After the last year of COVID and everything else, can you even remember the last decade? Well, let us refresh your memory. The 2010s started off with a bang: Vancouver, Canada, hosted the Winter Olympics, the first iPad was launched in April of 2010, and the gig economy went mainstream with the launch of Uber that May. In July, basketball superstar LeBron James began a decade of team-hopping by leaving Cleveland for Miami. The decade brought us Airbnb for quick getaways, and tunes we couldn’t escape, from Gangnam Style to Baby Shark. (Apologies to any parents having flashbacks.)
We said goodbye to some greats—Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, and Robin Williams—and hello to Brexit, the first legalized cannabis, our first full solar eclipse in 99 years, and our first-ever photos of a black hole. And as the Harry Potter movie saga drew to a close, Baby Yoda took over as the newest pop culture icon.
In aviation, commercial jets went big in the 2010s, with super jets like the Gulfstream G650 and the Bombardier Global 6300. At the same time, general aviation blazed new trails, with the first solar-powered round-the-world flight, the rise of flight automation, the move to ADS-B, and squadrons of drones taking over jobs like power line inspections and aerial photography and causing some headaches for airports and human pilots.
Lightspeed Accelerates Innovation, Perfects Premium
Lightspeed Aviation was also blazing new trails, after taking its place at the top of the ANR headset market, providing the aviation community with the best headsets, not just for the price, but at any price. The original Zulu headset line, launched in 2007, offered unparalleled ergonomics, durability, and audio performance, plus full Bluetooth® integration. But the Lightspeed team wasn’t resting on its laurels. The 2010s would be a decade of accelerating innovation.
In 2010, Lightspeed introduced Sierra headsets, with Bluetooth connectivity, ComPriority™, plush ear seals, and other premium features in an economical package, perfect for pilots advancing to their first ANR headset. The Zulu.2 line, and then Zulu 3 series in 2018, continued to build on the performance and comfort of the original Zulu headsets, while adding new features: stainless steel and magnesium construction, the FlightLink app to turn an iPad® or iPhone® into an in-cockpit voice recorder; the Dual Aperture Disc microphone, for clearer communications; and Front Row Center technology, for crisp, rich audio and music fidelity. With Zulu 3 came the industry’s only cables built around a Kevlar core, giving the headset exceptional durability and longevity to withstand the harshest flying environments, and an industry best 7-year warranty! 2014 brought the launch of the Adventure Flight Bag collection, answering the need of pilots migrating to EFB’s and looking for premium flight bags for their new equipment, and of the Zulu PFX headset, with first of its kind “digital adaptive” ANR and functions controlled through an app. In 2016, Lightspeed Tango also gave pilots new freedom, as the first premium wireless aviation headset on the market.
In 2016, Lightspeed expanded its offering to include purpose-built ANR kits for aviation helmets. Dubbed Zulu H-Mod, the units are designed to be installed in most helmet makes and models. They were followed in 2018 by the LSA 56 helmet ANR product, the brainchild of a joint development project with Gentex Corporation. With these two unique, purpose-built helmet enhancements, we’ve also kept pilot safety in mind, with Lightspeed’s exclusive Quick Disconnect cable for fast, safe egress in emergency situations.
An Exceptional Level of Care
With 25 wonderful years of serving pilots, Lightspeed hasn’t run out of runway. Those who know us know that we’re always thinking of ways we can make the flying experience better, so stay tuned for what the next 25 years hold. As Allan Schrader, Lightspeed founder and CEO, says, finding a better way has always been our quest, and we’re just getting started. “Since the beginning, I think we’ve always run faster and smarter. We’ve led the industry in innovation, time and time and time again. But we’re also just plain nicer. Not that our competition isn’t nice, but we are 100% dedicated to the aviation community. With all the great products that we’ve made, what pleases me most is that our customers experience the things that are important to me in the buying experience—that they experience a level of care that is exceptional. The nice guys can win, and we always want our customers to win most of all.”