Sporty's Product PIREPs

Protect yourself in the cockpit: five helpful accessories for pilots

Being a pilot means incredible views, fascinating destinations, and personal achievement. However, it can also mean potential health issues if you don’t take action to protect yourself. Here are five easy ways to stay safe in the cockpit, from headsets to CO detectors.

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Episode 47. Covering airline close calls and building flight sim products, with Jon Ostrower

Two airliners narrowly missed each other on a foggy runway in February, the federal NOTAM system crashed in January, and Southwest Airlines suffered an operational meltdown in December. Are all these stories related, warning signs for an industry about to break, or are they just random stories that are misunderstood by the non-aviation media? Veteran aviation reporter Jon Ostrower shares his opinion about recent safety lapses and explains why changes in the media business resulted in a loss of aerospace expertise. Jon also talks about his new project to build a mobile flight sim controller and makes his predictions about many hot topics in aviation, including: electric airplanes, autonomous airliners, the 1500-hour rule, single pilot airline flights, and much more.

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Which ReliefBand is right for me?

Reliefband generates a proprietary pulse that stimulates the median nerve, which is located on the underside of the wrist. These signals travel throughout the body's nervous system to the part of the brain which controls nausea, retching, and vomiting. The signals have a rebalancing effect, normalizing nerve messages from the brain to the stomach and reducing symptoms. But which of the three options are best for me? 

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Lightspeed Delta Zulu Headset - hands-on review

Lightspeed Aviation is known for thinking outside the box when it comes to headset innovation, and their latest product continues that tradition. The new Delta Zulu headset incorporates their best ANR technology ever, but this platform can do more than traditional aviation headsets. Everything from the ANR box to the integrated CO detector has been reengineered for maximum efficiency in the cockpit. As always, Sporty’s team of expert pilots took the new Delta Zulu for a bunch of test flights. Here's what we found.

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Episode 46. Instrument flight training and taildragger lessons, with Elaine Kauh

We're closing out IFR Month with an episode that's packed with practical flying tips. Experienced instructor and IFR Magazine contributing editor Elaine Kauh shares her advice on a variety of topics: when to cancel your IFR flight plan, why takeoff briefings are so important, how to manage glass cockpits, and when to introduce the autopilot during training. She also talks about her experience as a tailwheel instructor and corporate pilot, and the unique challenges both roles bring. In the Ready to Copy segment, Elaine explains whether it's ever safe to do a zero/zero takeoff, which vintage taildragger she likes best, and what artist best captures the spirit of flight.

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Episode 45. IFR flying tips and gear-up landing stats, with Tom Turner

Is instrument flying easier or harder than it used to be? Hall of fame flight instructor Tom Turner says it's easier, but only if you know how to use all the tools properly. As part of Sporty's IFR Month, he talks about plenty of instrument topics, including training tips, how to stay IFR current, and when to use the autopilot. He also shares data from his decades of research on engine failures and gear-up landings, some of which may surprise you. In the "Ready to Copy" segment, Tom talks about the airplane renter's code of conduct, the worst advice new pilots get, and whether it's ever OK to get out of an airplane with the engine running.

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Five essential products for instrument flying

Flying IFR can be stressful for some pilots. For many of us, the IFR muscle is one that we don’t exercise too often. But just like in any stressful activity, having the right gear can help alleviate some of the pressure. These are the five items that I don’t get an IFR clearance without. 

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Episode 44. Flying and writing about the 1919 transcontinental air race, with John Lancaster

How do you write a book about a transcontinental air race from 100 years ago? First you buy an airplane and fly the route yourself. That's exactly what John Lancaster did for his new book, The Great Air Race. He explains what this outrageously ambitious event was all about, where you can find signs of the race today, and what it was like to retrace the steps in his LSA. He also talks about the rewards of taking long trips in light airplanes, the prospects for modern air races, and life as a foreign correspondent. In the "Ready to Copy" segment, John talks about get-there-itis, his favorite anecdote from the book, and where to get the best food in the Middle East.

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How long are aeronautical charts valid for?

Flying with outdated charts is not only unsafe, it's probably illegal—pilots love to debate FAR 91.103, but if you bust Class B airspace with an expired chart, the FAA will likely be upset. Keeping track of all the different effective dates used to be a challenge, since VFR and IFR charts were updated on different cycles. Fortunately, in 2020 the FAA simplified its update schedule so that most, but not all, charts follow the same cycle. Here are the details.

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Ace your FAA Knowledge Test: how to use Test Prep in Sporty's Courses

Sporty's Learn to Fly/Instrument Rating course has all the tools you need to prepare for the FAA Knowledge Test (sometimes called the written test). We'll even give you the flight instructor endorsement to take the test automatically—just watch all the video segments and pass two practice tests with a score of 80% or better. However, studying for the Knowledge Test without a good plan can be time-consuming and frustrating. Here's our advice for getting started the right way.

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