airplane parts

For aviation geeks: gifts made from airplanes

Looking for an ecological, aviation-themed gift for your favorite airplane geek or road warrior?

Then consider placing some of these items under the tree.

Tierra Ideas of Raleigh, N.C., turns decommissioned (and thoroughly dry-cleaned) aircraft seat back covers and curtains from Delta Air Lines airplanes into business card holders, wallets, laptop covers and a wide variety of travel bags that sell for $15 to $175.

About once a year, company founder Matt Mahler flies down to Delta’s Reclamation Center in Atlanta and drives home in a rented 24-foot U-Haul truck filled with worn fabrics consisting of blue wool blends, navy wool blends, and blue and gray leather.

“I store the fabric in our warehouse and sew the bags using a 1970s-era Singer industrial sewing machine I bought used from the factory floor of a furniture manufacturing company that went out of business near High Point, North Carolina,” said Mahler.

In addition to wallets, the line includes an overnight duffle bag, a laptop bag, a messenger bag, a small shoulder bag (The Concourse) and the Aero Drawstring Bag, all made with an average of 85 percent recycled materials and many sporting fabric patterns that will be familiar to Delta Air Lines frequent fliers. As part of a fundraising Kickstarter Project, Tierra Ideas is also making the Air Bag, which has 90 percent recycled content and is based on a bag commissioned by Recycle Runway for their Environmental Stewardess Exhibition. Cost: $150.

For something flashier and more obviously once part of an airplane, consider the large and shiny objects that MotoArt makes out of recycled commercial and vintage airplane parts in El Segundo, Calif.

MotoArt managing partner Dave Hall haunts airplane boneyards for materials he and his crew transform into lighting fixtures, beds, bars, desks, lamps, conference tables and other furniture for prices that start at $250 and soar to more than $30,000.

“We turn large cowlings into reception desks, rear stabilizers into executive desks and fuselage into office dividers. For those that like that stuff, it’s an expensive hobby, but we also take airplane windows frames and turn them into picture frames.”

(This article originally appeared on’s Overhead Bin)