the other PJ-068 (.206 inch / 5.25mm) for the microphone.
U174 (NATO) Plug
The U174 (or Heli, or NATO) plug is used on Helicopters. It is a single plug for both the earphones and microphone, and is a bit shorter and fatter than the GA plugs. Helicopter headsets will also typically have a coiled cord, rather than a straight cord like GA headsets.
LEMO (6-pin Panel Powered) Plug
These plugs appear as a single plug with 6 pins. You will see them called LEMO, panel-powered, or sometimes Bose plugs. You might see these type of connectors installed on newer aircraft - both fixed wing and helicopters.
XLR (5-pin Airbus) Plug
These plugs are similar to the LEMO plugs above, except they have 5 pins instead of 6. They are typically found in commercial aircraft, and also draw power directly from the aircraft panel.
A Note on Bluetooth and ANR
If your headset has Bluetooth or Active Noise Reduction (ANR) functionality, extra power will be required to use these functions.
For headsets with GA or U174 plugs, power will be provided by batteries.
For LEMO and XLR headsets, the extra power is provided directly from the aircraft to remove the need for extra batteries.
We provide a range of adapter cables for converting one type of headset plug to another. You ca find them here: https://pilotshop.co.nz/collections/headset-adapters-and-interfaces