Sectionals, headsets, kneeboards — all are appropriate gifts for the pilot in your life. If the pilot in your life also has a seaplane rating, gifts appropriate to watercraft operations come into play.
One of the most popular items, say veteran seaplane pilots, are constant-wear life vests. These are less bulky than the ones normally worn on boats, which is a necessity since the aircraft cockpit is a smaller space than the bridge of a boat.
Another good gift for the seaplane pilot in your life — and really any pilot — is a Personal Locator Beacon.
“If you’re flying in the Caribbean or in the remote Canadian outback, these are essential,” says John Zimmerman from Sporty’s Pilot Shop. “Sporty’s has a model that is waterproof and floating, so it’s perfect for seaplane pilots.”
Other popular gifts, say seaplane pilots, are seatbelt cutters just in case you have to get out of the airplane in a hurry. It’s not uncommon for an airplane to flip on to its back when a water landing goes bad, so a rapid exit is a necessity.
You might consider a gift certificate for dual instruction in a seaplane for the pilot who does not own a seaplane of his or her own.
Most businesses that supply seaplane training do not allow for solo flight because of insurance requirements, so people who get their seaplane rating but don’t own a seaplane of their own can’t exercise their skills.
Having a CFI on board satisfies the insurance requirements, and gives the pilot the opportunity to get back on the water.