A pilot’s first solo is a huge deal in the path towards becoming a certificated pilot and enjoying the freedom of creating your own flight journeys. In aviation tradition, the occasion is usually marked with the instructor cutting off the shirttail from the T-shirt in which the student first soloed.
This tradition is symbolic of the day when the student is cut loose from the instructor’s grip. Often these shirttails are framed and hung on a wall, to be displayed for other students and pilots to see.
Aeroswag, an aviation e-commerce website, wants to create a new tradition where student pilots can commemorate their first solo with a printed version of the sectional from their home airport duplicated onto a number of gift items, including cell phone cases, coffee mugs, stickers, notepads, water bottles, and socks. The idea is that the student pilot can show off their aviation accomplishment in a meaningful way.
While the student’s first solo flight is one of the primary use cases of Aeroswag’s custom sectional items, pilots also order products from their home base or other favorite airports.
The process of ordering a custom printed item with the selected airport is simple. The website immediately recognizes where the user is located using Google’s mapping function, then displays the area airports on the sectional in the area. If they wish to select an airport outside the area, they can easily move the sectional map to another location.
The user selects their home or favorite airport, clicks it, and sees the sample images of items with the sectional embedded onto the product catalog. The user chooses the items they want, and they are mailed to them a few days later.
I decided to test out the process, ordering socks, stickers, notepads, and phone cases for a few of my favorite airports. I found the process simple and now have outfitted my cellphone with a phone case that has the Chattanooga (KCHA) sectional and a pair of socks that feature the Solberg Airport (N51), the airport I fly out of when spending time in New Jersey during the summer.
Aeroswag also has a large catalog of aviation related images and gifts and hopes to offer custom “long-tail” gifts for pilots and the aviation community.