Lynn Nichols, president of Yingling Aviation in Wichita, grew up around pilots, earning his license at an early age.
When he acquired the long-time Cessna affiliate at Mid-Continent Airport in 2000, he knew that the small gift shop wasn’t nearly adequate to meet the needs of most fliers, offering just a few charts, sunglasses and souvenirs. So, in 2001, he decided that part of the major renovation he was undertaking at Yingling would include a transformation of the gift shop into a world-class pilot’s store.
He turned to Lydia Craig, a well-established entrepreneur in her own right, who also happened to be his sister.
“He knew I had a talent for interior design and experience in sales, so he turned the space over to me and told me to ‘turn it into something,'” she recalls. “He said he wanted to call it the ‘Aviators Attic,’ so I created a place that reflected what I thought a pilot’s attic would look like.”
The result is a place that combines memorabilia with sales displays stocked with every gadget a pilot needs – and a lot of stuff he or she would want, too, according to Craig.
The decor sports several hand-built scale model warbirds suspended from the ceiling, a flat screen television, propeller clocks, sheepskin-lined leather jackets and a leather flying helmet and goggles – but none of those are for sale.
What is for sale are holdovers from the gift shop, including aviation books, videos and lots of apparel, supplemented by handheld GPS; David Clark, Telex, Bose, Clarity Aloft and LightSpeed headsets; chocks; static wick covers; wing fuel mats; charts; yolk clips; pitot covers; and flight training materials of all manner and description.
“Our goal is to make the Aviator’s Attic a destination for pilots, not just someplace to browse while your airplane is getting topped off,” Craig noted.
For more information: YinglingAviation.com