John Zimmerman

Bose A30 Aviation Headset review: improved comfort and digital ANR

When Bose told us about the A30, the legendary audio company’s first new around-ear headset in over a decade, we knew we had a lot of testing to do. A headset is one of the few products that gets used on every single flight, so our standards for evaluating them are sky high. Could the A30 match its predecessor’s performance? The only way to answer that question is to fly it in a variety of airplanes, because test benches really don’t tell you much about how a headset feels. Here’s what we found after flying it in five different airplanes, ranging from a single engine piston to a twin engine jet.

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Episode 48. Learning from every flight, with Steve Thorne of Flight Chops

Steve Thorne (aka Flight Chops) is one of YouTube's original aviation stars, and he's learned a lot over the last decade—about flying and about himself. In this episode, he explains why a post-flight debrief matters, how to do a good one, and why he shares his videos with over 350,000 followers. He also talks about his weather decision-making process, especially on those "gray area" days like the one he encountered flying to Sporty's recently. In the "Ready to Copy" segment, Steve offers a tip for making better videos, shares his favorite strategy for handling nervous passengers, and explains why drumming and IFR flying are similar.

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Visit Sporty's at Sun 'n Fun 2023

The first big aviation event of the year is about to kick off, and Sporty's will be there in a big way. The annual Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo, which takes place in sunny Lakeland, Florida (LAL), runs from March 28 - April 2 this year. Stop by Sporty's big tent - just outside Hangar A on the main ramp - for new products, interactive demos, product experts, and much more.

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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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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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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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Episode 43. Weather flying tips and debating Boeing vs. Airbus, with Captain Doug Morris

As a former meteorologist and a 25,000-hour airline captain, Doug Morris loves to talk about weather—but he's worried most other pilots don't share his love. He talks about the most misunderstood weather concept, whether forecasts are getting better, and why pilots might actually have too many weather tools. He also shares stories from his days flying in Atlantic Canada's famously bad weather, and weighs in on the Boeing vs. Airbus debate (he has logged a lot of time in both). In the "Ready to Copy" segment, Doug talks about the most underrated weather tool, the most interesting airport in Canada, and what it's like to see the Northern Lights from an airplane.

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