Our goal at Sporty's is to make flying safer, easier, and more fun. Sometimes we do that with a great new product, but sometimes we do that with original content. In addition to our main website at Sportys.com, we publish three online magazines that focus on important topics in aviation: iPad Pilot News covers apps and accessories, Flight Training Central serves up tips to improve your flying skills, and Air Facts shares stories and lessons learned from other pilots. Plus, our Product PIREP series on the Sporty's blog delivers hands-on demos of the latest pilot gear. If you missed something this year, it's OK—we published almost 400 articles across these sites in 2023! Here were the top 10.
In this special year-end episode, host John Zimmerman sits down with producer Rob Reider for a behind-the-scenes look at Pilot’s Discretion. They talk about what traits make for a good guest, the two rules for podcast hosts, and tips for getting better audio. You’ll also learn the most popular Pilot’s Discretion episodes of 2023, what John and Rob’s favorite episodes are, and what lessons they have learned about flying after 66 interviews. In the back-and-forth Ready to Copy segment, they share the most famous pilots they’ve flown with, their nominee for most underrated airplane, and their favorite airports.
Sporty’s Webinar Series touches on a variety of topics, from training to new products and services to help you stay informed. For your convenience, all webinars are archived so you can attend anytime your schedule permits.
Posted in PIREPs
From F-16 to 737 to Citation to Bonanza, Don Wykoff has flown a lot of different airplanes in his 50-year flying career. In this episode he explains how he stayed safe by approaching every flight with professionalism, using checklists the right way, and building training into simple trips. He also talks about losing the engine in his F-16, why pilot rest rules matter, and how to transition back to GA after a career flying jets. In the Ready to Copy segment, Don explains why he doesn’t like the GUMPS checklist, why he liked to hand-fly Cat III approaches in the 737, and what flight instructors can learn from airline pilots.
After a lifetime of riding on airplanes, economist Patrick Chovanec decided to learn how to fly them. In this episode, he explains how a combination of Covid-19 and Microsoft Flight Simulator started him on a path to earning his Private Pilot certificate, and what he learned along the way. He explains how flight training can be lonely, why modern flight simulators are much more than a game now, and why airplanes are so expensive. In the Ready to Copy segment, Patrick shares the biggest myth in flight training, his preferred flight sim equipment, underrated countries to visit, and his favorite economics joke.
The point of an accident investigation is “to find out what happened, so that we can prevent it from happening again,” says longtime airline pilot and former NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. He shares what he's learned after decades of working this process, including: how pilots should read an NTSB report, why flight path monitoring matters, what professionalism means for GA pilots, and how flight data monitoring can improve safety. In the Ready to Copy segment, Robert talks about landmark accidents, why NOTAMs are often useless, and his favorite food from South Carolina.
Cold weather can mean better airplane performance and some beautiful winter sunrises, but it can also mean potential danger from the airplane's heating system. Here's what pilots need to know about carbon monoxide: where it comes from, how to prevent it from entering the cockpit, and what tools are available for detecting it.
Posted in PIREPs
Mist swirls as a yellow Cub touches down on a grass runway—Joe Costanza (better known as @Bananasssssssss on Instagram) is the man behind those viral videos, and in this episode he takes us behind the scenes. He explains why stick and rudder flying is a nice break from his day job flying an Airbus, how to have fun flying with kids (he has four), and the good parts of social media. He also shares his slightly controversial advice for new airline pilots and how training is changing to adapt to a new generation. In the Ready to Copy segment, he describes what it’s like to land on a grass strip, what the Cub teaches him about flying the Airbus, and how to take better aviation photos.
The most common question we get about headsets is one of those classic “Coke or Pepsi” questions: should I buy the Bose A30 or Lightspeed Delta Zulu? It’s a natural comparison—both are the latest top-of-the-line headsets from leading aviation headset companies—but the good news is that there’s no wrong answer. Having said that, there are some important differences. Whether these are important depends on your personal preferences and your typical flight. We’ll lay out all the details in this article and even offer some of our opinions, but the ultimate decision is yours.
Posted in PIREPs
Loss of control accidents are a problem, but longtime pilot and engineer Ed Wischmeyer says there simply isn’t a miracle cure. He explains why angle of attack indicators, stabilized approaches, and energy management are all overrated—and the concept he teaches pilots instead. As he says, “You want pilots to have a large comfort zone, so that when they’re flying in normal operations they’re not anywhere near the boundaries of their comfort zone.” In the Ready to Copy segment, Ed talks about the most absurd FAA regulation, how to prevent runway incursions, why slow flight is underrated, and flying the AirCam.