Sporty's Product PIREPs

Visit Sporty's at Sun 'n Fun 2022

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 April 5-10 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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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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Honeycomb Bravo configuration for X-Plane 11

The Honeycomb Bravo throttle is an amazingly capable hardware piece that, once configured correctly, leads the pack in flight sim throttle options. The downside of all these options is that it can be intimidating to program all the commands and levers to operate as we would like. For that reason, the flight simulation department at Sporty’s put together a configuration map for running the Honeycomb Bravo with X-Plane 11. We cover how to configure the throttle for single engine GA, single engine GA complex, multi-engine GA, two-engine jet, and four-engine jet aircraft.

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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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