PIREPs

Garmin D2 Mach 1 smartwatch - first impressions

Garmin recently introduced the D2 Air X10, an updated smartwatch for pilots with a beautiful screen and dozens of useful features. It has been a huge hit so far, but apparently Garmin wasn’t done: this week the company unveiled the D2 Mach 1. This all-new smartwatch has many of the same sophisticated features as the D2 Air X10, but with even more navigation tools and a number of luxury finishes. Quite simply, it’s Garmin’s best aviation watch ever.

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Finding the best aviation headset: three videos to help you decide

Every pilot needs a headset, but every pilot has different wants and needs when it comes to hearing protection. To help you find the perfect headset, Sporty's has created this series of three videos covering the most popular options. Whether you're looking for the best overall headset, the best value ANR headset, or the best passive headset, we'll show you what to look for and offer tips for our favorite models. 

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Three myths about active noise reduction headsets

ANR headsets make long flights in noisy general aviation airplanes more bearable. The standard passive headset reduces noise levels by 18-24 decibels; ANR headsets put an additional 10-25 decibels of reduction on top of that. But there is still pushback from those who want to continue to get a flashlight and shoes to go use the outhouse. Here are the top three myths we have heard when it comes to ANR headsets—and why they are wrong.

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Best flight sim: Microsoft Flight Simulator vs. X-Plane (part 2)

The purpose of this three part blog is to grade Microsoft Flight Simulator versus X-Plane on a wide range of features. Each program has its strengths as well as its weaknesses and it’s worth researching those before financially committing to a software trainer. Edition two covers your first five minutes in both programs, weight and balance, failures, and designing a flight plan.

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Garmin D2 Air X10 smartwatch for pilots - first impressions

Smartwatches are one of the hottest categories in the consumer electronics business, with over 100 million sold in 2021 alone. The latest model from Garmin is the D2 Air X10, which replaces the best-selling D2 Air. It retains the vivid touchscreen and pulse oximeter from its predecessor, but adds new smart assistant features so your watch can now integrate seamlessly with Siri or Google Assistant. After testing it for the last week, we think it’s the best pilot watch yet.

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Using a portable radio as your primary radio

While the general consensus is that portable radios don’t belong as a primary source, there are still plenty of aircraft out there that don’t have radios at all. Some were manufactured without electrical systems. Others might be homebuilt ultralights or Light Sport Aircraft. The question we like to ask: “Is a portable radio setup better than no radio at all?” The resounding answer is “yes.” 

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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 new CFI Portal, part of our 2022 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.

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Sidetone in aviation headsets: what is it and how does it work?

Pilots like to hear themselves talk. Well, at least my wife says we do. This is especially true when transmitting radio communications. This is known as sidetone. When we press the push-to-talk (PTT) switch, not only does the world get to hear my amazingly professional voice, I get to hear it too. You won’t find sidetone on cell phones or gaming headsets, but it’s common, if not expected, in aviation.

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General aviation trends for 2022

What will 2022 bring for pilots? Hopefully tailwinds and smooth rides, but as we turn the page on another busy year at Sporty’s, we thought it was the perfect time to look back at 2021 and offer some thoughts on the general aviation market, at least as we see it from Batavia, Ohio.

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