Pilots are a special breed. They get to do something none of the rest of us do. They get to feel the sensation of flight on a regular basis. Being a pilot is different than being a passenger. From take-off to landing, they’re the boss. This list of gift for pilots includes things they’ll need in the cockpit, and some fun stuff to make them laugh.
We can’t be sure, but we suspect that many pilots got into flying so they could have an excuse to wear a cooler than cool leather jacket like this one. The fur collar and oversize front pockets are iconic and unmistakable. It comes with a USN stamp place boldly on the front wind flap.
They don’t do it all with computers, especially when they’re recreational pilots out for a pleasure flight on the weekend, or a bush pilots guiding private pilots out in the wilderness. This pen is designed to check and make marks on charts when light is scarce—like at night in the cockpit.
Pilots love to kick back when all the work is done and enjoy a cool beverage. These flight deck coasters let them bring the cockpit to happy hour. Each one is printed with a different display from the instrument panel: airspeed, altitude, heading, and artificial horizon.
It’s rare that pilots leave the controls during a flight, which means they have to do all of their calculations right there in the pilot’s seat. This kneeboard is designed for that specific purpose. It’s got a fold over cover, a strap the keep it in place on the legs, and loops for a pen and touch screen stylus.
When they’re not in the air, they’re thinking about flying. This paperweight give any chance to slip off into flights of fancy on those unfortunate days when they’re stuck on the ground working at a desk. This classic single prop airport is made of non-tarnish nickel.
Strange fact: until recently, pilot specific toolkits like this one didn’t exist. Pilots had to cobble together the tools they needed themselves out of bigger toolkits from home or the repair bays. This toolkit from Cruz Tools includes everything from a hex set to thirty feet of aviation wire.
Pilots are love to know everything they can about flying and aviation. Published by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, this book is filled with an array of color photographs that will delight any pilot. It focuses on the fifty most influential aircraft in aviation history.
When they stuck on the ground counting the minutes until their next takeoff, this clock will keep their head in the clouds and their eyes on the (artificial) horizon. This wall clock is to designed to look just like the artificial horizon display from the instrument panel in their favorite place on earth: the cockpit.
Taking texting language to a new high: AV8R. This t-shirt will let the pilot on your life proclaim their pilot status and their love for flight loud and proud when. It might take a few seconds for people to figure it out, but when they do, we’re sure they’ll LOL.
Commercial pilots need a closet full of these on hand. They need some for their flight bags and some for home when they get that last minute call and they’ve got no clean shirts at the ready. This uniform shirt has a reinforced eyelet for lapel wings, bellows pockets, and a convenient pencil slot.
The D2 is like having a flight computer on your wrist. It’s got a worldwide database of airports, classified in direct-to and nearest-to categories. It’s got a GPS, an altimeter, and barometer, and a vibrating alarm. It also displays multiple time zones and can receive flight plans wirelessly.
Every real pilot needs a headset they can call their own. One that fits their head just so, one that they’re comfortable with, and one that they can count on every single flight. This top-of-the-line model from Lightspeed. Its wireless technology is more reliable than Bluetooth and Wifi, and the noise cancellation function is second to none.
Pilots collect books on planes, the history of aviation, and everything related to the art of flight. These bookend are the perfect pilot gift for that bookshelf in the pilot’s study. A solid resin construction and pewter finish gives these bookends a comfortable antique look.
Most people that wear aviator’s sunglasses aren’t aviators at all. But every pilot needs a pair of top quality eyewear, because they’re going to spend countless hours staring into the sun. Serengeti has made the highest quality aviator’s glasses for decades, and this pair is a favorite among pilots.
A pilot can’t just throw their favorite headset into a flight bag with the rest of their gear. The headset is their interface with both the control panel and the outside world, so they need a bag all their own. This bag keeps the trusted headset in a padded compartment, and includes a front zipper for flight plans, wallets, and accessories.
This kit is designed specifically for aspiring pilots enrolled in flying courses at small flight school or pursuing their license through a private instructor. It has everything they’ll need to go from the first class right through their FAA exam, including DVDs, handbooks, and more.
At the end of the flight, when the post-flight check list is complete, when the plane is all squared away, it’s time to crack open a cold one. With this metal airplane bottle opener in hand, pilots won’t need to wait—they can pop that top as soon as they’re ready. A great novel gift for any pilot.
The P-51 Mustang has a special place in the hearts of aviators, especially Americans. It was a World War II workhorse: the first single-engine plane over France, the first airplane to Germany, and the first one to make it to Berlin. This model contains forty-nine pieces and is a beautiful homage to our heroic aviators of days gone by.
This classic leather wallet is for the pilot that is proud of his status, but doesn’t want to be too flashy about it. It’s got pilot’s wings subtly embossed in the corner of the outer flap. Inside, it has credit card slots, currency compartments, and a ramp pass slot.
A place for everything, and everything in one place, aviator style. This flight journal includes a pocket sized notebook from Moleskin inside a stylish handmade cover, covered with artful renditions of a cockpit instrument panel. Pilots can take notes, plan flights, and record the deep thoughts.
Who knew there were so many things you could do with that certification you worked so hard for? There’s more to it than just flying. Having a pilot’s license opens up doors you probably never thought of when you had that first impulse to go for it. This book let’s you know: sky’s the limit!
X-plane is the flight simulator that real pilots keep on their home computer to practice on when they can get behind the controls of a real plane. Features include a virtual wind tunnel for realistic flight conditions and environments created from real-world databases, so they world you fly through looks completely realistic.
A nautical sextant? Yes, indeed—pilots are into the history of navigation, and the groundbreaking pioneers of navigation were ship’s captains. Any pilot will love and appreciate this brass antique sextant. It comes in a wooden box with a leather closure strap.
Essential piece of gear number one: a good, reliable flight bag. The B7 is the gold standard in flight bags. It’s got compartments for everything: laptops, documents, phones, chargers, headsets, and every accessory a pilot needs to bring along. It’s designed to slip right on the hand of a rolling carry-on.
After the Navy’s leather bomber jacket, the nylon MA-1 is the second most recognizable pilot’s jacket in the world. This one is NASA blue and has the NASA logo and the Space Shuttle’s commemorative “100th Mission” patch on the front. Its signature shoulder zip-pocket is finished with a Stars and Stripes patch.
When people see the initials S & W they correctly think Smith & Wesson, the gun manufacturer. A lesser known S & W product happens to be the go-to compact cockpit flashlight for pilot’s everywhere. It has both red LED and white bulb features, and the anodized aluminum body is tough and made to last.
Once you get flight simulator software, you’ll need to get a good set of realistic flight controls, or you’ll be flying the plane with the right, left, up and down keys on your keyboard. This bundle includes a stainless steel yoke shaft with fourteen buttons and a separate lever throttle with three sliding controls.
This is neither the Elf on the Shelf nor one of Santa’s helpers—it’s the Bad Elf GPS, the favorite handheld GPS device for pilots and others who really need to know where they are, with no mistakes allowed. The Bad Elf can share data with up to five different iOS devices from the single unit.
Some people like to binge watch movies, some prefer reality shows, and some like good old TV dramas and comedies. Not pilots. They want to kick up the feet and watch anything and everything aviation related. This DVD box set has over twenty-three hours of airplane history, aka pilot heaven.
This keepsake plane is a realistic replica of the Waco Aristocrat model SRE, and biplane known for its speed and maneuverability. This makes a great gift for any pilot. They can keep it on their desk, display it on a mantle, or keep it in their flight bag as a lucky charm.
Remember the TI-80 calculator? The one you had to buy for all you math and physics classes? This is the aviator’s version of that. It’s a handheld flight computer that has every feature a pilot could ever want or need. This device is one of the only one approved for use on an FAA pilot’s license exam.
Jeppesen is the first name in aviation notebooks and accessories. This premium binder is made for maps, flight plans, and all of the paperwork pilot’s need at the ready when they step into the cockpit. It’s made from premium leather and has solid steel hinges.
Plane buffs know the Warthog. They know it and when they talk about it they glow with pride. But they’re not the only ones: any recent ground combat veteran loves the Warthog, too. It’s been in service since the 1970s. Originally designed as a tank killer, it’s been the prime close-support aircraft for the U.S. Armed forces for decades.
5 DIY Aviation Gifts
This cute little DIY is the perfect gift for the child of a pilot to make for their frequent flying mom or dad. You can make it with things you have around the house such as a toilet paper roll, cardboard, markers, and glue. Little kids (with some supervision, of course) can make this in less than an hour.
A survival kit originally designed for passengers and not pilots, we can’t forget that sometimes commercial pilots hitch a ride home when they’re out working. In those cases, they’ll need all the amenities regular passengers need. This kit is stocked with all the essential to make those return legs tolerable.
Captain my captain! For the frugal pilot’s spouse out there, you can make your own captain’s shirt—complete with shoulder patches and gold bars—from a comfortable shirt your pilot loves. You’ll need a little sewing skill to complete this hour-long DIY project.
Another one for the kids: a sweet and cute aviator’s cap and goggles. This one is also perfect for pilot’s kids. With materials that are easy to find, this tutorial shows you how to make a costume for a little aviator. The process takes a little bit of sewing skill and will take an afternoon to complete.
What kid doesn’t want to be Luke Skywalker, streaking through that crazy trench on the Death Star, making the shot to save the Rebel Alliance? Make this costume for the little pilot in your life and they’ll be totally ready for Halloween, the next big costume party, or just plain fun around the house.
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