Sporty's Product PIREPs

Sunglasses: what pilots need to know

Choosing the right sunglasses is crucial for pilots, and not just because we all secretly want to look like Tom Cruise. Given the harsh environment pilots fly in, a good pair of sunglasses is actually a smart investment in one of your most important assets – your vision. Sunglasses make it easier to spot traffic, reduce fatigue, and protect your eyes from long term damage due to solar radiation. They can also provide some protection from debris during a bird strike.

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Episode 54. ATC for flight simulators and SimVenture, with Kevin from PilotEdge

Flight simulators boomed in 2020 and have barely slowed down since, but many pilots don’t use all the available tools for flight training. Kevin from PilotEdge has watched it all unfold over the last decade and he explains what flight sims are good for (and what they aren't). He talks about how Microsoft changed the game, whether you can log simulator time, and how virtual ATC plug-ins can make training more realistic. Kevin also created SimVenture, and he describes how pilots can prepare to fly to the world’s busiest airport by talking to real AirVenture controllers during this live online event. In the Ready to Copy segment, he tells us his favorite flight sim airplane, what upgrade he wants to see from sim developers, and whether AI will ever replace human controllers.

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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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Episode 53. Airline myths and leadership lessons, with retired airline CEO Bill Ayer

You have to be both realistic and optimistic to run an airline - that's according to retired Alaska Airlines CEO Bill Ayer, an industry veteran and experienced GA pilot. He offers wisdom from his four decades in the airline business, including why safety must be a data-driven activity, where the real pilot shortage is, and how to manage the tradeoffs between efficiency and safety. He also shares leadership lessons, explaining why "hope is not a strategy" when you're running a business and what young people can do to build a career in aviation. In the Ready to Copy segment, Bill tells us his favorite airplane to ride on as a passenger, whether you should drink coffee on an airliner, his opinion of supersonic airliners, and why aviation culture is so welcoming.

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In Depth Look at Sporty's updated Flight Instructor Refresher Course (eFIRC)

Sporty’s has developed a fresh new option for flight instructors looking to renew their CFI certificate, using a modern online learning system to deliver innovative content. Sporty’s fully FAA-approved eFIRC, newly updated for 2023, will get you up to speed with the latest technology and new developments from the FAA, vastly improving your teaching skills. The best news? Sporty's FIRC is completely free! Let’s take a look at some of the unique features.

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Episode 52. Flight training trends and wing walking, with NAFI's Karen Kalishek

Designated pilot examiner, kitplane owner, scuba diver, wing walker, world traveler, black belt in taekwondo - NAFI Chair Karen Kalishek has done it all, and she shares the lessons learned along the way in this wide-ranging episode. She explains the worrying trend she is seeing as a DPE, with a rising failure rate and a lack of systems knowledge among applicants. She also talks about the importance of the pilot in command mindset, how to find a good flight instructor, and learning to fly while raising kids. Karen has plenty of stories from her many adventures, including a wing walking class she did to honor a distant relative who first performed in 1918. In the Ready to Copy segment, she talks about circus training on the trapeze, the best places to dive, lessons from Japanese weaponry training, and eating deep fried ants in the Amazon.  

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Lightspeed Flight Instructor Appreciation Program

Whether you’re a flight instructor making flying safer and enriching the experience of new pilots, or a professional pilot helping corporations and nonprofits achieve their missions, Lightspeed wants to reward you for the hours you spend in the air, and the care and skills you exercise in your profession. That’s why Lightspeed offers a special rebate of $100 when you purchase a Zulu 3 and $200 when you purchase a Delta Zulu. 

 

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Episode 51. Failed checkrides and flying the B-1 bomber, with Tom Curran

From flight instructor to airport planner to B-1 pilot, Tom Curran has seen a lot in his aviation career. In this special Learn to Fly Month episode, he explains what he learned along the way and shares some advice for new pilots. As he says, “It’s worth it, but expect it to have some challenges.” Tom talks about failing checkrides (he's done it), flying both the F-15 and the B-1 in the Air Force (he's done that too), and managing engine failures (yup, he's also done that). In the Ready to Copy segment, Tom gives his nominee for the worst maneuver in the ACS, talks about planning an airport on the side of a cliff in Telluride, and compares fly fishing to being a pilot.

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Episode 50. Overcoming tragedy and flying in Africa, with Pete Muntean

Pete Muntean grew up in an aviation family but suffered a terrible tragedy when his mother died in an airshow crash. In this inspiring episode he describes how he persevered in his aviation journey, including flying competition aerobatics and training pilots in Kenya with Patty Wagstaff. As a regular contributor for CNN, Pete spends a lot of time on TV reporting on aviation topics, so he also discusses recent airline runway incursions, his method for explaining complicated topics to the general public, and how to give better interviews. In the "Ready to Copy" segment, Pete talks about flying with the US Air Force Thunderbirds, the craziest aviation story he's ever reported on, and whether aerobatics is more like ballet or auto racing.

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Episode 49. Safety habits and aviation lobbying, with Jeb Burnside

“A well trained pilot flying a well maintained airplane with an instrument rating and with fuel in the tanks is the least possible risk in private aviation,” according to Aviation Safety magazine editor Jeb Burnside. That doesn't mean other types of flying are unsafe, though, and in this episode he explains what risks pilots should worry about, including weather, fuel exhaustion, and engine failures. Jeb also talks about his days on Capitol Hill, lobbying for general aviation interests, and the lessons he learned there. In the "Ready to Copy" segment, he tells us whether pilots read too many accident reports, what his most controversial aviation opinion is, and where he comes down on the Coke vs. Pepsi debate.

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