Review : The Best E6B Flight Computers for Pilots

Flying is not just about skill and instinct; it’s also about having the right tools for the job. When you’re thousands of feet up in the air, every piece of equipment in your cockpit counts. In particular, flight computers serve as the trusted co-pilots for every aviator.

What's Flight Computers

In the ever-evolving world of aviation technology, the flight computer continues to be a staple in the cockpit. But what exactly is a flight computer?

A flight computer, at its core, is an avionic tool used to calculate critical flight parameters and assist in the pilot’s decision-making process. It helps pilots compute airspeed, altitude, time, distance, wind correction, and more, often taking into account factors such as air density and temperature.

There are different types of flight computers, each offering unique features and functionalities. Traditional mechanical E6B flight computers have been the trusted companion of pilots for decades. They are circular slide rule devices, manually operated and need no power source. However, electronic flight computers, with their digital displays and diverse computing abilities, have started to gain significant traction in recent years due to their ease of use and versatility.

The Mechanics of the E6B Flight Computer

The E6B flight computer consists of two parts: a circular slide rule side and a wind side. The slide rule side is a mathematical whiz, able to handle multiplications, divisions, ratios, and conversions. Meanwhile, the wind side tackles the challenges of wind correction angle and groundspeed calculation, providing invaluable insights for pilots navigating the ever-changing atmosphere.

Mechanics vs Electronic E6B Flight Computers

While mechanics E6B flight computers carry a nostalgic charm and tactile learning experience, electronic versions bring convenience, speed, and accuracy. Digital E6Bs, often in the form of apps or handheld devices, can execute multiple functions with a few clicks. They also often incorporate extra features such as flight timers, countdown timers, and alarms.

Things you can calculate with an E6B

An E6B flight computer is a versatile tool that can perform an impressive range of calculations necessary for flight planning and in-flight navigation. Here are some of the things you can calculate with an E6B:

  1. True Airspeed (TAS): By adjusting for altitude and outside air temperature, you can use the E6B to determine your aircraft’s true airspeed. This is crucial for accurate flight planning.

  2. Ground Speed (GS): After factoring in wind speed and direction, an E6B can help calculate your actual speed over the ground.

  3. Wind Correction Angle (WCA): To maintain your intended course, you’ll need to adjust your heading to account for wind drift. The E6B can help calculate this wind correction angle.

  4. Time-Speed-Distance Calculations: Need to figure out how long a flight will take based on your speed and distance? Or perhaps you need to determine how far you can travel at a given speed for a specific amount of time? The E6B has you covered.

  5. Fuel Consumption: By taking into account your aircraft’s fuel burn rate and the duration of your flight, the E6B can calculate how much fuel you’ll need.

  6. Rate of Descent: If you need to descend to a certain altitude in a specific amount of time or over a specific distance, the E6B can help you calculate the rate of descent required.

  7. Density Altitude: By considering temperature and pressure, the E6B can calculate the density altitude, which affects your aircraft’s performance.

  8. Conversion Calculations: The E6B can quickly convert units, such as nautical miles to statute miles, feet to meters, pounds to kilograms, gallons to liters, and Fahrenheit to Celsius.

Remember, understanding how to use the E6B to make these calculations is a fundamental skill for any pilot. It’s not just about crunching numbers – it’s about understanding what those numbers mean for the safety and efficiency of your flight.

Top E6B Flight Computers

Several E6B flight computers stand out for their innovative features and reliable performance. Here are our top picks.

ASA CX-3 Pathfinder Electronic E6-B

The ASA CX-3 is an advanced, electronic version of the E6B flight computer. It’s equipped with a clear and crisp LCD, an intuitive user interface, and fast processing power to calculate functions almost instantaneously. It’s capable of performing multiple aviation and navigation computations, including fuel calculations, time-speed-distance, wind correction, and more. Its convenient, compact design makes it a favorite for pilots looking for quick, accurate calculations.

Review ASA CX-3 Pathfinder Electronic E6-B Flight Computer

ASA - Color E6-B Flight Computer

The ASA Color E6-B is an innovative twist on the classic flight computer. The unit is made from durable aluminum and features color-coded conversions and calculations to enhance readability and simplify use. The front side provides standard flight computer functions, while the back includes wind and fuel calculations and conversion tables. The wind side has a unique color-coded wind triangle that makes understanding crosswind components a breeze.

Top E6B Flight Computers: ASA - Color E6-B Flight Computer

Asa - E6-B Flight Computer

This classic flight computer boasts a sturdy metal construction and offers comprehensive flight planning functions, including conversions and wind corrections. It’s an excellent all-round choice for both student and professional pilots.

ASA - Color E6-B Flight Computer

Jeppesen - Student CSG Computer E6B

The Jeppesen Student CSG Computer is an exceptional tool for flight training. It includes all necessary functions for flight planning and in-flight aviation computations. This computer has an easy-to-use wheel and slide, making calculations quick and efficient. Its durable plastic design ensures it can withstand the rigors of frequent use, and the included instruction manual makes learning a cinch.

Top flight computer Jeppesen - Student CSG Computer E6B

ASA - Micro E6-B Flight Computer

The Micro E6-B offers all the functionality of a full-size flight computer in a compact package. It provides standard E6-B functions, including time, speed, distance, altitude, fuel calculations, and more. The miniature design is perfect for use in cramped cockpits, and the sturdy aluminum construction ensures it will endure the rough-and-tumble of frequent flights.

ASA - Micro E6-B Flight Computer

Gleim - E6B Flight Computer GLM-200

The Gleim GLM-200 is a reliable, robust E6B flight computer that offers comprehensive functionality. It’s perfect for student pilots due to its simplicity and affordability. This model features a sturdy metallic construction and provides a full range of flight planning functions. In addition, it comes with an instruction manual, making it easy for beginners to grasp the intricacies of flight planning calculations.

Gleim - E6B Flight Computer GLM-200


APR’s E6-B4WHL is an excellent, durable option. It’s made from solid aluminum, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of flight school and beyond. This model stands out with its accuracy and easy-to-read scales.


Jeppesen - Metal CSG Computer E6B

Jeppesen’s Metal CSG E6B is built for durability and precision. Made from high-quality aluminum, it provides the complete range of E6B computations and guarantees accurate results. Its high contrast lettering and robust design make it a great choice for pilots who prefer a more tactile experience.

Jeppesen - Metal CSG Computer E6B

Factors to consider when choosing an E6B Flight Computer

  1. Mechanical vs. Electronic:
      • The first decision to make is whether you prefer an analog or digital model. Mechanical models like the ASA E6-B and Jeppesen Metal CSG offer a tactile, hands-on experience and can be helpful in understanding the principles behind calculations. Electronicl models like the ASA CX-3 are more convenient and quicker at performing calculations, with added features like timers and alarms.
  2. Durability:
      • A flight computer needs to stand up to the rigors of frequent use. Models made from metal or durable plastic are likely to last longer. Check out the ASA E6-B and Gleim GLM-200 for good examples of durable designs.
  3. Readability:
      • The computations and scales on the flight computer should be clear and easy to read. High contrast, larger print, and color-coding, like the ASA Color E6-B, can make this easier.
  4. Functionality:
      • While all E6B flight computers perform the same basic calculations, some offer extra features. Digital models typically offer more advanced functions and can store previous calculations for reference. Check out the ASA CX-3 for a feature-packed option.
  5. Size and Portability:
      • If you’re frequently on the move, a compact model like the ASA Micro E6-B may be more convenient. However, if you’re using it primarily for studying or in the cockpit, a larger model might be easier to handle.
  6. Price:
      • Flight computers come in a wide range of prices, from inexpensive paper models to pricier digital versions. Consider your budget and how often you’ll use the flight computer. Investing in a higher-priced model may be worth it for the added durability and features.

How to get the most out of your E6B Flight Computer ?

  1. Understand the Basics:
      • The E6B can perform a vast array of calculations, but at its core, it’s a slide rule calculator and a wind triangle solver. Start by understanding these fundamental operations. Practicing basic calculations regularly can help you get comfortable with the device.
  2. Read the Manual:
      • Every E6B comes with a manual. This booklet is a treasure trove of information that provides step-by-step instructions for using each function on the flight computer. Reading and understanding it is crucial to fully utilizing your E6B.
  3. Practice Regularly:
      • The key to mastering the E6B is practice. Use it while planning every flight to become proficient. Try performing calculations manually first, then use your E6B to check your work.
  4. Use in Flight Simulations:
      • Flight simulators aren’t just for practicing maneuvers. They are also a great environment to practice using your E6B. Plan your flights, perform calculations, and then check your work during the simulation.
  5. Join an Aviation Club or Forum:
      • Connecting with other pilots or students can be an excellent way to learn tips and tricks for using the E6B. There’s a wealth of collective knowledge out there, and many communities are more than willing to help newcomers.
  6. Utilize All Its Functions:
      • Don’t just limit yourself to the most commonly used functions. The E6B can perform a variety of computations, including fuel burn, speed, distance, time, wind correction, and more. The more you understand all it can do, the more useful it will be.
  7. Keep it Handy:
      • Have your E6B within reach during all flight operations. The more you use it, the more natural it will feel.

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