There is no piece of luggage closer to the heart of any pilot than his or her flight bag. The one I use at work is your basic black, square model with little combination locks on the clasps. It is standard airline issue something that every airline pilot you see will have some version of.
Something else is needed when traveling in the general aviation world. First of all, the squarish, black, airline bag looks geeky. Second, a square, black, hard-sided bag just won't work in the world of general aviation for many reasons, the greatest of which is the fact that it won't fit between the seats of smaller aircraft.
The answer, it would seem, would be a soft-sided bag of some sort. It would preferably be made of soft leather, and would, in addition to being utilitarian, be stylish as well.
I think the people at PilotMall.com have nailed it with the introduction of their new Next Generation Soft Leather Pilot Bag.
Made of top-grain cowhide, the flight bag has the smell of a new airplane interior. Being leather, the bag will only improve with age. I own quite a few saddles for my horse operation in Kentucky, and I can tell you that the longer you have quality leather things like saddles, the more valuable they are if you take good care of them. Even if the stitching eventually wears out, you can't go wrong by having a quality leather saddle or book bag restitched for years of future life.
The Next Generation Soft Leather Pilot Bag appears to have all the bells and whistles necessary to make it a welcome addition to your flying kit. There were enough map side pockets, zippered side pockets, main compartments, and other features that made it easy to transfer all four of my Jeppesen binders along with aircraft handbooks, my cellphone, my laptop computer, a smattering of legal pads and pens, along with the usual overnight shaving kit and flashlights that I always carry on flying trips.
Here is a list of the features touted by PilotMall.com:
The bag is available in three colors: black, natural (a light tan) and café (a darker brown).
The construction and setup of the Soft Leather Flight Bag makes finding things easier in flight than they usually are in the more traditional "brain bags." An additional feature you get with a soft-sided bag that you don't on its traditional bag brethren is that a soft-sided bag can be overstuffed whatever you can cram into one, you can carry. A fully stuffed soft-sided bag gives you much more packing room than a square hard-side.
According to PilotMall.com, this is the only soft-sided pilot bag extant on the market. I'm not so sure of that, but for a price of $199.99, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better flight kit. For general aviation pilots, this is the bag to get.
Plus, let's face it, there is nothing like the smell of new leather in the cockpit. If you can't afford one of those new $400,000+ bourgeois barges, you can still class up your older cockpit with the aroma of a new flight bag.
To find this flight bag and other products, visit PilotMall.com.