Sporty's Product PIREPs

Understanding battery maintainers and ground power units

The typical general aviation panel has changed dramatically over the last two decades. Whereas once the top of the line was vacuum-driven “steam gauges” and a couple of NAV/COM radios, today even 60-year old airplanes typically sport moving map GPSs and possibly even integrated glass cockpits. These new avionics make flying safer and easier, but they do add some new responsibilities for the pilot in command. That’s why a ground power unit (GPU) can be so valuable. These increasingly powerful devices make it easy to run your panel without starting the engine, depleting your battery, or running the Hobbs. Here’s how to find the right one for your airplane.



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What aircraft are included in the new X-Plane 12?

The team at Laminar Research has long been working on improving the X-Plane platform and just recently the newest version debuted, X-Plane 12. Everything from wake turbulence produced by wide body aircraft to supersonic flight has been critiqued and fiddled with until it was ready for the community. But what good is a flight simulator if you don’t have great aircraft to fly? Enjoy a quick review of the aircraft changes from X-Plane 11 to X-Plane 12.

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Episode 34. Top Gun training and test pilot stories, with Chuck Coleman

Test pilot. Airshow pilot. Instructor for Top Gun: Maverick actors. Chuck Coleman might have one of the most interesting resumes in aviation, and he has plenty of stories to back up this experience. He talks about training actors to pull Gs for Tom Cruise's blockbuster movie, working with Burt Rutan on the SpaceShip One project, and what it's like to fly the Proteus high altitude jet. In the Ready to Copy segment, Chuck answers whether the Icon A5 is a safe airplane, shares the hardest airplane to fly that he's ever logged time in, and describes the most important character trait for a homebuilder.

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Episode 33. Aviation trends, both hype and reality, with Richard Aboulafia

Are you excited about supersonic business jets or electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft? Richard Aboulafia is going to disappoint you: "I'm here with my bucket of cold water.” The always-entertaining aviation analyst explains why these buzzy projects probably won't happen, what technology will become a reality, and why business jets are hot right now. He also analyzes the airlines' summer of misery and shares the right lessons to learn from the 737 MAX disaster. In the "Ready to Copy" segment, Richard tells us about the Concorde, the Collier Trophy, and China's airliner ambitions.

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Different Grades of Oxygen and How They Pertain to Pilots

Aviators find themselves using oxygen as they explore higher altitudes in non-pressurized cockpits. This brings up an important question: what are the differences between the different grades of oxygen? Fortunately, it’s not that complicated. There are three main types of oxygen.

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Bose Flight Instructor Rebate Program

Attention CFIs - purchase a Bose A20 Aviation Headset or Bose ProFlight Series 2 Aviation Headset from Sporty's and receive a rebate from Bose!

A20 or ProFlight Series 2 with Bluetooth®: $125 rebate

A20 or ProFlight Series 2 without Bluetooth: $100 rebate


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Episode 32: Air traffic control tips and tricks, with RJ Ratliff

Do controllers like to get PIREPs? Do you need to read back a Class B clearance? What is a Brasher warning? Experienced air traffic controller (and active GA pilot) RJ Ratliff answers these questions and many more in this wide-ranging episode that's packed with practical advice. In addition to answering common pilot questions, he also explains how technology like ADS-B and datalink communications is changing the job of ATC, and whether remote towers are here to stay. In the Ready to Copy segment, RJ shares what "on the landline" means, what pilot mistake is guaranteed to upset a controller, and what the best college basketball rivalry is.  

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Sporty's kicks off EAA Young Eagles "30 flights for 30 years" campaign

This year is a milestone for the EAA Young Eagles program, and Sporty's is joining the celebration. The program was launched 30 years ago at Oshkosh 1992, and since then more than 2.2 million kids have received a free airplane ride to discover the wonder of flight. It's the most successful youth aviation program in history—but we're just getting started.

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Oxygen connectors in general aviation aircraft

Some aircraft were manufactured with built-in oxygen systems. These are commonly found in high performance aircraft with turbocharged engines. When these aircraft were made, each manufacturer could pick which connector to use in their system. Portable manufacturers entered the fray and used different connectors. What we are left with is a whole lot of connectors without much consistency. You might think it will take a special decoder ring to figure out what connector you need for your 1972 Cessna T210 (PB-2 for the record), but it doesn’t have to be that hard. There are six main connectors to consider.  

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