Top 12 Gift Ideas for Flight Instructors
If your flight instructor changed your life by teaching you how to fly, they deserve something special. Here's a list of gift ideas that covers a wide range of budget options.
More and more flight instructors are using new technologies, including iPads, in the cockpit. For the instructor who already has an iPad, a new kneeboard or iPad mount would make a great gift. And while gift cards aren't the most creative option, an App Store gift card would certainly be valuable to a flight instructor, as they could apply it toward their favorite subscription service like ForeFlight or a new training app.
There's a good chance the flight instructor you're buying for has been wearing the same headset they have had since they started flying. It's probably old, used, and abused. A new headset is always a nice surprise. If your budget allows, spring for a Bose headset or another high-end model.
Tech-Friendly Winter Gloves
Instructors are always putting their gloves on and taking them 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 would be helpful.
Pilots love gadgets, and flight instructors love teaching gadgets. Flight instructors usually enjoy things like highlighter tape, chart covers, little model airplanes, miniature runways, supersized airfoils, old flight instruments, and gyroscopes. A gadget or a basket full of gadgets would be a great gift idea.
Laser Pointer/Flashlight/UV Light
Every instructor needs a laser pointer, just for fun, especially if they have a cat at home. And a laser pointer that's also an ultraviolet light and LED flashlight is even more fun, with some practical uses too.
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 the local fixed-base operator. A shiny new Icom A6 transceiver will be cherished by your flight instructor.
A digital logbook makes a flight instructor's job incredibly easier, so it's a great gift idea for the instructor who is still using a paper logbook. A digital logbook such as LogTen Pro lets an instructor keep track of all kinds of student data, such as flights, aircraft, aircraft types, trips, and certificates. LogTen Pro can generate basic or complex reports. And it's searchable, so your instructor could quickly find the details of, for example, a particular cross-country flight with a given student.
It's hard to go wrong with a model airplane as a gift for a flight instructor. Choose a model aircraft that the instructor favors and personalize it with a particular 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 their day. Even instructors who use electronic charts should have paper charts on hand as backups.
Every flight instructor likes aviation-related clothing. Choose something that fits the instructor's personality. If they're funny, then go for a goofy T-shirt. A more serious instructor might appreciate a classic aviator hat.
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. Depending on their tastes, a bottle of wine or whiskey might also be appreciated.
Flashlights are always getting lost or broken (or borrowed and never returned). An LED headlamp makes a great alternative, and it would free up your instructor's hands while performing inspections.