What to get the pilot in your life for Christmas
Well, even though I don’t own one (just can’t seem to drink Steve Jobs’ Kool-Aid), an iPad would be great … but then, of course, you’ve gotta buy your pilot a subscription to Foreflight, the best of the flight planning software programs. Unfortunately for us PC-types, Foreflight ain’t made to work with our machines. Alas. It’s a bunch of money, but, hell, isn’t your pilot worth it?
What else? Well, a good headset is always appreciated. I’m not an ANR (Active Noise Reduction, or noise cancelling, for you non-pilot/new-pilot types) kinda guy, and my hearing proves it, but there are lotsa headsets out there that your pilot would love to have. Bose makes quality noise-cancelling headsets; so does Lightspeed. Me? I used to be a Telex guy, back when they cared about making pilot headsets. (Why Telex? Because that’s what my flight instructor used. Little did I know that he got his for free. When I became an instructor, and over the first few years I was instructing, a half dozen of my students bought Telex headsets. “Why,” I asked them. “Because you wear one,” they all said. Amazing the impact we instructors have. Had I been a mercenary SOB, I coulda made some money getting kickbacks from the local pilot shops. Having a conscience has kept me from making a whole lot more money than I could have. I guess I can thank the Nuns for that. But I digress.) My headset? The basic David Clark lightweight, gel seal. It works great. If you have a problem and send it to them, they’ll repair it and return it, free of charge.
If you’ve got a new pilot at home, a good kneeboard will be appreciated more than you’ll know. I use a “tri-fold” which holds a Sectional chart, two Terminal Area charts, 8 or 10 approach plates (with plastic envelopes), a clip-secured 5×7” scratch pad, a couple of pens … hell, I can even squeeze my cell phone into the thing while I’m flying. Most new pilots think kneeboards are for instrument flying – or something more advanced than their primary training. Horse hockey. A good kneeboard will remove some of the hassles new pilots have. “Where do I write the ATIS down? What was that heading ATC just gave me? What altitude am I supposed to be climbing to? Where’s that airport supposed to be? “ Just buy it. He or she will learn to love it.
A small, simple flashlight would be a great gift, even better if it gives you the option of selecting a red or blue lenses. Bright light in the cockpit damages your pilot’s night vision, and red is the best color choice to help maintain that night vision.
Well, that went fast. I started this in early December and, after a pre-holiday visit to New Yawk Frkng City to spend time with Australian and Least Coast family, I find myself scrambling to finish this on Christmas morning. And, as all of you know, no one has time for blogging on Christmas morning – especially since our new pup, Piper, our old cat, Connor, and my loving wife, Saint Laurel, are wanting to open presents and spread joy.
I wish you all the Happiest Christmas ever. May you be able to share it with loved ones, share the joys of memories of Christmases’ past, and the love of family members here, far, and those who have passed on. May the spirit of the season remind you all to be a little kinder this coming year.