Christmas is such a fun time of year. All of the good food, friends, family, and beautiful weather. Okay, so having your travel plans ruined because of the weather sucks, but once you get home and you can enjoy it from inside your warm house it is one of the most beautiful times of the year.
One of my favorite parts of the year is shopping. I actually hate shopping, but there is just something awesome about coming up with gifts for people that you know they will love. Some people are easier than others, and my wife will tell you that I am one of those difficult people.
I don’t really know why she feels that way. As you will see over the next twelve wonderful days of Avgeek Christmas, there are plenty of gifts big/small, cheap/expensive, practical/fun that would bring joy to just about any avgeek. I will do my best to provide gifts at various cost levels, as well as various levels of practicality because, let’s be honest, sometimes it is just fun to dream about that really expensive stuff.
On the first day of Avgeek Christmas my true love gave to me: Aviation Toys. Tons of fun for all the girls and boys. Sorry, I promise I won’t try to keep rhyming.
Man the options for aviation toys are almost limitless. There are models that can be built, die-cast models that look nice, and RC aircraft that can provide hours of fun. The last two are where I would focus for most of the avgeeks out there.
There are tons of different models out there for just about every type of aircraft and every airline that exists, or has existed. If your avgeek has a favorite that you know of then a simple search of Google or Amazon may find you what you are looking for. If you aren’t sure may I make a few suggestions of my favorites.
While I have grown to like airliners more in my recent years, I have always been a sucker for military planes new and old, but especially old. As far as military planes go, I would argue that there is no plane more iconic than the P-51 Mustang. It was the premier fighter of WWII and is often the first aircraft from that era to come to mind. It was also the aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in their historic actions. For a fighter that is a little more modern you can’t go wrong with the F/A-18 Hornet, F-35 Lightning II, or F-15E Strike Eagle.
P-51 Mustang like those flown by the Tuskegee Airmen
F/A-18 Hornet Flown by The Blue Angels
F-35 Lightning II
F-15E Strike Eagle
Maybe fighters aren’t your thing, and you prefer the big heavy military aircraft. Once again going with military aircraft the most iconic bomber would have to be the B-17 Flying Fortress of Memphis Belle fame. Though equally impressive is the B-25 Mitchell Bombers used by Jimmy Doolittle on his famous raid of Japan. For more modern military heavies and bombers I of course am biased towards the C-130H model, but I am also always in awe of the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers.
B-17 Super Fortress
B-25 Mitchell flown by the Doolittle Raiders
As I mentioned before, there are countless different models of commercial aircraft for just about every airline, but here are my two favorites. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is simply a beautiful piece of American engineering. It looks and sounds incredible. I look forward to the day I actually get to fly on one. The Boeing 747 is arguably the most iconic airliner of the modern era. Even an inexperienced avgeek can pick out a 747, and they are simply wonderful. They are also the favorite of the AvQueen herself Benet Wilson. For the older airliners my favorite is the DC-3 because of how it embodies aviation of that era.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Boeing 747 w/ cutaway
DC-3 in Delta Livery
Now having some nice models for the display case or mantle is great, but if your avgeek is more of a hands-on type of guy or gal than you may be better served by something that actually flies. I will admit that there is a dramatic range of prices in this area so make sure you pick something that they will actually use, and if you aren’t sure, then stick with something cheaper.
One of the most prevalent aviation toys that has become extremely commonplace in recent years are remote-controlled helicopters. As I mentioned, these can range in price from $20 all the way up to hundreds, and probably even thousands of dollars if you are looking to go all-in. They even have some that shoot water and others that shoot little missiles. For a little extra challenge you can buy a set that comes with a helo and anti-aircraft missiles that can be controlled by itself or by another player. Or go for the ultimate challenge with these helos that have lasers that render your opponents aircraft inoperable. Like I said, hours of fun and entertainment.
Helos like this go for as little as $20
This helo has a water cannon.
This AH-1 Cobra shoots two missiles.
Control the helo or Anti-aircraft missiles.
Dogfight with a laser.
When it comes to RC airplanes there are really too many options to list, and all levels of quality and ability. I would once again suggest either a Google search, or browsing around Amazon’s RC Airplane section. Just don’t go too crazy without really knowing what your avgeek can handle.
No matter how old or young your avgeek is, there is bound to be a toy that they would enjoy. It is amazing how much enjoyment you can get from some of these simple toys. If you have trouble finding a particular model or livery, let me know and I will do my best to help.
In the coming days I will take you through some of the more serious Avgeek Christmas gifts so please come back every day between now and Christmas and see what else there is out there to make this Christmas the merriest one yet for your avgeek.
12 Days of Avgeek Christmas:
Day 1: Aircraft Models and RC Toys
Day 2: Aviation Books and Guides
Day 3: Aviation Apps and Flight Simulators
Day 4: Flight Lessons
Day 5: Headsets
Day 6: Bags and Kneeboards
Day 7: Sunglasses and Watches
Day 8: Handheld GPS
Day 9: Handheld Radio
Day 10: Cameras and Video Recorders
Day 11: Random Aviation Accessories
Day 12: Airplane