A pilot’s first solo is a huge deal in the path towards becoming a licensed pilot and enjoying the freedom of creating your own flight journeys. In aviation tradition, the occasion is usually marked with the instructor cutting off the shirttail from the t-shirt that the student first soloed in.
This tradition is symbolic of the day when the student is cut loose from the instructor’s grip. Often these shirttails are framed and hung on a wall, to be displayed for other students and pilots to see.
Aeroswag, a new aviation e-commerce website, wants to create a new tradition where student pilots can commemorate their first solo with a printed version of the sectional from their home airport onto a number of gift-items, including cell phone cases, coffee mugs, stickers, note-pads, water bottles, and even socks. The idea is that the student pilot can show off their aviation accomplishment in a meaningful way.
While the student’s first solo flight is one of the primary use-cases of Aeroswag’s custom sectional items, pilots also order products from their home or favorite airports.
The process of ordering a custom printed item with the selected airport is super simple. The website immediately recognizes where the user is located using Google’s mapping function, then displays the area airports on the sectional in the area. If they wish to select an airport outside the area, they can easily move the sectional map to another location.
The user selects their home or favorite airport, clicks it and sees the sample images of items with the sectional embedded onto the product catalog. The user clicks the items they want and it is mailed to them a few days later.
I decided to test out the process, ordering a pair of socks, stickers, notepad, and phone case for a few of my favorite airports. I found the process simple and now have outfitted my cellphone with a phone case that has the Chattanooga (KCHA) sectional and a pair of socks that feature the Solberg Airport (N51), the airport I fly out of when spending time in New Jersey during the summer.
Aeroswag also has a large catalog of aviation related images and gifts and hopes to offer custom “long-tail” gifts for pilots and the aviation community.