Editor’s note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.
Picking a gift for anyone can be a daunting task. Pilots and aviation enthusiasts can be especially hard to shop for, until now. Below are some of our top picks for the best gifts to give to the aviation enthusiast in your life. Whether they be an airplane lover, a student pilot, or a professional aviator, these gifts are sure to be loved by all avgeeks.
Quicklook: Gift Ideas for Aviation Enthusiasts
- Flight Outfitters – The FLYING Branded Lift XL Pro Bag: Best for professional pilots needing an upgraded bag
- Aviation Books: Best for aviation and history enthusiasts
- Ray-Ban Classic Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses: Best for any pilot who flies regularly
- Garmin D2 Air-GPS Smartwatch for Aviators: Best for pilots needing a smart watch upgrade
- Classic Airplane Instrument Coasters Set: Best for any aviation enthusiast
- Vintage Airplane Library Bookend Set: Best for avgeeks who love to read
- Airplane Paper Weight: Best for the business professional aviation enthusiast
- U.S. Navy Issue Military Bomber Jacket: Best for aviation enthusiasts with a sense of style
- Private Pilot Training Kit: Best for student pilots
- Airplane Bottle Opener: Best for that special traveler
10 Gift Ideas for Aviation Enthusiasts
Finding a gift for an aviation enthusiast may seem like a daunting task, but there are so many options for all types of aviation lovers. Whether your loved one is a professional pilot, just getting started in the aviation industry, or just a lover of all things aviation, here are some gifts to consider getting for the next special occasion.
Flight Outfitters – The FLYING Branded Lift XL Pro Bag
This flight bag is a perfect gift for the professional pilot in your life. The bag is perfect for the pilot looking for an understated all-black approach to an aviation bag. Multiple lined compartments with zippered closures create a secure flight bag designed to fit all essentials.
Best For: Professional pilots needing an upgraded bag
What We Love: This flight bag is equipped with many zippered pockets including a large lined compartment big enough for headsets and other pilot essentials.
Pilots and enthusiasts love to learn more about aviation. A perfect gift for an aviation lover is an informative book. In addition to the 10 best aviation books, a perfect coffee-table book for aviation enthusiasts is “Flight: The Complete History of Aviation.” This book highlights everything from the first Wright Brothers’ flight to Concorde. This will be a conversation starter in your loved one’s home.
Best For: Aviation and history enthusiasts
What We Love: Visual guide with incredible photography accompanied by detailed historic aviation events.
If you’re passionate about aviation, then FLYING Magazine is the perfect subscription for you. With in-depth features and profiles of all things aviation, FLYING has been the premier magazine for almost 100 years. Packed with stunning photography and fascinating stories, this is a must-read for anyone interested in aviation.
Ray-Ban Classic Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses
Being a pilot means flying just a little closer to the sun. To make sure your pilot is protected, a gift of sunglasses may be perfect. The pilot in your life may love a classic pair of aviation sunglasses by Ray-Ban. Available in many sizes, shapes, and colors, Ray-Ban aviators can be customized to suit your aviation enthusiast. For the pilot in your life who wears prescription lenses, see our top picks for best prescription aviator sunglasses.
Best For: Any pilot who flies regularly
What We Love: Long list of sizes, shapes, and colors. The durable metal frame that protects against drops. Unisex designs.
Garmin D2 Air-GPS Smartwatch for Aviators
Keeping track of time and creating a hands-free smart tool is essential for pilots. So one of the best gifts for pilots is an aviator smartwatch. The Garmin D2 Air has preflight, in-flight, and post-flight features that have pilots in mind. The option for a silicone or leather band ensures it can fit any pilot’s style.
Best For: Pilots needing a smart watch upgrade
What We Love: Ability to plane, track, and recap flights easily. Sleek design with band options.
Classic Airplane Instrument Coasters Set
This six-piece coaster set is bound to be a topic of conversation at any gathering your aviation enthusiast has. Featuring the traditional “six pack” instrument cluster of an airspeed indicator, heading indicator, altimeter, vertical speed indicator, turn coordinator, and attitude indicator, these coasters are functional and cool.
Best For: Any aviation enthusiast
What We Love: Traditional six-pack pilot instruments. Footed to prevent marks on table tops.
Today’s flight simulators are continuously shortening the gap between digital flight and physical flight. No longer are the days of traveling to a training facility and climbing into a five or six-figure device to simulate flying an aircraft. With a comparable home computer and today’s leading-edge software programs, you can create a tangible training platform in the comfort of your own home. The Flight Sim Starter Set includes our most popular yoke, the best throttle on the market, and highly popular pedals to assure you stay on the centerline.
Aircraft bookends may be the best gift for an aviation enthusiast who also has their nose in a book. These vintage aircraft bookends are both functional and give an aviation aesthetic to any home library. Pair with a couple of aviation books to make the perfect gift basket for any avgeek.
Best For: Avgeek who reads
What We Love: Its biplane look with a wood finish. It’s perfect for your office or library to hold up your favorite books.
Not all aviation enthusiasts are pilots, some are business leaders. To keep a little aviation aesthetic in their office, a great gift for an aviation enthusiast is an airplane paperweight. Whether the paperweight is your loved one’s favorite airframe or just a trinket to remind them of their passions an airplane paperweight can be a great stocking stuffer.
Best For: Business centric aviation enthusiasts
What We Love: This airplane is a replica of the famous fighters of World War II. Other similar paperweights can be chosen in the gift receiver’s favorite airframe.
U.S. Navy Issue Military Bomber Jacket
Every pilot and aviation enthusiast needs a stylish pilot bomber jacket to look cool on and off the tarmac. This U.S. Navy bomber is perfect for any aviation lover who is into all things military. Made from high grade leather, Turkish lamb wool, and goatskin, this is a high quality option. Flight jackets are a right of passage in aviation, learn more about their origin here.
Best For: Aviation enthusiasts with a sense of style
What We Love: The Navy pattern gives an authentic look and feel to the bomber jacket. Plenty of pockets with zippers.
Price: $250 at Sporty’s
Some aviation enthusiasts grow up to be pilots and they all have to start somewhere. Pilot training comes with plenty of studying and a ton of determination. For the student pilot in your life or the pilot in your life getting back into the cockpit, a pilot training kit is a perfect gift.
Best For: Student pilots
What We Love: All materials are included such as books, plotter, pilot log, and DVD prepware. You also get 10 hours of ground school video to prepare students for FAA exams.
Price: $249.95 at Sporty’s
Airplane Bottle Opener
One of the best gifts to give an aviation enthusiast comes with functionality in and out of the cockpit. For the airplane and travel lover in your life, consider gifting a beautiful airplane bottle opener.
Best For: For that special traveler
What We Love: This airplane bottle opener comes in an appealing gift box, ready to be gifted.
Tips When Shopping for an Aviation Enthusiast
There are a few things to consider when choosing a gift for an aviation enthusiast.
Are They a Pilot?
Being a pilot may require some more specific types of Cangifts like flight bags and aviator watches, but don’t count out aviation-lover gifts like mugs and flight instrument coasters. Pilots will be the first to say they love all things aviation!
Do They Love to Travel?
If your loved one is an aviation enthusiast and also loves to travel, the perfect gifts for them may include luggage tags and the perfect carry-on suitcase.
Can They Use This Gift At Work?
Pilots especially love practical gifts they can use on the job. If the gift receiver isn’t a pilot, consider practical everyday gifts they can use like a personalized mug, an embroidered jacket, or aviator sunglasses.
What Climate do They Live in?
Colder climate aviation enthusiasts may need a warm weather flight jacket while those who live in warmer climates may want an extra pair of sunglasses. Understanding the person you are shopping for and where they live may affect what you give them.
Are They a Student?
Student pilots may be one of the easiest to buy for since they still need most things. Consider buying them the new version of the FAR/AIM, a nice flight bag, or a kneeboard to make keeping in-flight notes or organizing charts a bit easier.
Give the Gift of Flight
Buying gifts for anyone can be tough, aviation enthusiasts are no different. Whether they are a pilot, student, or full of wanderlust, this list can help you decide on the perfect gift for your loved one. To stay up to date on all things aviation subscribe to the FLYING newsletter and our print magazine.
An aviation geek, or avgeek, is someone who is passionate about the aviation industry.
Pilots need a lot of gear to succeed including a knee board or iPad, a headset, nonpolarized sunglasses, a fuel tester, and much more.
No. Pilots can make a career in aviation without a degree as long as they pass all FAA knowledge, oral, and flight exams and meet flying hour requirements.