I know, I know. You’re probably throwing your computer against the wall because I mentioned Christmas. But it’s only 24 days until Christmas! That means you still haven’t found that perfect gift for the pilot in your life! Have you ever thought about what pilots really are wishing for at Christmas? I mean besides all that normal stuff they put on their Christmas lists like socks, sweaters, and necessities. I’m talking about that dream list that they’ve been compiling since they got bit by the aviation bug – the super-secret and incredibly pricey gift list. For all of my friends that are reading this and aren’t pilots, you’ll get a sneak peak into what we really want for Christmas and why we give you all those boring gift ideas (because even we can’t afford the perfect gift).
The Perfect Headset…
Yes, there is a perfect headset out there, or maybe two or three. I remember my first, and still my current headset. It’s probably the cheapest one on the market, but that’s because a new pilot can’t afford brands such as Bose or Pioneer which are some of the nicest headsets around.
Bose headsets are noise-canceling, soft, comfy, and now equipped with Bluetooth to sync with your smartphone – in case flying an airplane didn’t take up enough of your attention, you can now make calls from the air. Besides being high tech and comfy, they’re probably the most expensive out there at just over $1000 for the A20 model. “But, they make me look cool!” – probably what your pilot will tell you when you see this on their list. Besides being cool to look at, these high-quality headsets last for years and come with a 5-year limited warranty (even your phone doesn’t have that good of warranty).
Don’t worry about that numb feeling you felt when you read the price tag – just know you’ve passed on many, many hours of comfy flying for your pilot’s ears once they open that lovely wrapped box that reveals their favorite headset brand.
These Obviously Make Me Look Like a Pilot…
Of course, no pilot look would be complete without those sunglasses that have been appropriately dubbed “Aviators”. I mean, don’t they scream “pilot”? Ever since that movie with those navy pilots, we all have been drooling over the ever cool and very sophisticated aviator style sunglasses. Ray Ban has been producing these Maverick looking aviator sunglasses since 1937 with aviators in mind, hence the name.
In case you had any worries about whether or not you could afford getting your pilot these slick frames, you should be OK because it’s significantly cheaper than that headset – it’s only about $150 for the original style. However, you can get it in many different colors and variations of style, so it’s perfect for the lady pilot in your life. Remember, it’s cheaper than that headset they’ve been bugging you about ever since they got their license!
It Tells Time in 6 Different Parts of the World!
You may have heard this from your pilot as they tried to explain just why they put a +$300 watch on their Christmas list. Garmin, Zenith, and Archimede are just a few watches that made Gear Patrol’s list of “10 Soaring Pilot Watches” for 2015. Actually, those are the more popular brands on the list, but there are many watches from brands like Sieko and Relic that are still very classy and even come with options to set it for more than one time zone.
However, awesome pilot watches aren’t just for guys anymore as more and more companies are catering to the lady pilots out there with some great, classy, and well-fitting aviatrix watches. The Abingdon Co is one such company creating women’s watches for travel, aviation, and diving. I own the Elise in silver and I wear it practically every day. Abingdon’s watches while costing more than a Relic brand, are very unique and made of high quality materials. I especially like that they have created watches just for women and those in aviation to boot! Maybe if you don’t end up buying your gal pilot one for Christmas, it could be reserved for those special moments like graduation, or getting a new type of flying license.
In Case The GPS Fails…
Redundancy – we pilots lovvveee this. We don’t want to get caught unawares so we back up everything in aircraft. These days, the fad is to back-up your GPS though the odds of it failing aren’t terribly high. The most popular way to back-up in the last few years has been through the use of a personal tablet or iPad. Programs like Foreflight and Garmin Pilot have been popular in the aviation industry as even commercial airlines are now switching from those heavy flight bags to something referred to as the “Electronic Flight Bag” or EFB. These programs hold charts, moving maps, approach plates, departure plates and overlay real-time weather for the tech savvy pilot. For the airlines, they’ve even used EFBs to back-up entire aircraft manuals – this becomes really useful for the Boeing 777 as those bags used to weigh about 40 pounds.
The most popular has been the iPad mini which fits very comfortably between each side of the yoke and companies now even make clips to mount it securely. The yoke is a great place to put it as it’s easy to see and reach without having to mess with a suction clip on the window or windshield. You may think that this gift should be a no brainer as it’s only a GPS, right??? However, the iPad mini 4 rings up at about $729 (that includes the wireless model for the GPS capabilities). Foreflight itself costs about $75 a year for the Basic plan, however, it can be up to $175 year for the Pro plan. Now, while we may not all be able to afford Foreflight or do enough flying to justify it, it certainly is a really neat piece of technology that fits well with the iPad mini.
They Know That’s a Plane, Right???
Finally, as you scan down this long and expensive list and spot the words “SR22”. You may or may not be a pilot, but you recognize that picture instantly that your pilot was nice enough to include for you. Your blood drains away from your face and you’re left feeling dizzy. While this 4-seater general aviation aircraft may seem innocuous at first, it quickly turns out to be the Porsche of the aviation world of at least $500,000 a pop. The state of the art GPS system, parachute system, and known ice protection are just a few of the additional options for the Cirrus SR22. Turns out those extra add-ons like custom graphics, interior, air conditioning, etc., are about $40,000 apiece. So, I’ll just take the stripped down version then.
So, What Should I Get My Pilot???
You might be reading this realizing that pilot in your life has a skewed sense of “Christmas gift ideas”. Their list probably looks more like your ticket to a lifetime of bankruptcy. You might be planning on getting your dog to destroy that Christmas list (sorry Frasier, but I was just too late to stop Eddie).
However, there’s hope for you! First of all, just remember that their dream list is just a dream list. Those of us who have spent thousands of dollars on our training don’t expect you to buy us the fancy gifts. We’d rather save our pennies for years and then really treat ourselves. However, we’ll take cash, gift cards, and more affordable things like new flight bags, Under Armour for those below zero days, and knock-off aviators. Better yet, let us take you flying! We love sharing the joy of aviation as that is one of the best gifts we’ve been given. Besides, Christmas lights on a cold December’s night really do look awesome from the air.
For those of you that are looking for your dream airplane this Christmas, check out Globalair.com for used aircraft listings.