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50 Best Gift Ideas For Pilots

Updated
If you believe in the power of flight, then read on to find the most awesome gift ideas for pilots.

Do you know a commercial airline pilot, an Airforce aviator, a weekend flying junkie, or all-around aviation enthusiasts? And one that needs a great gift?

They likely can’t get enough of any tool to help them along with their flights. Pilots often love their specialized travel gear, anything and everything aviation-related, and, of course, funny pilot-themed items to let the world know that they are a pilot and/or love flying planes.

Look ahead for some of the most helpful and gratifying gifts for pilots this side of the horizon.


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50 Cool Gift Ideas For Pilots

Up, up, and away with 50 of the best aviation gifts for pilots that will keep them flying high.

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Whiskey Decanter Airplane Set

  • Drink Up In The Sky

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Aviation, Airplane

For the aviation enthusiast, there is this stylish and functional whiskey decanter safely housed in a model airplane, complete with two hand-blown glasses. The liquor is even extracted via a spout on the bottom of the plane. A great way to honor the beauty inherent in airplanes, especially when they house a fine whiskey.


Born to Fly Hoodie

  • Learning to Fly

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Airplane, Cute

A wonderful choice as a gift for a burgeoning pilot or aviation school newbie, this Born To Fly hoodie will keep them warm and show off a classic bush plane. They’ll be able to toss this comfortable gift into their flight bag, luggage or wear it proudly as they clock up the hours towards becoming an official pilot.


Pilot License Plate Frame

  • Rather Be Flying

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Cool, Airplane

When a pilot has to run an errand, they have to get behind the wheel of a…car. What a downer. Help them deal with the hours spent outside of the cockpit with this funny and apt license plate frame that reads “Life Is Better Flying.” It fits nicely on either license plate, so others will know who the pilot is whether they’re coming or going.


Pilot Kneeboard

  • Take A Knee In The Cockpit

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Travel, Aviation

A pilot’s kneeboard is a lifesaver. The board is used to place over the knee so that the pilot can have use of their iPad, flight book, or other materials during flight. This particular kneeboard is more compact, so it works great for an aviation student in training, helicopters, and planes with the control stick located between the legs. Make a pilot happy and more organized at the same time!


Airplane Bottle Opener

  • Open Up With A Plane

  • $$$$$
  • Cute, Cool, Airplane

This airplane bottle opener is a great way to add a party favor to a wedding when one or two pilots are tying the knot. The shiny little plane will open bottles or just look adorable on the desk of a pilot, air force veteran, or aviation enthusiast.


Runway Light Table Lamp

  • A Smooth Landing For This Lamp

  • $$$$$
  • Home, Aviation, Cool

This is a gift for aviation lovers who crave something beautiful for their home that reflects their love for flying. This handcrafted table lamp is made from an actual vintage runway light that shined so planes could safely hit the ground. The gift for pilots is a heartfelt way for a retiring pilot to give a good home to a retired beacon of light.


Ray Ban Pilot Sunglasses

  • Look Like A Pilot

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Accessories, Aviation

It might seem a cliche to wear aviator sunglasses as a pilot, but it is a necessary part of any pilot’s travel kit. With 100% UV protection (which is necessary since UV rays increase the higher up from the ground one ascends), the sunglasses also reduce the fatigue associated with the hard sunlight one might find at 10,000 feet. Oh, and they’ll look as cool as they dreamed they would when becoming a pilot.


Top Gun Strategy Board Game

  • Fast Flyers In Training

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Home, Funny

When a child has a pilot for a dad or a mom (or just dreams of becoming a pilot), they will enjoy this awesome Top Gun board game for players 10 and up. The whole family can take on the well-known characters in the film and team up to complete combat training. A fun night for any aviation family.


Retro Airplanes Curtain

  • Vintage Planes Are Good Company

  • $$$$$
  • Unique, Cute, Home

For the true aviation lover comes this darling retro-style blackout curtain for any room at home. The kicker? The curtain has a bunch of cute vintage airplanes flying here and there. Whether a child’s bedroom, a guest room for a pilot friend, or a whole home decked out in aviation curtains, this airplane-themed home decor is a sweet way to add a little flight to any home surrounding.


Aviation Clusters Pint Pack

  • For A Home Pilot Bar

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Home, Airplane

A good gift for a pilot dad or husband, this set of pint glasses and matching coasters are a wonderful addition to any home bar. The glass is durable and each glass has a different aviation-themed design, including an altitude meter and a soaring plane. Your favorite pilot will enjoy the look and feel of the glasses and be thankful that the coasters will keep things nice and tidy.

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Vintage Propeller Wall Decor

  • Spinning Propellers At Home

  • $$$$$
  • Home, Cool, Airplane

A very cool, retro way to decorate the home of a pilot, soon-to-be pilot, or wannabe pilot. The vintage crafted metal airplane propeller houses a well-designed wall clock. The sleek industrial look adds a touch of aviator to any room in the house and represents the pilot profession with style.


Airplane Night Light

  • Light Up The Night Skies

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Gadgets, Airplane

An amazing 3D lamp that acts as a night light, this gorgeous airplane image shines in a soft, golden light to illuminate the bedside of the child of a pilot or the pilot themselves. Keep a lover of the skies dreaming of being up and away and into the clouds, even when they are stuck at home. This 3D visual airplane light is a really meaningful gift for aviation lovers everywhere.


Pilot Bag Flight Bag

  • Packed And Ready

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Aviation, Airplane

There is hardly any gift for pilots out there that holds as much importance as a good flight bag. If pockets were like assistants, this flight bag would provide an entire team of well-organized assistance to any pilot before entering the cockpit. With ample compartments for the large (headsets, flight plan) to the small (flashlight, pens), the bag is a handsome, durable way to make sure each flight is a success.


Spark Plug Plane Paperweight

  • Park Each Plane On Papers

  • $$$$$
  • Home, Unique, Cute

A unique little addition to any home, this paperweight for home office is made from a spark plug and other recycled materials to form the world’s most adorable little airplane. What they get is the perfect quirky gift idea for pilots who need a little help keeping their old flight plans from blowing away.


Resealable Disposable Urinal

  • Prepared For Anything In-Flight

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Unique, Gadgets

A pilot’s worst nightmare is being trapped in a situation where bathrooms are not present or working. Even so, any pilot’s mind will be at ease when they can’t stop laughing long enough to worry. The laughter will begin the moment you give your favorite pilot this disposable urinal. The “urinal” turns any liquid waste both odorless and non-toxic. A gag gift with possible purpose!


Travel Dopp Kit

  • Pilots Need Grooming Too

  • $$$$$
  • Airplane, Travel, Accessories

A Dopp bag may be just what the pilot in your life needs these days. Tactical tools aside, any commercial pilot who flies on a regular basis needs a good Dopp bag, otherwise known as a grooming or toiletry bag. This hanging bag is built to last with multiple compartments and refillable bottles, so any pilot will be ready for whatever they’ve got planned after the flight.


Airplane Bookends

  • Flying High With Books

  • $$$$$
  • Home, Airplane, Aviation

Where does a pilot or aviation lover keep all of their favorite aeronautical books? If you’ve noticed a messy pile of books in their home, you can add a little flying style to their collection with these homey airplane bookends. Made of wood and pewter, the bisected biplane will improve any book collection and show any pilot that you care about their books just as much as you care about them.


Emergency Survival Kit

  • Safety Above All

  • $$$$$
  • Gadgets, Airplane, Travel

Safety is always in the back of a pilot’s mind. Even flying for the best commercial airlines doesn’t render any pilot immune from the possibility of an emergency situation. One of the most useful gift ideas for pilots that includes multiple components is this emergency survival gift. Including everything from a military knife, wire saw, compass, and so much more, this kit will keep a pilot busy and prepared.


Personalized Pilot Tumbler

  • Personalized For Pilot

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Cute, Accessories

A good way to show a pilot that you want them to have a comfortable flight is to provide them with a personalized high-flying airplane tumbler. Engraved with their name, the tumbler will keep their favorite beverage hold or cold. They will make sure not to forget themselves or their airplane tumbler when next deplaning.


Mechanical Paper Plane Launcher

  • Beauty Meets Plane

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Airplane, Home

For the aviator who craves the artisan quality of a well-built plane, these mechanical paper plane launchers leave the folded pieces of paper made as a child behind. Instead, these planes are exquisite enough to keep in any pilot’s home or have a fun afternoon setting them up and launching them into the air.

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Pilot Aviation Headset

  • A Pilot Must Have

  • $$$$$
  • Airplane, Gadgets, Aviation

Any pilot worth their salt is only as dependable as their headset. If your boyfriend, husband, or loved one is just finishing training, starting them off with a top-notch headset is the best gift you can offer. This aviation headset is ideal for noise reduction and for being heard clearly over the mic. Comfort and ability are key and this headset will prepare any new or experienced pilot for triumphant flights to come.


SEIKO Men's Pilot Watch

  • A Wrist And A Flight

  • $$$$$
  • Gadgets, Cool, Travel

A well-crafted wristwatch is the secret weapon of any good pilot. This Seiko pilot watch is an accomplished chronograph that features both a gorgeous display and can be utilized as a stopwatch. The dependable Seiko name and quartz movement will sit perfectly on any pilot’s wrist, help calculate flight speeds, and guide them through all kinds of skies with classic style.


Airplane Bottle Holder

  • For A Snazzy Pilot’s Bar

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Home, Plane

A lovely addition to any bar, this silver nickel bottle holder in the shape of an airplane fits nicely between glasses and bottles to improve the look and feel of any aviation lover’s home bar. Visitors and guests will love to talk about and touch the airplane that is holding whatever bottle of wine is on display. Add a little airplane style to every bar and watch the fun begin.


Pilot Wall Sign

  • Spell Out The Rules

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Cute, Home

Most pilots have learned to have a good sense of humor. Let them know you appreciate them and make them laugh at the same time with a pilot wall sign that lets all who read it know the rules of being a pilot, including “the pilot is ready when he is ready,” as well as many others. This wall sign will remind all that pilots are just people who know how to fly planes!


Vintage Airplanes Patent Prints

  • The Art of Planes

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Home, Airplane

Any active or former private in the air force will love this tasteful set of six prints of vintage military airplanes. The high-quality paper and hand-crafted designs will leave the pilot you know, speechless at the retro power of their multiple details. Add some vintage style to the home of any current or former pilot, military or commercial with this homage to the great fighter and pursuit planes of their day.


Tactical Flashlight

  • A Light In The Sky

  • $$$$$
  • Gadgets, Accessories, Aviation

The ultimate in flashlights for a pilot, whether in the cockpit or stuck in an uncomfortable situation on the ground, this tactical flashlight has it all. A red light meant for seeing flight controls when there is no light, night vision, and a zoom that is adjustable will all keep any pilot prepared for the unexpected with confidence and know how.


Pilot Handheld Radio

  • Communication Machine

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Gadgets, Aviation

Any new pilot will tell you that they need few things as much as a good quality handheld radio. Flying a plane is no small thing and, when things go wrong, a solid means of communication is held up above all things. This handheld radio is easy to use, easy to see with backlit buttons, and offers great audio when speaking, listening, and using to make it successfully through every flight.


First Flight Throw Pillow

  • First Flight At Home

  • $$$$$
  • Home, Cool, Unique

There aren’t many places at home where a pilot can show off their love of planes better than a throw pillow, is there? This throw pillow includes a gorgeous, blueprint-style design of a plane that settles into any design style with gusto. The handmade charm of this pillow will serve as a reminder that pilots, whether male or female, have great taste in planes and in home decor.


Pilot Survival Knife

  • A Knife For Every Challenge

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Gadgets, Airplane

The right knife can mean the difference between a bad situation and a bad situation made better. This survival knife is made for the pilot’s life, able to act as both a window breaker and seatbelt cutter. It also contains an LED flashlight and is as dependable as a good friend who knows how to survive the most harrowing situations. The great design and build will become any pilot’s best friend.


Novelty Airplane Ice Cube Trays

  • A Plane In Every Drink

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Home, Cute

You can’t get a pilot or lover of planes enough plane-themed items for their home or bar. These airplane ice cube trays are an adorable way to pep up an ordinary beverage and make it into something more exciting and more…aeronautical. The silicone molds make solid ice cubes that will have a plane soaring through any beverage it dips its wings into.

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Airplane Tie

  • Wearing Airplanes

  • $$$$$
  • Cute, Funny, Accessories

Is there any way an airline pilot can work his love for flying into his wedding day? There is now with this thoughtful gift for pilots, a necktie full of airplanes soaring around its stitched fabric. Beyond the groom, this tie makes a wonderful addition to any number of groomsmen’s suits. Support a pro-aviation wedding today with this sweet, quality airplane lovers’ tie.


Pilot Parking Sign

  • Parking For Planes

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Home, Airplane

Another whimsical gift for pilots, this pilot parking sign is made of metal and can hang in any wannabe pilot’s room, especially if that one-day pilot is a teenage boy or child. You can’t go wrong with a classic “pilot parking only” sign, which also makes a great accent to an office, den, or man cave.


Flight Computer

  • First In Computing

  • $$$$$
  • Gadgets, Aviation, Accessories

Of the few indispensables for a new pilot or one who is depended upon by others (which is all pilots), a first-class flight computer can mean the difference between a good flight and a great one. This flight computer has multiple functions yet remains easy to use. Time zones are covered and extras include a timer and stopwatch. The computer can even be given to use as a tool for the commercial pilot’s exam.


Fixed Navigational Plotter

  • Every Mile Accounted For

  • $$$$$
  • Gadgets, Accessories, Aviation

Every pilot, whether military, commercial, or private needs to keep a solid navigational plotter in their flight bag. This plotter is durable and uses a scale reference to calculate miles. A practical tool for pilots, this navigational plotter will keep their eye on the horizon with preciseness and clarity.


Security Cable Luggage Lock

  • Security In Travel

  • $$$$$
  • Travel, Accessories, Gadgets

Pilots are still travelers and have the same needs as the rest of us when it comes to packing their bags and securing what is precious to them from destination to destination. A well-built luggage lock will keep all that they hold dear safe and sound until touchdown and beyond. This cable luggage lock is made from zinc alloy and uses a 3 dial combination to ensure a secure journey through the skies.


Coccyx Seat Cushion

  • A Comfy Seat In The Cockpit

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Airplane, Travel

The one drawback of being a pilot is having to sit in the same, sometimes uncomfortable chair for hours and hours on end. The hips, low back, and glutes all suffer from this seated monotony. There’s no shame in getting your favorite pilot a well-made seat cushion to comfort their coccyx during flight. The cooling gel and non-slip surface will keep their muscles and nerves in good shape until deboarding the plane.


Pilot Off Duty Socks

  • Off Duty

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Home, Cute

Every pilot needs their off time. Whenever they are home kicking their feet up in their private office or in front of the television, you can make sure they have the right pair of socks on. A wonderful Christmas or birthday gift, these “Do Not Disturb / This Pilot Is Off Duty” socks speak volumes for those hard-working flyers who just need a little time to decompress before taking to the skies again.


Helicopter Whiskey Decanter

  • Helicopter Cocktails

  • $$$$$
  • Home, Cool, Unique

If you know a helicopter aficionado that maintains a well-stocked bar, then this whiskey decanter is for you (for them). Attached to the spout inside the attractive globe-shaped decanter is a glass helicopter seemingly soaring upwards. To go along with the well-designed decanter are four glass with a silhouette of a world map on each one. The world can belong to helicopter pilots, one drink at a time.


Airplane Wine Cork

  • Planes Put To Good Use

  • $$$$$
  • Aviation, Home, Cool

Lovers of planes and aviation might agree that you can’t have too many airplane themed objects in the home. Add another into the life of your lover of flying with this wine cork shaped like an airplane. A quirky addition to any home, the cork turns by twisting its propeller and is comfortable to use. Each bottle will remind them of their favorite thing in the world: airplanes.


Scratch Map

  • Map Of Travels

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Home, Unique

Each pilot likes to keep a log of where they’ve been. They can’t always open up a journal or revisit each location all the time. This colorful map is so special because it allows the user to scratch off each physical location that they’ve stepped foot onto. It can be displayed on any wall, so the importance of each place will never be forgotten no matter how much time has passed in-between visits.

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Continental Airlines iPhone Case

  • Airline Loyalty Case

  • $$$$$
  • Airplane, Accessories, Cool

Whether you know someone who is an active pilot, a retired commercial pilot for Continental Airlines, or a frequent flyer/aviation lover who just lives and breathes airline-themed gifts, you’ve got a terrific little present with this Continental Airlines case for iPhones. Able to be customized for multiple models, the case is a stylish way to show off a love of flying.


Pilot Gift T-Shirt

  • Wearing It Like A Captain

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Cool, Travel

Every solid profession needs an equally solid (and funny) t-shirt. This “Because I’m The Captain – That’s Why” t-shirt is one of the easiest gift ideas for pilots around. Lightweight and breathable, the plane design is classic, and the shirt is a great way for any pilot to let the world know that they are the captain of their ship (when it’s a plane).


Boeing Gift Wrap

  • The Gift Before The Gift

  • $$$$$
  • Cool, Unique, Airplane

Is it important to get the perfect gift for a pilot or aviation fan? Yes, but the gift could truly knock it out of the sky when it’s wrapped inside this brilliant Boeing gift wrap. The strong gift wrapping paper displays the dimensions of a Boeing plane in all its glory. A double whammy for airplane lovers, the specialized gift wrap may just end up being their favorite part of the present.


First Class Travel Kit

  • For Flying Off Duty

  • $$$$$
  • Airplanes, Cool, Travel

Even pilots need to fly commercial sometimes as a passenger. With their usual hyper-organization and attention to detail, they will appreciate a gift that prepares them for the great challenge of sleeping in a plane seat and keeping the crying babies at bay. An eye mask, earplugs, and lots of other extras make this travel kit a great way to improve airline travel for pilots when they are not at the helm.


Powershuttle Travel Case

  • Securing All Electronics

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Travel, Airplane

Just as a pilot needs a flight bag and secure luggage, they carry a bunch of power cords, chargers, batteries, and the like for their many aviation gadgets. This travel case is focused on storing and organizing all manner of electronics for travel. Why force a pilot to reach around various bags when they can have one all to themselves for any of their electronic accessories and even charge a phone when in flight?


Utility Bracelet

  • Captain Fix Anything

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Gadgets, Unique

Some bracelets look good. This utility bracelet looks good and serves as a multipurpose tool, ideal for any pilot when taking off into the blue. They will be thankful you were thinking of their safety when they see this bracelet that has both a screwdriver and a knife that can be used for detailed work or just opening an envelope. Everything is in one place and it looks pretty cool too.


Pilot Aviation Headset Bag

  • Where Headsets Can Call Home

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Aviation, Travel

A good flight bag is one thing in a pilot’s life, but wait until you see the surprised, delighted look on their face when you give them a bag made just for their beloved headset. This “Pilot” embossed aviation bag for an aviator’s headset is the ideal place to keep the precious pilot cargo. With padding to offer protection and pockets for organization, the pilot you know will be set for years to come.


Plane KeyChain

  • Keys To The Plane (Or Car)

  • $$$$$
  • Accessories, Airplane, Funny

A keychain is a nice trinket to add to any gift basket, but this keychain is made solely for pilots. It reads, “My Other Car Is A Plane.” When having to be forced behind the wheel of a car, they will love the fact that you knew how much they wished to be at the helm of an airplane.


Altimeter Wall Clock

  • Bring The Cockpit Home

  • $$$$$
  • Home, Unique, Aviation

A clock hangs on a wall in a home, but does it reflect the love for flying of its owner? This clock does. The Altimeter wall clock is built to look like an actual altimeter found in the cockpit of a plane. It doesn’t actually measure altitude but tells the time at ground level accurately and with an eccentric charm.


Mount for GoPro

  • For the Creative Type Pilot

  • $$$$$
  • Gadgets, Airplane, Cool

Some pilots take the notion of art into the skies with them when they fly. They can use this mount for a GoPro camera and hook it up to the inside or outside of an airplane. The mount is made from super sturdy, aircraft-proof aluminum that will keep GoPro steady and ready to record the ups and downs of the entire journey through the clouds.

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Pilot Gift FAQs

What to Buy Someone Who Wants to be a Pilot?

Inflight Pilot training states that those currently in flight school definitely need to get an iPad with the Garmin Flight and Foreflight pilot apps installed. Also helpful as they earn their hours is a logbook, a kneeboard with pen and paper, and don’t forget the FAA textbooks so they can learn all the tools and tricks of the trade, preferably not while actually flying a plane (1).

What Does Every Pilot Need?

According to ThrustFlight, every pilot needs some basic essentials to help them along their way. They include a great flight bag in which to keep their pilot certificate and medical clearance, a headset, a kneeboard for writing, and non-polarized sunglasses. It really all comes together in a great flight bag and/or piece of luggage where they can pack everything needed safely and in an organized manner (2).

What Do Pilots Bring With Them?

Aviator Tips tells us that a lot of the paperwork normally associated with pilots can now be accessed via an “electronic flight bag,” which includes apps like Foreflight. GPS units also prove invaluable to any pilot. Other items include a navigational plotter, handheld radio, headset, and even a camera for documenting the flight for professional or personal reasons (3).

What Does a Beginner Pilot Need?

Three great starter pilot gifts can include the all-important flight bag, which can hold everything from flashlight and chargers to iPad and kneeboard. Also, the new pilot needs books to keep the studying going long after graduation and a really strong headset that can keep them in communication with the ground at all times (4).

What Is a Good Gift to Get a Private Pilot?

According to Santa Monica Flyers, private pilots need most everything that commercial pilots need, but a great idea might be to buy them an AOPA Membership. AOPA is a government lobby with an indispensable flight planning program. The membership costs $45 and would definitely ease their costs and stresses as they begin professional life as a private pilot (5).

What Is a Good Gift for a Retired Pilot?

When a lifelong pilot decided to stay grounded upon retirement, a wonderful retirement gift would be any that personalizes the gift for the pilot. Everything from a plaque to a mug or a decanter set would be a lovely keepsake that includes the name, rank, or plane of a pilot and offer them a daily reminder of their hours, flights, and miles in the sky (6).

Headshot of Maryana Vestic

About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.