The Ultimate Pilot Gift Guide: 14 Great Gifts Selected by Pilots, for Pilots
We’re finally approaching one of the busiest days in travel and that means two things:
One, you’re already dreading walking through the airport during Thanksgiving weekend.
Two, you’re finally starting to think about your holiday gift shopping. While we can’t help with the first thing, we do have some great gift ideas for the aviator or aviation enthusiast in your life.
Eventually, a pilot has to go home. Check out these ideas to bring a passion for aviation into your living room.
Custom Wood Art ($150 - $1,600)
Check out Azul Timber for unique aviation themed ornaments and other home decor ideas, custom made to your specifications. For a definite statement piece, the bourbon barrel lid featuring your preferred aircraft is a great choice. Plus, the incredible artist is also the wife of a TPN member so you’ll be supporting the aviation community through your purchase.
Squadron Posters ($33 - $750+)
Featuring most military aircraft, squadrons or bases, these pieces of art can help the pilot in your life celebrate their career and remember those key stops along the way. I have a bunch of these in my home office for each squadron I was in.
Aircraft Bottle Opener ($22)
PLANEFORM specializes in stainless steel bottle openers in the shape of your favorite aircraft–military or civilian. Perfect for debrief or cracking a cold one for the game!
Pilots are practical people at heart, and few things can warm their heart like a gift they can use while flying.
A Bright Flashlight ($80 - $1400)
A reliable flashlight is required equipment for every pilot. My personal kit (and that of every Air Force pilot I know) includes a Surefire flashlight. It’s compact and rugged, and you can just about see it from space. Another great brand that a lot of pilots use is Streamlight.
A Good Pen ($70 - $180)
Although pilots are known for using hotel pens, sometimes something a little classier is in order. The Fisher Space Pen is a great choice, not only because it has the word space in the name. These pens work in extreme temperatures, zero gravity and at any angle. For something a bit more terrestrial, consider a nice pen from Cross.
A New Bag ($139 - $444)
Nobody is tougher on bags than a professional pilot. Whether just starting out or replacing a well-worn bag, a BrightLine Bag should be top of mind. These bags are well-built and customizable to ensure just the right configuration for many years to come.
BrightLine Bags is also giving members of TPN a special 10% off discount through the end of 2023 when you use this link!
An EFB/Tablet Case ($150)
Remember paper charts and publications? Me neither! Just about all pilots from general aviation to the airlines have some form of tablet for an EFB. PIVOT Cases has you covered (literally) from iPad to Microsoft Surface to protect that investment. Bonus - they also make mounts fully compatible with the cases!
A Good Cup of Coffee ($20)
Coffee is an essential part of most pilots’ pre-flight routines. Aeronautical Coffee Company, a brand created by pilots, for pilots, offers roasted-to-order, high-quality beans that will blow away your aviation buddies.
Sometimes even the most diligent pilot needs to stop reading manuals and FARs for something a little more leisurely. The following gifts are good options for the avid reader:
Magazine Subscription (Price dependent on membership fees)
Let your pilot buddy check out the offerings from EAA or AOPA included with a membership in these great organizations. To keep up with general news and information pertaining to the industry Flying Magazine can’t be beat (plus they have some great writers on staff).
Kindle Paperwhite ($140)
Easy to pack, easy to carry and easy on the eyes after a long day of flying, the Kindle Paperwhite makes for a great companion on layover. The catalog of books and magazines you can access is almost infinite between purchase on Amazon or through most local libraries (get the Libby app for a ton of free books).
Apparel and Accessories
Clothes make the pilot, and accessories make the statement.
Flying Eyes ($79 - $279)
Lightweight, virtually indestructible and designed by pilots, Flying Eyes sunglasses are my go-to in-flight shades. Check out my longer review of them here.
I’ve worn a WHOOP for several years and couldn’t recommend it more! Not just an activity and sleep tracker, but a personalized coach, WHOOP helps take fitness to the next level. Literally changed my life.
Aviation-Inspired Watch ($139 - $525+)
Whether you’re shooting the watch in debrief or checking to see if you have time for Chick-fil-A before your next flight, a nice watch is the quintessential pilot accessory. TORGOEN and Wingman Watch are two great brands that are aviation-inspired and a subtle way to remind everyone you are a pilot.
TPN Hat ($25)
The holidays are the perfect time to help the pilot in your life rep The Pilot Network.
Hopefully this offered some good inspiration for what to give your pilot buddies or what to put on your list. However you use it, I hope you have a great holiday!