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13 Gift Ideas For Pilots. What to buy the aviator in your life

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Here are 13 gift ideas for pilots.  The prices range from the very affordable to those that are extra special gifts for milestones, achievements, or significant birthdays, and you don’t need to know much about aviation to make these purchases.

Aviation-Themed Apparel & Accessories

Let’s begin with the budget end of our gift guide.  A t-shirt, baseball cap, or other item with an aviation theme provides a range of options.  You may be able to personalise it using a print on demand website.  Alternatively, choose from a variety of off-the-shelf items that mark out the recipient as an aviator or an aviation enthusiast.  

As an accessory, you could also give your pilot friend a new remove before flight keyring or a retro item of airline luggage.  The Your Tag website has dozens of ideas suitable for not only pilots and flight attendants, but anyone else interested in aviation and airlines.

Our Pick
T Shit

Runway T-Shirt

  • Gift idea for Christmas, a birthday or any other present giving occasion. Get this present for a student pilot, aviation enthusiast, or pilt
  • Machine washable
  • Classic fit

An Aviation Film

Next on our list are aviation movies.  While everyone is now streaming videos on demand, some people still appreciate a DVD to add to (or begin) a collection of their favourite aviation- themed films.  There’s a huge number of films to choose from, dating back to the 1940s and beyond.  There are of course all the films about aerial warfare from WW1, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, etc. but there are also the airline movies.  Life aboard an aircraft can be dramatic, even if it’s a little unrealistic at times.  

Our Pick
Lancaster Skies

Lancaster Skies

Douglas Miller, a broken, solitary, spitfire ace, who survived The Battle of Britain, transfers to Bomber Command, determined to take the war to the skies over Germany. Douglas must take the place of a Lancaster Bomber crew’s cherished Skipper, who was killed in action. With the crew against him, he must gain their trust and overcome his past to become the leader they desperately need.

Check Price on Amazon

A Model Airplane

Another budget item might be a model aircraft, though it’s the smaller ones that would fit into a budget price range.  The larger kits have gone up in price but that’s due to several factors, not just inflation.  For example, Airfix now uses laser scanners on some aircraft in order to ensure that the plastic moulded parts they make based on the data collected are as accurate as they can be, down to every rivet.  This attention to detail is what has pushed the prices up but it’s also created a new generation of loyal fans and a resurgence in the making of plastic model aircraft. 

Our Pick
Airfix Avro Lancaster

Airfix Avro Lancaster B.II

  • A quality 1:72 model by Airfix ready for build and paint
  • To complete this kit, paint and glue are required. Please see the product description for relevant paints required
  • Made of plastic

Aircraft Checklists

From the first day and the first lesson, the aircraft checklist for the particular aircraft type being flown is always close to hand.  Checklists are used constantly and therefore, despite being made from laminated paper, come in for a lot of wear and tear.  Find out which aircraft your pilot flies and buy them a new checklist, or surprise them with one for the aircraft that they dream of flying.  You may not own a Spitfire but you’ve got the checklist, so that’s a start!

Pilot Operating Handbooks

Add to the checklist with a POH for the aircraft.  If you’ve ever been to an airshow or in a pilot gear shop you may have seen these small blue coloured A5 booklets.  They contain details about the unique flying characteristics of specific aircraft types.  You can buy POH for all kinds of aircraft including vintage warbirds like a Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, Harvard T6, etc.  They are appreciated by pilots and aviation enthusiasts who may build a collection of them. 

Our Pick
Ultimate Pilot'S Operating Handbook - Robinson R44

Ultimate Pilot’s Operating Handbook – Robinson R44

This book expands the information the factory provided pilot’s operating handbook (POH) gives and provides valuable information for pilots flying or going to fly the Robinson R-44. Whether you are a student pilot getting to know the R-44 or an experienced pilot reviewing content for recency or biannual check rides this Handbook will provide the information you need. It features and explains the main content of the POH giving a more detailed and in-depth description about the Systems, the Performance and the Limitations of the Robinson R-44 helicopter.

Aviator Sunglasses

As a rookie student pilot, even if you don’t always feel like Tom Cruise in “Top Gun” when you walk toward the Cessna 152 parked on the airport’s apron, at least a pair of aviator sunglasses will look the part and hide those nervous eyes.   Apart from looking cool though, aviator sunglasses have a practical purpose.  Glare from the sun in the cockpit can be distracting and also quite tiring if it’s persistent, so sunglasses are essential accessories for pilots.  A spare pair of sunglasses would be a welcome addition to your aviator friend’s gear.

Our Pick
Pilot Polarised Sunglasses For Men &Amp; Women

Pilot Polarised Sunglasses For Men & Women

With classical curvilinear shape and double bridge between the brows, these polarised sunglasses men are some of the most comfortable and stylish sunglasses to be had.

An Aviation Book (hardback, Kindle, audio)

With over 100 years of aviation history to draw upon, there is no shortage of books, both fiction and non-fiction.  Large, coffee table editions containing prints of historic moments in aviation never go out of style.  First hand accounts of aerial battles, autobiographies and biographies of pilots, and aviation fiction provide subjects to fill a library of books with the common theme of aviation.  If space is limited then Kindle or audio books are another option. 

Our Pick
The Aircraft Book

The Aircraft Book: The Definitive Visual History

Uncover the engineering behind more than 800 aircraft models, from military jets to commercial planes. This visual history book captures the fascinating story of aeroplanes and aviation, and how this groundbreaking discovery has influenced the 21st Century.

The Aircraft Book is filled with stats, facts and photographs that create a visual tour and allows you to see inside key commercial and military aircraft models from the exterior to the cockpit. Aviation enthusiasts will also be captivated by the manufacturer of aircraft engines and how famous models like the Boeing and Lockheed became household names.

Aviation Jewellery

Next in our list of gifts for pilots is aviation jewellery.  This includes things like cufflinks in the style of biplanes, a set of PPL wings, or perhaps a collector’s item like a badge from a particular regiment or squadron.  You can buy necklaces with an airliner, propeller, or a single engined piston prop aircraft, or a pair of earrings.  The list is endless and there are plenty of fine examples.

Our Pick
Airplane Necklace

Airplane Necklace

An airplane necklace for the Flight Attendand or Aviatrix/Aviator in your life. The ideal traveler gift for flight staff airline worker.
Chain length 17” (43cm) +1.97” (5cm) extension
Comes in a high quality velvet jewellery pouch.

Aviation Furniture & Aviation Memorabilia

Reclaimed and repurposed aircraft parts have become very popular in recent years.  One of the growth areas is the creation of aviation themed furniture.  The internal workings of jet engines have been turned into coffee tables of various sizes. The flaps and wing sections of larger aircraft have been turned into desks and dining tables.  If the aircraft is rare or historic in any way then this can push up the price significantly. Visit events like the Goodwood Revival and you’ll find several stalls selling this type of furniture.

Aviation memorabilia is often included in the selection of items for sale at such locations.  This includes things like memorabilia from defunct airlines and items of equipment used by pilots in previous generations of air travel and general aviation. 

Our Pick
Concorde Image

Framed Concorde First & Last Flights Montage

A classic photo from Home of Legends, where they specialise in historic prints of your favourite team, great sporting moments, the world of aviation, steam trains and more.

An Aviation Watch

An aviation watch may be a treasured fashion accessory for the non-aviator as well as for pilots of various types. They range from those costing a few hundred pounds to several thousand.  They are often designed around a certain aircraft theme or produced in commemoration of historic events. Your gift of a pilot watch may be used in the cockpit but it could also be a watch used when not flying, as a dress watch, or just to illustrate the wearer’s interest in and love of aviation. 

Our Pick
Avi-8 Men'S 42Mm Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph

AVI-8 Men’s 42mm Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph

A tribute to arguably the most iconic plane from the WW2 era. The Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph is characterised by a simplicity that echoes the design of its namesake. Clean, bold lines surround the dial on which the colours and graphics celebrate the fighter plane’s simple but striking motif that identified the Hawker Hurricane.

Flight Sim Software

If you can remember as far back as the first Microsoft Flight Simulator you’ll remember how pixelated it was, and therefore how far flight sims have developed and improved since then.  They are incredibly realistic and detailed, giving the aviation enthusiasts or pilots the ability to appreciate the aircraft types without any of the responsibilities and anxieties associated with learning to fly the real thing.  However, check your intended gift recipients PC or Mac first.  Some of these flight sims require a lot of hard drive space and RAM to run at their best. 

Our Pick
Gift Ideas For Pilots - Microsoft Flight Simulator Standard Edition

Microsoft Flight Simulator Standard Edition | Digital code for PC and Xbox Series X | S

  • Microsoft Flight Simulator Playable on Windows 10 and on Xbox Series X | S
  • From light planes to wide-body jets, fly highly detailed and accurate aircraft in the next generation of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Travel the world in amazing detail with over 2 million cities, 1.5 billion buildings, real mountains, roads, trees, rivers, animals, traffic, and more
  • Fly day or night with live real-time weather including accurate wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, rain, and lighting

A Flying Lesson (with a difference)

The pilot in your life would really appreciate a flying lesson in an aircraft in which they have never flown before.  Even the most experienced aviators would be pleasantly surprised by the thought of flying a completely different aircraft and they would thank you for putting so much thought into finding and booking a flight for them.  If you’re not sure then the gift could be a voucher for a flight so that they have the flexibility to choose their own flight at a selection of airfields and in a variety of aircraft. Typical flying gifts of this type include a short flight in a vintage biplane like a Tiger Moth, a flight in a gyrocopter, or what is for many the ultimate flying experience, a flight in a Spitfire

Our Pick
Flight In A Spitfire Over The English Channel
Flight In A Spitfire Over The English Channel

Flight in a Spitfire over the English Channel

Book the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime flight in a historic, vintage Spitfire TR9. Fly over the English Channel on a 20-minute round trip!

A Training Course

Finally, the last in our latest list of gifts for pilots is a training course.  Your aviator friend or family member may be harbouring dreams of extending their range of skills or perhaps they haven’t yet realised their full potential.  Buying them the gift of a training course will give them a new goal to aim for and will persuade them to begin something that they had been putting off.  If you have deeper pockets this could be a sequence of flying lessons leading to a new rating, or if your budget won’t stretch that far, it could be a theory course.  

Our Pick
Cockpit Instruments

Instrument Rating Made Easy

  • Our online ground school will help you get your Instrument Rating so you can fly into rough conditions and gain additional privileges.
  • 20 hours of short, easy to watch videos.
  • You’re guaranteed to pass the test or you’ll get $175 and a full refund.
  • Beautiful animations and graphics.
  • Free Instructor Endorsement.
Check Price on Pilot Institute


As an aviator, what’s the best gift someone could give you, or that you have ever received?  This list of 13 gifts for pilots is by no means comprehensive and there are many more options out there.  I will cover these in more posts of this type.

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