Product Review: BrightLine Pilot Bag

The perfect bag for the gadget-happy flier.

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You know if you’re the type. A place for everything and everything in its place. Clutter frightens you. Disorder flat out makes you nuts. Well, here is a product right in your wheelhouse: The BrightLine Bags pilot bag.

To say the BrightLine carries a lot of stuff is to under-appreciate its clever design. Yes, there is a vast amount space within its 13 x 10 x 9-inch confines; in fact, anything smaller than 9.5 x 12.5 will fit in one of the larger pockets, according to the company. Read that overall dimension again: This is not a steamer trunk, nor is it the classical super-large briefcase that passes itself off as a chart case for pilots in polyester pants and epaulets. The roughly vertical form stands nicely in the copilots seat when you need to gain access, but it also slides smoothly in places a traditional case does not. (As my example, between the front row and the rear-facing third seat in my Sportsman.)

Great, so its a nice size. But what else? Try organization that would make Martha Stewart and the guy from the Container Store blush. All told, there are 25 pockets. The single largest fits two headsets easily-I successfully tested this claim with a pair of Sennheiser HMEC-350s-and can be filled with snack foods for the flight. (Leave no container empty.) On the opposite side of a full-circumference zipper that allows the two major sections to separate is a large document tray 3 inches deep. Itll hold Jeppesen IFR approach books easily, as long as you’re not bringing the entire U.S. coverage aboard. This document pouch can be opened partway, with the cover supported by two straps, so that you can gain access to it in flight without the whole front flopping open.

Turn the bag to face the front and notice all of the small pockets. Flashlight, utility knife, flight computer, cell phone, car keys, wallet, fuel tester-all of these things have pockets made just for them. With the flurry of zippers on this face, it would be easy to lose track, except that each zipper has a color-coded pull tab, and most pockets have two-way zippers. Along the sides of the case is storage for a handheld com radio, extra batteries and pens or pencils. The top sunglasses pouch has a soft inner liner to keep your expensive RayBans from getting scratched. A removable handle is thickly padded-good thing because when the BrightLine bag is fully loaded with your stuff, its fairly heavy.

A $129 flight bag ought to be clever and tough-and the BrightLine is. Ive given it months of casual disregard for its condition, and the worst you could say is that its a tad dusty. Fussbudgets, line up to the left (neatly, please) for your BrightLine.

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For more information, call 415/721-7825 or visit www.brightlinebags.com.

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