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Bush Pilot

Holiday gift ideas for the small plane pilot in your life

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: July 6, 2016
  • Published December 17, 2012

Alright, look, it's mid-December, Hanukkah is over and Christmas isn't far behind. If you haven't nailed down the perfect holiday gift for that airman or woman in your life yet, now's the time to get cracking.

Here's a list of Flying magazine's top gift ideas (in no particular order) for small plane pilots everywhere. If you can't find what you're looking for here, the ideas may at least get you started on your search.

1. inReach Satellite Communicator: If you're pilot of choice is out of cell-phone range (often the case in most parts of Alaska) than an inReach Satellite Communicator is a great stocking stuffer. At $250 this lightweight, pocket-sized satellite (produced by Yarmouth, Maine-based DeLorme) can be paired wirelessly to an iPhone, iPad or Android device to enable communication via Facebook, Twitter or text.

2. Aviation: A Filmed History: this classic collection of aviation history is straight from the National Archives and available in a boxed set. Much of the content is narrated by some of Hollywood's greatest names and it features historical newsreel footage, documentary featurettes, rare scenes and more. The collection is just under $70 at

3. X-Plane 10 is a video game for all ages. According to Flying Magazine it's "for pilots and pilot hopefuls who would like to spend a little more time perfecting their skills without leaving the comfort of their living room. Priced at $69.99, X-Plane 10 also offers extensive versatility, enabling users to fly in various weather conditions and respond to a variety of systems failures."

4. Sporty's iPad Briefcase is great for any pilot whether they rely on an iPad or not. The case is padded and lined with a soft cloth material. It has a zippered pocket in the front for valuables and an open pocket on the back with slots for pens. The briefcase is a well priced $39.95.

5. BrightLine B10 Classic: Hailed as a versatile travel bag, perfect for flying, the B10 Classic has great features, tons of pockets and will only cost you a $143. Read more and see picture.

6. King Schools Crew Resource Management Course is an online course developed by John and Martha King and designed to help develop a less stressful cockpit environment for professional pilots, but is great for anyone who spends time in a cockpit. The course is $199. Read more.

The heavy hitters

7. Appareo's Stratus Portable Receiver: Looking for a hassle-free in-flight weather receiver that connects wirelessly to an iPad and provides GPS and ADS-B weather straight to the cockpit without a subscription? Then look no further. This gadget, priced at $799, lacks cords and a subscription. Read more.

8. The Jay by Redbird is a fun flight simulator and an all-in-one device for both entertainment and education. It's available from King Schools and will cost you $1,999.

9. Hamilton Khaki Flight Timer watch is a little spendy, but it's worth the investment. This year's model is priced at $1,445 but it has several features pleasing to any pilot including (but not limited to) displays that present ISA temperature at various altitudes and the ability to detail up to 20 flights and close to 100 landings. Read more.

10. Here's the big one: Pipistrel's newly released lightweight, four-place Panthera. If you've got the money this little plane is worth it. Flying magazine writes, "With a price tag beneath $500,000, as well as hybrid and purely electric versions that also are in the works, the Panthera is definitely near the top of our airplane wish list."

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