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Thread: Possibilities for the Pilot

  1. #1
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    Possibilities for the Pilot

    I created this thread to share/discuss possible ideas for a possible new Tom Bihn product, possibly stylistically derived from the current Co-Pilot travel mini-luggage, often referred to on Tom Bihn forums as the "Pilot". I like the idea of a new product themed after the Co-Pilot, but I will say off the get-go that, sight unseen, this mysterious yet-to-be-released Tom Bihn product should not be called a "Pilot". I think the name "Co-Pilot", as well as the remarkable form and function of the Co-Pilot, would be diluted by confusion of Bihn releasing another product with such a similar name. For the sake of brevity and clarity here, though, we can call this hypothetical product a Pilot.

    The name Pilot, in my mind, suggests a kind of big-brother relationship with the Co-Pilot. In other words, I see the Pilot as deriving its design, and at least part of its functionality, from the current Co-Pilot. The current Co-Pilot is a remarkable multi-purpose piece of luggage/EDC:

    1. The current Co-Pilot can be a micro-suitcase personal carry-on for overnight or within-one-day air/road travel, allowing a traveller to carry personal items such as 3-1-1, passport, and other very small collections at close-hand.
    2. The current Co-Pilot could be a purse or a kind of minimalist micro-briefcase for either EDC (every-day carry) or travel.
    3. The current Co-Pilot could also be used as a kind of EDC camera case, as photos on the Co-Pilot's product page suggest. (I do not know what the Co-Pilot's padding, if any, is like. I assume that if there isn't any padding built-in, that shutterbug Co-Pilot owners have found creative ways to install useful padding in this bag.)


    I assume the point of participants in these forums speculating on a Pilot would be because they like the Co-Pilot and want to see its design philosophy extended to another, newer product. Hence the familiar name. Having never actually seen a Co-Pilot in person, I do like the eye-catching design and can see possibilities. There are two directions I could see for a Pilot:

    1: Pilot as travel luggage. In this concept, the Pilot would essentially replace the current Tom Bihn Western Flyer by giving it a new design. If this were the case, I would favor giving the Pilot a very different name, say, "Yankee Airman" or "Idlewild South" or "Flyboy" or even "Eastern Flyer". The Western Flyer is currently an excellent travel luggage concept, combining shoulder carry, luggable side handles and backpack straps with ingeniously designed zippered pockets and compartments for light, minimalist overnight travel. Still, the current Western Flyer design looks too much like its own larger brother, the Tri-Star. Perhaps a freshening through a redesign and renaming a la Pilot would be in order.

    Here is the other possibility as I see it...

    2: Pilot as mini-messenger bag. In this concept, the Pilot would be more like a multi-purpose Tom Bihn messenger bag. Whereas the Tom Bihn ID is a briefcase-as-messanger bag, the new Pilot (or whatever it would be called) would be a very different form-factor. Like the ID and other Bihn messenger bags, and very unlike the current Co-Pilot, the Pilot would be configured to accept an optional Q-AM Shoulder Strap, allowing the Pilot to have an almost-backpack-like quality to its carrying attitude. The Pilot would be set-up to serve as either a mini-briefcase or as a camera bag, padding built-in. Perhaps it could carry an iPad or MacBook Air-type computer.

    For either product, Tom Bihn could be breaking new ground by taking design philosophy from the Co-Pilot and giving it new form in an expanded product line. Having said that, Mr. Bihn and company would be wise to avoid any naming confusion by calling this new hypothetical bag a "Pilot".

    I would encourage the Bihn crew to explore both of these concepts.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
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    As I am a big fan of messenger bags my vote is for the pilot to fill the spot that the imago has vacated.

  3. #3
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    I own both an Imago and a CoPilot. Speaking for myself, I love the horizontal orientation, the organization, and the LACK of the flap common to many messenger bags. It's just slightly too small for me to use as a personal carry on. I am not a business traveler so my needs are somewhat different. I'm a retired vacation traveler. So I want to be able to haul camera, headphones, binoculars, glasses, meds, etc. This would make using my S25 my primary travel bag possible. I don't really care what the new product is called, but frankly I think naming it the Pilot is an homage to the specialness of the CoPilot. I will always have a use for my little CoPilot. Generally my SE is my everyday carry. But when I need to carry my Ipad mini, wool gloves, scarf, and hat in this winter weather, I count on my CoPilot. I just drop my SE and Ipad mini in it, stuff my woolens in the side pockets, and go.


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  4. #4
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    I believe that the Pilot could be a Co-Pilot with a larger capacity, the same way the Synapse 25 is the larger version of the Synapse 19.

    The Pilot would handle letter size paper or even the Large Pouch with ease, an iPad or an Air, the FJN or a letter size FJN and 3D cubes containing various accessories/tools/plugs in the pockets in a somewhat expended but still compact manner.

    If someone wants a bigger briefcase, sans flap, the Western Flyer, with its two main compartments, inner and outer pockets, and wonderful backpack straps for ease of transport, which zip back in for a full " I mean business effect", fit the bill better.
    It all depends if the type of business is paper, samples or tool heavy.


    For example, the Pilot would be perfect for a conference or workshop where meetings with "suits" are required, especially if it is a full day of tightly scheduled activities when some purse stuff are needed during breaks or after lunch in order to make sure one still looks presentable.


    But, a Synapse 19/25 or the Western Flyer with those wonderful backpack straps, would be more appropriate for the Macworld Expo depending of the attendee being an Apple fan girl, a programmer or a small hardware exhibitor.


    I just found out that a letter size binder does not fit inside the Synapse 19 when it has to compete for space with my FJN, iPad Mini, small letter size folder with some paper and the Clear Quarter Cube which keep trying not to bring with me, but always find its way inside any bag that can contain it, due to its multi uses (small documents tamer, multi Small Pouches wrangler, pencils/markers pouch, beauty stuff in one half and eating ustensils/paper napkins lunch on the run in the other half) all being able to be checkout out at a quick glance to make sure everything is there, before leaving hotels, conference tables or lunch areas.

    I almost ordered a Western Flyer but if the Pilot can fit all of the above in a smaller foot print, it is better.
    Last edited by backpack; 12-07-2013 at 12:29 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    I believe that the Pilot could be a Co-Pilot with a larger capacity, the same way the Synapse 25 is the larger version of the Synapse 19.

    The Pilot would handle letter size paper or even the Large Pouch with ease, an iPad or an Air, the FJN or a letter size FJN and 3D cubes containing various accessories/tools/plugs in the pockets in a somewhat expended but still compact manner.

    If someone wants a bigger briefcase, sans flap, the Western Flyer, with its two main compartments, inner and outer pockets, and wonderful backpack straps for ease of transport, which zip back in for a full " I mean business effect", fit the bill better.
    It all depends if the type of business is paper, samples or tool heavy.


    For example, the Pilot would be perfect for a conference or workshop where meetings with "suits" are required, especially if it is a full day of tightly scheduled activities when some purse stuff are needed during breaks or after lunch in order to make sure one still looks presentable.


    But, a Synapse 19/25 or the Western Flyer with those wonderful backpack straps, would be more appropriate for the Macworld Expo depending of the attendee being an Apple fan girl, a programmer or a small hardware exhibitor.


    I just found out that a letter size binder does not fit inside the Synapse 19 when it has to compete for space with my FJN, iPad Mini, small letter size folder with some paper and the Clear Quarter Cube which keep trying not to bring with me, but always find its way inside any bag that can contain it, due to its multi uses (small documents tamer, multi Small Pouches wrangler, pencils/markers pouch, beauty stuff in one half and eating ustensils/paper napkins lunch on the run in the other half) all being able to be checkout out at a quick glance to make sure everything is there, before leaving hotels, conference tables or lunch areas.

    I almost ordered a Western Flyer but if the Pilot can fit all of the above in a smaller foot print, it is better.
    What would be the appropriate color and fabric for an "I mean business" -effect daypack/briefcase? Just curious.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  6. #6
    Registered User gochicken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    I believe that the Pilot could be a Co-Pilot with a larger capacity, the same way the Synapse 25 is the larger version of the Synapse 19.
    Exactly what I was thinking. The configuration of the Co-Pilot is already perfect, in my mind. A Pilot that was smaller than the WF, but larger than the Co-Pilot would bring the organizational perfection to a more business like setting... and yes, I am thinking about that conference I am going to in February where "suits" are required. If the Pilot is not ready by then, I will use the Co-Pilot with Absolute Strap and a smaller notebook and fold my 8.5x11 papers in half.
    Satisfied owner of: Azalea Swift & LS, Blk/Plum Swift, Cork LS, Blk/UV LS, Synapse 19 & Co-Pilot, Steel/UV Pilot, Fst/Stl Tri-Star, Fst/Blk/UV SA, UV PCSB, Plum SE, FJN, & SCB, Aubergine WF, LS & Kit, Trvl Trays, Passport Pouches, and Shop Bags in all colors , Multiplying OPs

  7. #7
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Darcy says preorder time will be March. Sniff.


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  8. #8
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    My hope for the Pilot is that TB will create an accessory strap that allows the Pilot (or Co-Pilot) to piggy-back on a Tri-star. I'm envisioning a strap that connects the strap loops on the TS (or an Aeronaut I suppose) to the strap loops on the TS. This would allow both bags to be carried with a single Absolute strap. I'm open to alternative versions of this, but I would LOVE to be able to use a Pilot to slightly expand the capacity of a TS and use it as a briefcase for my MBA (11") once I get to my destination.

    Edit: To elaborate further, I'd love to put my Micro 4/3 camera in the Pilot while traveling, with my 11" MBA in my TS (in a cache.) When I get to my destination, I can use the Pilot as a camera bag on "vacation" days and the MBA (in a cache) in the Pilot on work days. I think this would be the perfect 1 (or 1.5?) bag travel arrangement for mixed work/leisure travel.
    Last edited by jmoz; 12-08-2013 at 08:16 AM.
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