Top 12 Gift Ideas for Flight Instructors
Looking for a great gift idea for a flight instructor? If your instructor changed your life by teaching you how to fly, they deserve something special. Here's a list of gift ideas for the flight instructor that covers a wide range of budget options.
More and more flight instructors are using new cockpit technologies, including iPads, in the cockpit. For the instructor with an iPad, it's safe to say that they're in the market for the latest and greatest tablet accessories. A new kneeboard or iPad mount would make a great gift. And while gift cards aren't the most creative option, an iTunes gift card would certainly be valuable to a flight instructor, as they can apply it toward their favorite iTunes subscription service like ForeFlight or a new training app.
There's a good chance that the flight instructor you're buying for has been wearing the same pair of headsets that he's had since he started flying. They're probably old, used and abused. A new headset is always a nice surprise. If your budget allows, spring for Bose headsets or another high-end pair.
Tech-Friendly Winter Gloves
Instructors are always taking gloves on and off. Between putting oil in during preflight to taking notes on the iPad during student landing practice, instructors need warm, tech-friendly gloves. They easily get dirty and are worn frequently in the winter, so having more than one pair is a bonus!
Pilots love gadgets, and flight instructors like teaching gadgets. Flight instructors love things like highlighter tape, chart covers, little model airplanes, miniature runways, supersized airfoils, old flight instruments, gyroscopes and various other teaching gadgets. A gift basket full of gadgets would be a great gift idea for the flight instructor.
Every instructor needs about five or ten laser pointers, just for fun. Sporty's Pilot Shop makes a great all-in-one tool for instructor pilots that has a laser pointer, pen, and flashlight in one.
A transceiver is necessary when your student solos, and it gets old having to borrow transceivers from other instructors or use the old barely-working ones from local FBOs. A shiny new Icom A6 COM Transceiver will be cherished and well-used by the flight instructor.
A digital logbook makes a flight instructor's job easier. It's a great gift idea for the instructor that is still using a paper logbook. A digital logbook like LogTen Pro calculates different flight times automatically, making it easier to find and calculate things like the number of night cross-country GPS approaches when needed. It also makes the logbook searchable, so if a flight instructor wanted to look up the details of a cross-country flight with a particular student, he could search by student name, date, etc.
A model airplane is always a great gift choice. Choose a model aircraft that the instructor favors and personalize it with the tail number and paint scheme.
Flight instructors are always buying new charts. Paying for a few months of a subscription service from Jeppesen would brighten his day. Even an instructor that uses electronic charts should have paper charts on hand as a backup.
Every flight instructor likes aviation-related attire. Choose something that fits the instructor's personality. If he's funny and goofy, then go for one of those funny aviation shirts. A more serious instructor might appreciate a classic baseball cap with a logo or airplane on it.
Food and Wine
Instructors don't always get paid well and it's a long-standing joke that they are starving pilots, so a gift card for a restaurant or a basket of goodies would be appropriate. Many flight instructors will tell you that a bottle of wine or liquor makes a great gift, but alcohol isn't always appropriate. If you have to question the idea at all, it's probably best to avoid it.
Flashlight or LED Headlamp
Flashlights are always getting lost or broken (or borrowed and never returned). A flight instructor can never have too many flashlights on hand. Aim for a really nice one with white, red and blue bulbs that are easy to distinguish from each other in the dark. A headlamp makes a great gift as well, as it frees up the hands for other tasks like adding oil or taking notes.