pilot gifts

It’s that time of the year again.

You know, the one where you glance at the calendar and realize you’ve got less than a month to get all your holiday shopping done and then have a heart attack, because you don’t know what to buy anyone.

This can be made all the more problematic when you’re not content to give just any old gift–you’ve got to give the perfect gift. So, as is Leaving Terra Firma tradition, I want to do my part to help shoppers find some great pilot gifts this holiday season.

Breaking from tradition a little, I thought I would kick off the season and break the fast with the first guest post ever published on Leaving Terra Firma. So, without further ado, let me turn things over to Chris.

Pilot Gifts: The 2013 Pilot Gift Guide

Gear and Gadgets:

  • Bose A20 Headset – This one is a splurge. But let me tell you – besides a brand new plane this is at the top of any pilot’s list. The best headset I have ever owned. Of course, there are plenty of other great headset options out there that your more budget friendly, such as the Nav-Data Deluxe, which you can pick up for less than $100.
  • Watch – A nice watch is obligatory for any pilot. It is fairly basic, but is necessary… and  looks good.
  • iPad – Tablets are becoming virtual flight bags. There are apps for everything a pilot would need, from checking fuel prices to the weather to emergency procedures. Load it up with some of the top apps and save your pilot from lugging around a 40 pound bag full of manuals and charts.
  • Flight bag – Staying organized is crucial and flight bags are put through a lot, making this a great present. Of course, if you opt for the gift above, you can forego the flight bag, or just opt for a smaller version.


  • The Next Hour: The Most Important Hour in Your Logbook (Richard Collins) – A must read for any pilot. Personal insights from a lifetime of flying that will make their next flight a safer one.
  • Fate is the Hunter (Ernest K. Gann) – A classic memoir recounting the treacherous early days of commercial aviation, bringing the reader right into the cockpit.
  • Unforgettable: My Ten Best Flights (Lane Wallace) – Each flight is filled with insight, life lessons, and a sense of wonder – reminding pilots why they fly.
  • Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying (Wolfgang Langewiesche) – The first analysis of the art of flying ever attempted. Though written decades ago, pilots still have something to learn from this classic.
  • Airframe (Michael Crichton) – This thriller about an aerospace manufacturer is sure to please. The reader will also learn a little bit about aircraft design, avionics, and physics.


  • Instrument Coasters – Yup coasters. May seem rather boring, but not so. Any pilot will get a kick out of these.
  • Art – You can find inexpensive prints that will appeal to any aviation enthusiast.
  • Model airplanes – May seem kind out there, but vintage models are the perfect addition to any aviators desk or bookcase.
  • Weathervane – Pilots are more or less obsessed with weather, so a weathervane is a very suitable, albeit quirky, gift. Instead of the traditional rooster, you can find one that is topped with a plane.
  • Leather jacket – When you picture a pilot, what do you see? He, or she, is almost always wearing a leather bomber jacket (along with their helmet and goggles).