Looking for a gift for a fellow pilot or making your own wish list for the holidays? Get inspiration from this collection of unique, aviation-related gifts. Some are Beechcraft or King Air specific, others are just cool gifts any aviation lover would appreciate.
Taxiway light lamp
Sporty’s Pilot Shop, known for its catalogs full of aviation products and supplies, has a Wright Bros. Collection catalog full of aviation-themed gift products for aviation enthusiasts. You’ll find metal and wooden signs, propellers, aircraft models, clocks and other home décor, like the exclusive taxiway light lamp. Built to FAA specifications, the 16-inch lamp is identical to the taxiway lights used at Sporty’s home airport: Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio. The marker cone is made of steel, powder-coated in aviation-approved yellow. sportys.com/wrightbros
Detailed desktop model
Pilot-owned and operated for over 25 years, Factory Direct Models offers 17-inch custom desktop models using manufacturer blueprints and your photographs of the aircraft to cover every intricate detail. Your model will have your paint scheme and tail number, and there’s also an option to get a fully detailed interior that shows your aircraft’s instrument panel, seating configuration, colors and other fine details. factorydirectmodels.com
Parts turned into art
Lance Lockhart, a captain with Southwest Airlines with history flying the Beech 1900 and Beech 99, uses his pilot perspective to create pieces that capture the emotional connection between art and flight. He turns reclaimed aviation parts into art and functional pieces, from key chains made with sheet metal to a PT6 engine turbine coffee table to a wing turned into a bar on wheels for the home or patio. Lockhart makes American flags using sheet metal from repair skins and can customize the stars to be King Air cutouts. One of his most popular gift items is a 12-inch handcrafted collage featuring any three-letter airport code cut out of fuselage skin mounted on reclaimed wood alongside aircraft parts. etsy.com/shop/WyldebyrdArt
A one-of-a-kind flight
What do you give the person who has everything? A one-of-a-kind flight in a historic aircraft. To stay close to home, search online for flight opportunities in your area or consider these: the 1911 Wright B Flyer lookalike at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport (Wright-B-Flyer.org) or check the tour schedule for the only two B-29 Superfortresses still flying: Doc (b-29doc.com) and FiFi (cafb29b24.org).
Stunning fine-art photograph
Paul Bowen, a commercial photographer based in Wichita, Kansas, has been shooting aerial photography since 1972. He has an incredible catalog of beautiful aircraft photographs, most taken while flying in tight formation to achieve his desired shots. He is best known for his vortices aerials, which capture the spinning currents of air produced at the tip of a moving airplane wing. He has King Air 350, B200, C90 and C90B images available for sale as prints and several also available as notecards. airtoair.net
Wing or tail desk
MotoArt takes structures from decommissioned airplanes and turns them into functional office and home furniture. The studio’s website currently features several desks made from Beech 18 tail assemblies, vertical wing stabilizers and wing flaps. The desks feature glass tops to showcase the vintage pieces, which can either be left raw or polished and powder-coated. motoart.com
Genuine propeller art
RT D’Onofrio discovered a warehouse with decades worth of scrap airplane parts from the propeller company his father and grandfather ran, and the treasures launched a passion for melding genuine aircraft relics with modern design. Through his company Plane Pieces, he designs and sells propellers and blades polished or custom painted as well as a large selection of home décor and jewelry – all made with parts from once-airworthy airplanes. Besides propellers, his most popular items are desk clocks made using authentic 1940’s World War II Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine pistons. aviationart.com
Replica vintage propeller décor
A Simpler Time offers budget-friendly replica aviation décor, including a line of exclusive vintage wooden propellers and propeller-themed furniture like wine racks and bar stools. Though not specific to King Airs, the vintage-style general aviation propellers, signs, wall art and gifts are beautifully made. asimplertime.com
Accessories and apparel featuring your airplane
Flyboy Toys turns a photo of your airplane into artwork featuring your design, color and tail number. Then, they’ll use that custom artwork to personalize a variety of items, from signs to mugs to apparel and pillows. Instead of a generic “Beechcraft Parking Only” sign, your sign will feature artwork of your exact airplane. flyboytoys.com
An aviation enthusiast’s bucket list trip
If your gift recipient isn’t fond of “stuff,” then how about organizing a trip that any aviation enthusiast would love? A few destinations to consider: Tullahoma, Tennessee, to visit the Beechcraft Heritage Museum; Dayton, Ohio, to follow in the Wright brothers’ footsteps and explore the world’s largest military aviation museum; Washington, D.C., to explore the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum; Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for EAA AirVenture from July 23-29, 2018. Another idea: keep your eyes open for the location of the King Air Society’s next gathering.