November 1, 2013
Armchair flying is never more fun than around the holidays, when weather prevents at least parts of this nation from getting into the cockpit. So here are some more ideas of what to give yourself—or the other pilot in your life—to keep him or her from flying withdrawal.
Aircraft manuals, FAR/AIM, “How To” books—give it a break and give these charming and inspiring authors a chance:
And there’s more:
Amazon.com and others
Short of sleeping in their hangars, pilots will eventually have to leave their aircraft and go home. Or do they? Factory Direct Models has a miniature version of your airplane, small enough to take home and display in a favorite place. www.factorydirectmodels.com
Nice and shiny things make people happy. Airplanes are nice and shiny. Especially when they dangle from a pilot’s ear or adorn the wrist. Find them on these websites: Aviationjewelry.com and Aviationjewelrydesign.com
Pilots love the smell of avgas in the morning, but it’s not what they dab behind their ears when they go on a date:
Available at the cosmetics counter of your favorite department store.
A bottle of Crème de Violette is a wonderful gift for an aviator, because it’s the main ingredient of the—believe it or not—Aviation Cocktail. It is said that the drink was created in New York in the early twentieth century by Hugo Ensslin, head bartender at the Hotel Wallick. So to round it all off, here’s the recipe: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice shake two ounces gin, one-quarter ounce fresh lemon juice, one-quarter ounce of maraschino liqueur, and a dash of Crème de Violette. Strain into cocktail glass.
Order through your local liquor store.
AOPA Pilot reviews aviation gadgets all year round. Pilots buy gadgets all year round. So we could just give you a list of the products we’ve reviewed in the past. Instead, here are gifts with no plugs or wires attached, but nevertheless designed to make the pilot in your life happy this holiday season.
Pilots love to show their connection to aviation outside the FBO, so what better than to surprise them with a T-shirt, sweatshirt, or hat? Check out these well-made T-shirts with a variety of aviation themes. Looking to signal your membership? AOPA’s got you covered with our own logo-branded merchandise.
Available through Red Canoe, or the AOPA store.
It’s the holidays! Turn off the training programs on your electronic devices and use them for the movies you’ll give or get as presents. They all have airplanes in them:
Every pilot has his/her flight bag. As most of the stuff we’re lugging around in them has been transferred to tablets, flight bags might change and we’ll wait until that happens. Meanwhile there’s something you cannot load on to your tablet—the clothes you’ll have to pack for that weekend trip. Give your pilot one of those and off you go.
For the bush pilot: Red Canoe
For the stylish weekend traveler: Tumi
A very special gift for the mutt pilot—protect your pet’s ears when you fly with them. Give them one of these wonderful ear muffs and they’ll enjoy flying with you even more.
Available through Mutt Muffs.
Toys are just for kids, right? Even if they’re aviation-themed, right? Right. Go ahead, we won’t tell. Here are some toys we found fun: Disney Planes “Racing Dusty” remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters
Available through the Disney Store and Amazon.
As far as movies go, AOPA Pilot staff is of one mind about two movies – Airplane and Top Gun came in head to head. “I love the way they sneak in stuff for nerdy pilots,” Editor Ian Twombly says about Airplane.
Other movies that staff watched repeatedly are Flight of the Intruder, which is based on a novel by Stephen Coonts, a frequent contributor to AOPA Pilot, and deals with United States Navy aviators flying the Grumman A-6 Intruder, as well as Always, a romantic drama around aerial firefighting, and Twelve O’Clock High, a movie about pilots flying bombing missions against Nazi Germany.
Gone but not forgotten were a couple of TV shows, among them Wings with its quirky stories around Massachusetts-based Sandpiper Air (even though to some this show’s only redeeming feature was that it highlighted general aviation). Senior Editor Al Marsh remembered Sky King, a show revolving around a rancher flying his Cessna above the Arizona plains, and Editor in Chief Tom Haines opted for Baa Baa Black Sheep, a story based on the experiences of United States Marine Corps pilot Pappy Boyington.
As far as books go, there’s only one winner. Everybody voted for Ernest K. Gann’s Fate is the Hunter. Well, almost all. Technical Editor Jill Tallman liked Rinker Buck’s Flight of Passage, an autobiographical account about two brothers flying their Piper Cub from New Jersey to California.
Contributors Barry Schiff and Rod Machado didn’t hesitate to disclose their favorites. Barry Schiff’s selection included The Spirit of St. Louis. Schiff thinks, “Jimmy Stewart does an outstanding job of bringing Charles Lindbergh to life.” A close second is the Battle of Britain. “Each is an outstanding portrait of a particularly significant and well-detailed slice of aviation history,” Schiff explains.
Rod Machado is a humorist, so it’s no surprise that his favorite movie is Airplane, because it made him “laugh like crazy.”
When it comes to books, Barry Schiff reads Fate is the Hunter again and again, while to Rod Machado Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery “stands out as one of the most important aviation books I’ve ever read.”
So what’s your favorite movie, book, or otherwise? Please let us know.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.