John Zimmerman

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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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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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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Episode 31: New product successes and failures, with Sporty's Doug Ranly

What are the most revolutionary aviation products of the last 25 years? If you immediately thought of a glass panel or a new airplane, Doug Ranly wants you to think again. As the director of new products at Sporty's Pilot Shop, he's seen a lot of technology come and go, and he believes portable products have the biggest impact because they affect the most pilots. In this gear-focused episode, he names his top four products, shares some less successful inventions, and describes his process for evaluating a new gadget. Doug also talks about his first experience with active noise reduction headsets (in Iraq, not in an airplane), what products he'd like to see invented, and what product he wishes companies would stop inventing. In the Ready to Copy segment, you'll hear why Doug loves the RV-12, his pet peeve about flashlights, and what he learned as a carny.

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Episode 30: Flight sim's early days and modern cross-country flying, with Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams had a front row seat to some exciting developments in flight simulators, working at Microsoft as their program grew from a simple DOS program to a visually stunning virtual world. He offers some practical tips for using a sim for home training (have a plan, don't stress about the controls) and weighs in on the "game vs. simulator" debate. Bruce is also a longtime flight instructor, so he shares his tips for flying long cross-country flights, how to master glass cockpits, and learning aerobatics. In the ready to copy segment, Bruce tells us his favorite preflight weather tools, why pilots should use the autopilot more, and his favorite author.

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Episode 29: Oshkosh tips and the experimental aircraft boom, with EAA's Jack Pelton

People come to Oshkosh for the airplanes, but they stay for the people. That's according to EAA Chairman Jack Pelton, who explains why the culture at AirVenture is so unique, why America needs more of this spirit in everyday life, and his favorite place to visit at the big show. He also shares the organization's big plans for the 30th year of the Young Eagles program, why experimental airplanes are so popular right now, and what his top priorities are for the FAA. In the Ready to Copy segment, Jack explains why you can't build a new Cessna 172 for $100,000, shares his favorite vintage airplane, and identifies some underrated aviation museums.

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Sporty's Fly July Celebration: specials, webinars, and new products

During the month of July, Sporty’s will be hosting a celebration of general aviation across our website, social media, at Oshkosh, and at our store in Batavia, Ohio—what we're calling Fly July. The goal is to get out and fly this summer, whether it's to start flight training, get current, or take that big cross country you've been dreaming of. Sporty's has the gear and tools to help you achieve your goals and have fun.

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