Pilot Kleptomania – What’s Your Impulse?
- Advanced Aircrew Academy
Business aviation/corporate pilots are notorious kleptomaniacs. They really don't have to steal the swag or aviation promotional merchandise, but they still have the "recurrent inability to resist urges to take items that you generally don't need and that usually have little value" ... to someone else. but, to a pilot, aviation swag is worn and used like a badge of honor. Its value comes in the memory of it and pilot's homes are filled with memories.
Pull open a business aviation pilot's closet and you'll find t-shirts from FBOs across the country. Every pen they own, flashlight, carabiner, coffee mug, baseball hat, and koozie has the stamp from a visited aviation company. Most pilots never have to buy shampoo. Some FOBs lure pilots to top off the aircraft at their location in exchange for restaurant gift cards. Now you're talking the language of pilots! If you want to find a good place to eat in any town with an airport, just as a corporate pilot. They'll even recite the menu for you and tell you which waiter/waitress you should say "hello" to. Go ahead, just ask them.
The inability to resist these swag items comes from all those years of working their way up the pilot ladder. A free bag of Fritos for lunch and last night's coffee a the FBO help bridge the gap between meals when you're making minimum wage while flying and paying off student loans. Pilots learn a new instinct during those long learning years . . . they learn to take whatever they're given. Left over catering form their passenger's catering tray turns into a couple of meals back at the hotel (while you put the per diem in your pocket). The sugar rush from a plate of hot chocolate chip cookies at the FBO helps keep the pilot brain awake on the long trip back. They learn to make meals with a coffee maker. They innovate and MacGyver anything they can reach. They learn to look for swag.
All these incentives serve a purpose. Not only do hotel key cards work great as a windshield ice scraper, they remind pilots of where they've been. They are reminders that there are many categories of support and products in the aviation industry that are required to fly passengers safely to their destination.
Now we want to hear from you! What is your favorite, oldest, or largest collection of aviation swag? What's the coolest, most unique, or most bizarre aviation gadget you've grabbed? Of course, we wouldn't do this without incentive! Post your response on Facebook or LinkedIn and we will randomly give away a few of our new Advanced Aircrew Academy USB drives. No, you probably don't need them, but look, they're airplanes!