Carl and Joy Proetschel didn’t have much luck when they tried to find gifts for a young son whose third word was “airplane.”
“We found things here and there, but it took a lot of looking and there just wasn’t one good source,” Joy said. “After a lot of frustration, Carl said, ‘Why don’t we do this?’”
That’s how the Future Flyers Club got started. Three years later it almost certainly is the most comprehensive source of airplane-themed children’s stuff anywhere, with close to 600 items listed in its online catalog at FutureFlyersClub.com.
Among the most popular items are the bomber and other aviator jackets, airplane T-shirts, caps, and flight suits. They have what must be the largest selection of pedal planes on the planet, “with free shipping,” Joy emphasizes.
The aviation-themed toy selection includes around 85 items, ranging from teddy bears and other plush animals to kites and model rockets. The die cast toy airplanes doubtless appeal to nostalgic adults as much as to their kids — maybe more.
There are books and videos, and a bedroom decor section that includes airplane beds, a charming airplane crib, airplane lamps, airplane wall art, and a wealth of other stuff.
Among this year’s “hottest products for Christmas” – Joy was quoting Baby Talk magazine’s comments – are 27 different blanket designs, depicting a range of planes from those seen at any GA airport to military aircraft old and new.The Future Flyers Club is about “helping children with their dreams of flight without busting your wallet,” Joy explained. With prices such as $49.95 for the bomber jackets, $48 for the blankets, and $109.99 for a pedal airplane, it would seem that the club is living up to that goal.
While the emphasis is on children, the Future Flyers Club carries plenty of stuff for grownups, too.
Check out the warbird nose art panels in more than 50 designs, all carefully researched and authentic. Look over the 200 or more scale model airplanes, with more available for shoppers who can’t find exactly what they want. “If you can’t find the airplane you’re looking for, call us,” Joy says. “We can find just about any model you want.”
There also is a Black Sheep Squadron collection honoring the men of the Marines’ famous VMF 214 squadron.
There are about 20 different aviation signs, including retro airline advertisements — all authentic — World War II signs, and airport signs.
FutureFlyersClub.com or 412-653-8875.