2020 is almost over (phew) which means it may be time to start holiday shopping for the pilot in your life. We’ve compiled our top 5 aviation gifts that will help end their year on a high note.

1) Flight bag: every pilot has a flight bag that is both a useful tool in the cockpit as well as a repository for all their flying stuff when they aren’t aviating. A good bag is easy to organize and comfortable to carry, and gets bonus points if it is stylish. Flight bags come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, which means personal preferences can be pretty strong. So if you want to surprise someone with a flight bag, you might want to find out which one(s) they really like first.

2) Microsoft Flight Simulator: if you ask a group of 30-50 year old pilots, chances are some of them will say that they got their start by playing around with Microsoft Flight Simulator when they were young. This legendary computer simulator was relaunched in 2020 and by all accounts, it is simply amazing. Note that to run the program, you either need a PC (not a Mac) or an XBox.

3) Handheld radio: There will come a point in every pilot’s flying career when they will be asked if they “have a handheld.” An affirmative “yes I do” fills the responding pilot with pride as they watch their lesser, non handheld radio owning pilots look upon them with jealousy and inner shame. We’re having fun with this one but the point is, a handheld radio is incredibly useful to have and can even serve as a handy backup should an airplane’s radio fail in flight.

4) Pilot watch: Not simply for style, a watch is an incredibly useful aid in the cockpit. Just about everything we do as pilots relies on time whether we are talking about fuel burn or instrument approaches. An accurate, reliable watch provides pilots with an additional resource for monitoring their progress in the air. The right watch not only compliments the cockpit, but it gives pilots a little piece of the cockpit they can take with them wherever they go. New releases from Garmin really up the ante by providing health data (pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation) along with navigation data.

5) Flight time: This appeared on our last holiday gift guide and it will appear on every gift guide we ever publish simply because there is no substitute for time in the air. Flight time may be purchased in the form of gift certificates through Horizon. Simply purchase a certificate for whichever amount you would like and the recipient can apply that amount towards their next lesson. A gift certificate does not have to cover the entire cost of a lesson. Horizon has options in our online store for gift certificates ranging from $50 – $200. If you would like a different amount in your gift certificate, please call our PVD office: 401-736-5115. 

Bonus: if the aviator in your life hasn’t taken their first step towards becoming a pilot, there is no better gift than an introductory flight lesson. Horizon Aviation’s Airman’s Flight is a one-hour introductory flight lesson that will give them their first taste of what being a pilot is really like. The Airman’s Flight is only $199 and can be purchased right on our website or by calling us at 401-736-5115.