Aircraft instruments, IFR, IMC, safety Aviation Articles

10+ Gift Ideas for Pilots and Aviation Enthusiasts

Pilots and aviators get to do what many of us can only dream of; fly. So what do you get the people who have the ability to soar above the clouds on a weekly basis? A gift for a pilot should be practical... but it must also maintain a level of sentimentality. 

Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of gift ideas that are aviator approved! 

 

Pilot Wings Hat - $15.95

If you've ever worn a baseball cap while flying, you'll immediately understand how much of a pain (literally) it can be to wear a headset and fight with the little button on top.  Not with this stylish hat! This company had the factory leave off the button that is traditionally found on the top of a baseball cap! Perfect for a sunny afternoon flying or spending the day with friends in the hangar.

 

Leather Pilot Log - $62

You've got to make every trip count. Track each flight with our pilot log, handmade from top-grain leather. This product includes either a standard (ASA-SP-30) or master (ASA-SP-6) pilot log. 

If the special pilot in your life prefers maintaining a digital logbook, send them to Globalair.com! Ours is free, easy to use, and is fully downloadable as a text file or CSV file. And the best part is the ability to add as many aircraft profiles as you need!

 

Flight Gear HP iPad Kneeboard - $34.95

The Flight Gear HP iPad Kneeboard holds the iPad right where you need it - secure on your leg but easily within reach. An integrated kickstand means you can tilt the iPad towards you, which helps to reduce glare. A simple hook-and-loop rotation mechanism allows for portrait or landscape viewing. 

 

Personalized Bobblehead in Flight Suit - $65

Personalize a bobblehead to look just like your favorite aviator. Simply send in images of the person you want the bobblehead to be crafted after and you will receive a custom look-alike. This bobblehead will come in an Air Force uniform. 

 

Set of 5 Aircraft Posters - $21.99

These patent art prints are printed on acid-free matte paper with high-quality archival inks. The prints are shipped in a durable shipping tube and rolled to ensure they don't crease. Perfect for wall decor in a home, bedroom, or college dorm. 

 

Aviator Engraved Whiskey Set - $69.95

This personalized gift for pilots is a unique way to thank the favorite aviator in your life. Each box is made from American Maplewood with sturdy metal hinges. Inside are two custom whiskey glasses and 9 whiskey stones. Includes personalization of the engraved box and glasses with the name and year for an unforgettable gift. The Maplewood box measures 11.25” x 5.5” x 4”. Each whiskey glass is 4” tall and can hold up to 10 ounces. (Liquor not included).

 

Airplane Propeller Replica 47" - $170+

This personalized wood airplane propeller wall hanging is custom designed with hand-engraved personalization and custom colors.  Wooden airplane propellers are the perfect gift for a retiring pilot, new pilot, or for travel themed weddings.

 

Airplane Keychain - $16.99

This key chain is an awesome gift for a pilot, airman, flight attendant, anyone in the air force or for anyone who loves to travel. It features a 1-inch 20 gauge stainless steel round disc stamped with "Have a safe flight I love you Love, (Name of your choice)” and a 1 3/4 inch x 2-inch antique silver-plated metal airplane charm on a 1-inch key ring. 

 

Red Canoe Cessna Stow Bag - $79.99

The Cessna Stow fits a headset, navigational tools and your pilot operating handbook as easily as your gym gear. It is the perfect gift for the pilot who spends more time on his plane than he does at home.

 

Vintage Instrument Coasters - $21.95

These vintage instrument coasters would look great on any pilot's coffee table. They are made with scratch resistant acrylic and have non-skid rubber feet. Designed to look like vintage aviation instruments and comes in a set of 6.

 

Pilot Humor Mug - $16.85

This is the perfect gift for your aviater pilot to use for pre-flight coffee. It will surely put a smile on their face as they try to remember the correct way to spell 'aviator'. 

 

Principles of Flight Tie - $28

Fly into your next business meeting or night on the town with this silk tie that sports the graphic principles of flight. This tie is the perfect accessory for an aviator, science teacher, or anyone with his head in the clouds. 100% silk; fully lined.

 

Spark Plug Plane Paperweight - $35

Recycled spark plugs, butter knives, and nuts and bolts are welded together into the shape of an airplane, giving this mini-sculpture the power to take off with the conversation as it taxis around your desk, workshop or tool shed. It can be used as a paperweight or a simple desk ornament.

 

Pilot Humor T-Shirt - $20

Show the world how much you love aircraft with this funny t-shirt. Available in multiple sizes and colors.

 

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much you spend on the gift. All that matters is celebrating the love you have for that person... and for aviation. Don't stress wondering if the gift is perfect. If it is coming from you, it surely will be!

Do you have a favorite aviation-themed gift that you’ve received or a gift that you were proud to have found for someone else? Let us know in the comments below!

All prices are current at the time of posting. 
 

Sometimes the experts are wrong

When you’re working toward earning your private pilot’s license, and you’re not sure you’re gonna have the time or the cash flow to make it happen, most of the self-proclaimed experts will give you one piece of advice.

Whether it’s a column in a flying magazine, a message thread on a Facebook aviation fan page or a couple of CFIs opining on your favorite podcast, they all chant the same mantra:

If you don’t have the money to fly regularly – at least once a week -- then stop.

Quit floundering in the wind.

Take a break from flying.

Save up your money. For weeks. Months. Years, even. However long it takes to build a cash mountain that will keep fuel flowing in the tanks on a continual basis. THEN start back up again.

If you can’t go weekly, don’t go at all.

At least that’s what they say.

Travis first flightMy first flight was on June 11, 1994. My parents had a rule:  Until I graduated high school, no motorcycles and no airplanes. Well, I was now a brand new high school grad – and I still remember my first flight that hot, humid, hazy Saturday morning with instructor Mark Loring. According to my logbook, we were up for 0.7 hours in a Piper Warrior (I’ll always love you N9886K), and we practiced climbs and descents, level turns and dutch rolls out of Bowman Field (KLOU) in Louisville, Kentucky. When it was over, I celebrated with deep-dish sausage pizza at the Bearno’s across the street from the airport.

I couldn’t believe I had my first entry in my Pilot Logbook.

I couldn’t believe I had a Pilot Logbook.

Eventually, my family got into the flight school business. I had easy access to aircraft and flight instructors. Looking back, I can’t believe how spoiled I was. I was allowed to work the desk at the flight school in exchange for flight time – and soon I was well on my way toward getting my PPL ticket. My first solo was on July 31, 1997. Then came my solo cross countries. My long solo-cross country.

But then, suddenly, things changed.

Our family got out of the flight school business. I moved out of the house. Graduated from college. Launched a new career. Gas prices went up – and my disposable income went down. In the meantime, a handful of evil, selfish people decided to fly airliners into buildings in New York. I changed careers again.

I didn’t get my PPL.

Instead, I took a break from flying. In fact, the very idea of spending money on flying airplanes was laughable. I would still look back on flying wistfully, but as far as I was concerned, it wasn’t in the cards. My medical expired, my sectionals and FAR/AIM s were WAY out of date, and my Jeppesen flight manual gathered dust on my bookshelf.

MY break lasted 16 years.

If you look at my logbook, you’ll see two entries right next to each other. They’re only centimeters apart, but the time they span is breathtaking: one reads Feb. 20, 1999. The next reads June 13, 2015.

I can’t really point to one single thing that brought me back to flying. I guess it started during a 6 a.m. Thursday morning men’s Bible study group at Southeast Christian Church. One week I was asked to summarize my life – from birth until the present day – and flying came up.  The guys at my table asked if I was still doing it. I wasn’t.

Then I read “Jungle Pilot” by Nathaniel Hitt, about the life of missionary pilot Nate Saint. I started volunteering for Mission Aviation Fellowship – an evangelical Christian organization that sends general aviation pilots to serve unreached people in isolated regions. I became friends with some of our missionary pilots – and helped some of them move overseas. I even got the opportunity to visit some of them out in the field.

Ultimately I realized that maybe the experts were wrong. Maybe I didn’t have to go once a week. Maybe I could just go once a month. Maybe once every six weeks. Even if I never got my license, at least I would be in an airplane again. At least I would be flying.

Do you want to fly?

Do you have cable TV? Take my advice:  cancel it.

That’s one flight lesson. One flight lesson a month right there!

The experts are wrong. Don’t do what I did and take 16 years off, thinking flying is out of your reach. If you love flying, and you can only afford to go once a month, then just go once a month. Or once every six months. Or once a year.

Here is a link with Flight Schools and Recurrent Training facilities all around the world, tell the experts to take a hike.

Yes, I know you won’t progress very far toward getting your certificate on a once-a-month regimen. Yes, I know students who go more frequently will get their PPL much faster. And yes, I know every expert says you’re wasting your time. But at least you won’t be giving up entirely.

And it’s not wasting your time if you simply love flying.

Travis PIC

As I write this, I’m looking at my shiny blue private pilot certificate. I passed my check ride – at Sporty’s no less! – on Sept. 1, 2018. Ultimately, I did have to increase the frequency of my flight lessons, but that wasn’t always an option. I’m glad I hung in there, even during the dry spells.

I’m working on my Instrument Rating now. My goal is to eventually get my commercial ticket, and my CFI. Then my flying will finance itself.

Maybe I’ll get there and maybe I won’t. What I do know is I hope to keep flying a part of my life some way – even if it’s only volunteering or reading a book about it – for many years to come.

Sixteen years is far too long.

TRAVIS K. KIRCHER is a private pilot – as well as a lifetime student – based in Louisville, Kentucky. His home airport is Bowman Field (KLOU). He is always ready and willing to tell you about Mission Aviation Fellowship – and you can find out more about it by visiting www.MAF.org

 

 

 

3 Ways to Dust Off Your Logbook

Spring is here!  It’s hard to believe I was just writing about winter weather flying and now spring has officially sprung (as of nine days ago).  For many of you, you might be tied to the weather during the winter when it comes to flying.  This could be due to the ratings you hold, the airport you hanger at, or even the equipment your aircraft is equipped with.  Whatever your reason may be, the arrival of spring means the return of better flying days!  So, today I will share a few ways to dust off your logbook.

#3: Get Current

I know, it’s probably the old standby for when we want to fly, but have no idea where to fly to.  Spring is the perfect time to sneak in an early morning flight to get day current.  So, that means that every 90 days, you need to get out there and do three take-offs and landings, full-stop, to carry passengers.  This could easily take up an hour of flying and it gets you back into the pattern at your home airport, or maybe a nearby airport.

Likewise, you should get night current while you are at it.  Although, darkness comes a lot later these days, so plan accordingly.  Another great way to get current, as an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rated pilot, is to get instrument current.  Every six calendar months, you will need to log at least six instrument approaches, holding procedures, including intercepting and tracking courses using a navigation system.

While you probably should not wait every 90 days to practice landings, or every six months to do instrument work, it does happen.  If it has been awhile, be sure to take up a current pilot with you as a safety pilot, or better yet: find an instructor!  Getting current is a great way to ease back into fair-weather flying.

#2: Do Your Flight Review

What once used to be called the Biennial Flight Review, now is just shortened to Flight Review (FR).  This requires a pilot holding any certificate to go through a review flight with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) every 24 calendar months.

I would describe the FR as an abbreviated check ride.  You go through many of the same topics in a checkride, but it is much shorter.  You might remember reading about my interview with Woody Minar, a seasoned Designated Pilot Examiner.  In that interview, he gives some good tips in preparing for your upcoming FR.  If you want some additional tips from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), check out this link to their FR guide.

Lastly, did you know that safety seminars through the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) can give you credit towards an FR?  Through attending seminars in various topics around or at your home airport and a little extra flying with an instructor, you can get credit for an FR.  I’ve done this once before and made it through the Basic Level – you get to learn a lot, fly a little, and get a cool pin to wear.  Furthermore, the goal of working through all the levels is a good way to push yourself to keep up with your weekend flying (or whenever you can work it in).

#1: Fly for Fun!

I realize that all of us can’t afford to rent an aircraft all the time.  Sometimes the harsh reality of the bank account is enough to keep even the most passionate pilot from flying on a sunny spring day.  For this reason, I encourage all you pilots to find a flying buddy.

Finding a fellow pilot to fly with is great for several reasons: you have someone to talk to, you can both brush up on your skills, and (most importantly) you can split the costs!  Not only do you need to find a fellow pilot to fly with, but you need to find somewhere fun to fly to – this could be a lake place, a golf course, a friend’s private airport, a museum, and more.  The possibilities are endless and they give you a purpose for flying. 

Enroute to fun destinations is a great time to practice slow flight, stalls, Commercial maneuvers, landings at other airports, dead reckoning, instrument approaches, going under the hood, or simply building cross-country time.  You really can’t go wrong when your fun flying has a learning purpose.

Happy Flying!

Hopefully you have some ideas now on how to take advantage of the better weather and dust off your logbook.  I’m hoping to get some flying in myself in a few weeks when I get back home for Easter – by the way, did you realize that is just around the corner too???

Happy Spring Flying!

Images courtesy of Google.com

Get In on ADS-B Out!

By Conrad Theisen – Director of Avionics Sales
Elliott Aviation

ADS-B, or Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast, is an upcoming mandate put in place by the FAA to make the skies safer for everyone. Using GPS technology, which is far more reliable than radar, ADS-B will allow air traffic control to safely reduce separation minimums. By January 1, 2020, all aircraft will be required to transmit ADS-B to ground stations.

This mandate affects 30,000 turbine powered aircraft and 140,000 piston aircraft. Less than 10 percent of turbine aircraft have currently been modified, which is likely to lead to a highly congested rush the closer we get to the 2020 deadline. Make sure when you are looking to meet the ADS-B Out mandate that you consider taking advantage of ADS-B In.

For many airframes, there are either current solutions or solutions in work that will allow you to not only meet the mandate, but give you all of the benefits of ADS-B In. This will give you graphical traffic and weather through a Bluetooth connected mobile device.

We are currently working on standalone Garmin ADS-B solutions to include ADS-B In for Hawker, Premier and Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP. Remember, airframes and avionics can vary widely, so check with your service center to see what options are available for your aircraft.

Conrad Theisen has been with Elliott Aviation since 1996. He started his career as an Avionics Installer and was promoted to Avionics Manager in 2001. In 2009, he led the Customer Service and Project Management teams for all in-house aircraft. He joined the Avionics Sales team in 2012.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

The 400E Program

By Meghan Welch – Interior Sales and Design Manager
Elliott Aviation

The 400E program is the next generation Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP upgrade. The program is a full Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP refurbishment including Garmin G5000 avionics with Lumatech LED master warning panel, Gogo WiFi with Gogo Vision (On-Demand-Movies), innovative exterior full paint design and a completely redesigned weight saving interior.

The Idea

As an Authorized Service Center with many Beechjet/Hawker 400XP customers, we have heard from various operators asking for an affordable update to their aircraft that also increases useful load. They also were in need of more headroom for their passengers along with entertainment options. Lastly, operators needed an avionics update to fulfill the 2020 ADS-B mandates. After much research, the 400E provides Beechjet/Hawker 400XP operators exactly what they were looking for.

Weight Saving Interior and Improved Functionality

The 400E program offers a completely redesigned interior that includes USB charging ports, redesigned cabinetry and variable color LED upwash and downwash cabin lighting all controlled through a mobile app. The newly designed shell kit is complete with a recessed headliner. The new shell kit creates a welcoming and more-open feel in the cabin with more headroom. The 400E program includes a redesigned arm ledge with LED accent lighting in the PSU’s, drink holders, window reveals, and toe-kick lighting. The electric window shades create the ease of light and comfort into the cabin. The variable LED lights add a multitude of atmospheres the user can create from a relaxing environment, to a cabin conference center, to a place to enjoy.

Other interior features include Gogo WiFi with Gogo Vision (On-Demand-Movies), allowing passengers the comfort of knowing they can have the option to continue their work while in flight or to kick back, relax and watch a movie or surf the web.

The Elliott team looked extensively into the weight savings options. By redesigning the forward baggage cabinet, we were able to use what was once unusable space. The redesign now allows useful storage and amenities while gaining a prep/serving area. With newly fabricated cabinetry, the team was able to lighten the front end.

Garmin G5000 Avionics

The Garmin G5000 avionics system is the latest system upgrade for Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP. With the new Garmin G5000 avionics system, there will not be a need for CASP or high yearly avionics maintenance cost. The system meets all ADS-B 2020 mandates and includes WAAS/LPV. Not only will it cut maintenance cost, but the system comes with touchscreen controls, synthetic vision, new LED displays, autopilot and XM weather. Lastly, the G5000 will cut weight of the aircraft as well.

The 400E program will allow Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP operators an affordable way to upgrade and will allow an increased usable payload, increased aircraft value, and increased comfort and interactive experience for passengers. After Elliott Aviation did the research, we are able to give Beechjet/Hawker 400XP operators what they asked for.

A completed Elliott Jets owned 400E will be available for viewing at the indoor static location of the annual NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition November 17th-19th in Las Vegas, NV.

Meghan Welch joined Elliott Aviation in 1998 as an Aircraft Sales Assistant and later helped build the paint and interior sales and design department in 2003. In 2007, she helped create the Design Center and was promoted to Interior Sales and Design Manager in 2015. Meghan has been successful in building a solid relationship with worldwide customers to personalize the interior of their aircraft to meet the customer’s functionality and style. Meghan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing and Finance from Augustana College.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

End of content

No more pages to load