Personal Locator Beacons vs. Iridium Satellite Communicators

What's the Difference?

Taking off in a general aviation airplane usually means leaving your connected world behind. Emails, text messages, and phone calls are not options at 7,000 feet in your typical Cessna or Cirrus. More seriously, some GA trips can take you off the grid even after landing - few cell phones work in the backcountry of Idaho or the remote islands of the Caribbean.


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Aviation Consumer Editor's Choice Awards - Gear of the Year

The Aviation Consumer aims to help pilots fly with the best, so each year they look for standout products in aviation that pilots need to know about. In the rapidly changing market where new products pop up every week, it's hard to sift through the mundane to find helpful and well-designed products. Here’s how Sporty’s stacked up against the competition in their most recent issue.


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Flight Bag Review - Which One Is Best?

There's no perfect flight bag for every pilot - it depends on the type of flying you do, the aircraft you fly, and your own personal preferences. With prices ranging from under $50 to well over $200, there are a lot to choose from. In this Product PIREP Video, Sporty's John Zimmerman reviews some of the best-selling options.


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Pilot's guide to portable oxygen systems

Oxygen systems are only for turbocharged airplanes and flights above 12,500 feet, right? Wrong. Even pilots of normally aspirated airplanes will find plenty of uses for a good portable system, from increasing passenger comfort to flying safer at night. Here's our advice for when to use oxygen and how to choose the right system.


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Complete panel upgrade for under $16,000

It has never been easier or less expensive to add the latest avionics innovations to your panel - even if your airplane is 50 years old. The big change in recent years is the availability of modular options at lower prices. It's no longer a choice between 1970s-era analog instruments and fully-integrated glass cockpits costing over $30,000; the latest equipment from Garmin, Aspen, Appareo, and others offers significant upgrades at reasonable prices. Here's a compelling example.


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Philanthropy spotlight: flyGIRL

Foundation logoSporty's has a long history of giving back to aviation, with a particular focus on young people and the future of aviation. We simply think it's the right thing to do. In 2007, we formalized our philanthropic efforts by establishing The Sporty's Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting worthy aviation causes. In 2018, for example, the foundation donated over $225,000 to programs - and all with no overhead (Sporty's Pilot Shop underwrites all expenses).

This is the third in a series of articles where we'll highlight individual programs we support at The Sporty's Foundation. Our goal is to shine a light on some great organizations and encourage other pilots to support them.


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ADS-B 101: what you need to know

In an industry famous for its ridiculous acronyms, ADS-B stands out for being uniquely confusing. Lots of pilots use the term, but not everyone really knows what it means. And who can blame them - it’s incredibly complicated. So what is ADS-B? Why should you care about it? Can you just ignore it? No. While ADS-B may be confusing, it’s probably the most important technological change you will have to deal with as a pilot over the next two decades. So it's worth the effort to learn this new language.


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iPad Weather Receiver Buyer's Guide

The ability to view datalink weather on your iPad has been one of the most significant advancements in portable avionics in recent decades. Whether you fly with ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, WingX, or FltPlan Go, you can now monitor NEXRAD radar, METARs, TAFs, TFRs and much more. But first you need to choose the right receiver. Use this guide to compare all the options, from ADS-B to SiriusXM satellite weather, and find the best fit for your flying.


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My first encounter with Bose military headsets

Performance + Durability = Game Changer

We first arrived in the Iraqi desert early in 2004. The invasion dubbed “shock and awe” happened in 2003, so our battalion was part of the rebuilding phase. This was well before all the fancy armored vehicles appeared in theater. The “armor” on our trucks and humvees consisted of sheet metal we cut via torch and welded together. This armor “worked” for bullets, but not so much for IEDs. We would later learn the hard way that the IEDs were a much larger threat.


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Sporty's Foundation Releases 2019 Annual Report

The Sporty’s Foundation issued its most recent annual report this week, detailing activities during 2018. The philanthropic arm of Sporty's Pilot Shop made bequests of over $225,000 in 2018 to fulfill its goal to attract young people to the aviation community both as a career and a lifestyle. The Foundation also supports organizations and museums that preserve the rich history of aviation for future generations. 


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