Soar to New Heights With Pilots
Pilots are limited as to where they can buy aviation equipment or accessories. Because the hobby is specialized, only a few stores, often located at small airports, carry what a pilot needs.
Therefore, most recreational pilots shop via catalogs, which tout a high average order of $80 to $120 per order. The big catalogers in this field include Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, King Catalog, Hart Aviation and Sporty's Pilot Shop.
What They Buy
From aviation catalogs, pilots order pre-flight and in-flight merchandise, such as charts, checklists, fuel gauges, clipboards, flight caddies, training equipment and how-to books. Many pilots also purchase big-ticket items, such as handheld and in-deck Global Positioning Systems and weather-tracking devices, including radios and lightening/storm finders.
"From our experience and from usage researched from pilot and aircraft magazines, pilots respond to all types of direct offers. They have both the income and inclination to be acquisitive," says Paul Deigendesch of ClientLogic, an e-mail list broker.
Recreational pilots tend to have outside interests that run toward science, nature and engineering. Pilots own myriad software programs from flight planning and weather tracking to organizational software and simulation games. Most pilots use the Internet for research and recreation, and often manage some or all of their banking and finances using online services or software, say experts.
Beyond the hobby, pilots purchase luxury items for themselves and their homes: from cigars and fine wines to clothes, cars and entertainment systems. These safety-minded individuals also are excellent prospects for insurance and home security systems.
"While aviation products are an obvious match—some 53 percent of pilots own their own aircraft—indications show pilots are good targets for fund-raising, educational and investment/financial offers, as well," Deigendesch says.
Collectibles, service organization appeals and membership requests also appeal to pilots. The Aviation History list, which is comprised mostly of retired military personnel, often is used for such offers, says Mark Fleetwood of Direct Media. The magazine's list is used by mailers including Special Olympics and the Franklin Mint.