John Zimmerman

Episode 61. Safety theory and restoring a Cessna 172, with Sidney Dekker

As a professor, Sidney Dekker has spent his career studying safety processes in industries like healthcare and mining. As a pilot, both for an airline and in his Carbon Cub, he has put those theories into practice. In this thought-provoking episode, you'll hear what he's learned, including: how much risk pilots can actually quantify, why we should study what went right and not just what went wrong, and what it means to drift into failure. You'll also learn about the beat up Cessna 172 he restored, whether autopilots are a positive or negative for safety, whether pilots should read accident reports, and what an "automation surprise" is.  

Read more

Rusty Pilot Week at Sporty's

Has it been a few years since you logged time as pilot in command? Don't worry—your pilot's license never expires, and you don't have to pass a checkride to regain currency. All it takes is some studying and a few hours with a flight instructor. Sporty's is here to help, with honest advice and hundreds of helpful products that make flying safer, easier, and more fun. If you've been thinking about knocking the rust off, enjoy limited time savings and articles from our team of pilots.

Read more

Episode 60. Surviving a plane crash on a frozen lake, with Tom Comet

When the airplane engine quits over a remote part of Canada, your options are limited. For Tom Comet and his friend, this was just the start of an incredible adventure—one packed with lessons for all pilots. In this riveting episode, he shares how they reacted to their emergency, where they chose to land, and what survival gear made a difference during a long, cold night on a lake. As a UAS pilot and former circus performer, Tom also talks about flying $150,000 drones for TV and creating huge pyrotechnic displays, including the lessons learned about risk management. In the Ready to Copy segment, you'll hear why the Cessna Skymaster is an underrated airplane, tips for learning to ride a unicycle, and why Tom found himself juggling chainsaws.

Read more

Episode 59. A reality check on eVTOL aircraft, with Elan Head

The headlines about eVTOL aircraft are optimistic right now, but veteran aviation reporter Elan Head says there’s a lot of work to be done: "the customers don't really exist." In this episode, she dives deep into the world of advanced air mobility, including the current state of the market, what military applications might look like, and what the drone industry can teach eVTOL companies about FAA certification. Elan is also an experienced helicopter instructor, so she talks about what the industry should learn from the Kobe Bryant crash and why Safety Management Systems are overrated. In the Ready to Copy segment, she tells us her prediction for when eVTOLs will really be flying, the strangest helicopter she’s ever flown, and the best place to visit in Belize.

Read more

5 free tools for flight instructors at Sporty's CFI Portal

Staying organized and staying connected to students is essential for any flight instructor who wants to be their best. Sporty’s CFI Portal, part of our Learn to Fly Course, makes this easier than ever. Available free to any active flight instructor, this suite of tools includes lesson plans, a free refresher course, FAA library, and more. No trial, no credit card, and no catch—just sign up and enjoy these exclusive benefits.

Read more

Which handheld aviation radio should I buy?

A portable radio is an essential tool for pilots of all experience levels. When you're just starting out, listening to local traffic is a great way to improve your communication skills. When you're an instrument-rated pilot, a handheld radio is a convenient option for picking up IFR clearances before engine start. And for any pilot, a quality radio is cheap insurance should the panel go dark.

Read more

Episode 58. What MOSAIC means for pilot training and airplane designs, with Dan Johnson

More privileges for Sport pilots and more affordable light airplanes—that’s the promise of MOSAIC, a sweeping new proposal from the FAA this summer. Industry expert Dan Johnson has been tracking this reform for years, and he gives us a behind-the-scenes tour in this episode, including which legacy airplanes will now be available for Sport pilots and what new airplane designs might emerge. Dan also talks about timing for the final rule, the LSA safety record, and why ultralights are overlooked. In the Ready to Copy segment, he shares his favorite airplanes from AirVenture 2023, why he loves the AirCam, what he’d change about the FAA.

Read more

Episode 57. FAA medicals and flying as a Top Gun adversary pilot, with Dr. Keith Roxo

The FAA medical is just another check ride and pilots should prepare for it the same way. That's according to Dr. Keith Roxo, an aviation medical examiner and former Top Gun adversary pilot. He shares plenty of practical tips in this episode, including: what to do if you’re unsure of an answer on the application, why some pilots are stuck in medical limbo for over a year, what SODA and CACI mean, and how the FAA is handling mental health issues these days. Keith also talks about flying the F/A-18 and F-16, and how Top Gun taught him the difference between a standard and a technique. In the Ready to Copy segment, you'll hear why color-blindness isn’t a disqualifying condition, whether BasicMed has been successful, and what Keith's favorite aviation movie is.

Read more

Episode 56. Fuel management and flying the U-2, with Tim Decker

Tim Decker’s flying career includes almost every segment of aviation, including military, fractional, airline, and even airshows. He applies safety habits from each of these jobs to his flying in his Cirrus SR22, and shares some of those in this episode. He explains the difference between minimum fuel and emergency fuel, when it’s smart to declare an emergency, and why instructors must embrace scenario-based training. He also talks about the concept of factored landing distances and shares how to calculate them in ForeFlight. In the Ready to Copy Segment, Tim tells us what it’s like to land a U-2 in a crosswind, two key lessons he learned from flying airshows, and the key differences between a career as an airline pilot and fractional pilot.

Read more

Visit Sporty's at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023

The world's largest airshow starts July 24, 2023, and as usual Sporty's will be there in a big way. Our main tent is located in Outdoor Space #260, just outside of Exhibit Hangar B, and Sporty's Wright Bros. Collection will be exhibiting inside Hangar B at booth #2111. We'll also be presenting four seminars throughout the week.

Read more

Sign up for Special Offers

Stay up to date on new arrivals, email exclusives, and more.