Sporty's Product PIREPs

Episode 28: iPad apps and datalink weather, with ForeFlight's Tyson Weihs

ForeFlight is one of aviation's biggest success stories, growing from a hobby to an industry-leading business in less than a decade. Tyson Weihs was there at the beginning, and in this episode he shares some early memories and some lessons learned about aviation and business. He also explains how he uses ForeFlight both for pre-flight planning and for in-flight navigation, plus tips for using datalink weather to stay safe. In the Ready to Copy segment, he opines on everything from his favorite app feature to what emerging technology he's watching to the best tennis player.  

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Sporty's courses help California Aeronautical University deliver an enhanced student experience

With much of our student population under the age of 20 years, we knew we needed something modern, exciting, and easy to access. After a bit of research, Sporty’s seemed to be lightyears ahead of their competitors. They appeared to offer exactly what we were looking for: a solution that was easily accessible across multiple platforms and offered modern, up-to-date content. 

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Episode 27: Filming Top Gun's incredible flying scenes, with Kevin LaRosa II

As one of Hollywood's top aerial coordinators, Kevin LaRosa has been around plenty of big budget movies—but Top Gun: Maverick was a completely different experience. He takes us behind the scenes to explain how they got all those incredible shots, including fighter jets flying at 600 knots through narrow valleys. The equipment, including the unique CineJet platform, makes some of these scenes possible, but the key to staying safe is planning and practice. Kevin also describes how the actors all took flight training to prepare for the movie, what he's learned from flying a huge variety of aircraft, and how he landed a helicopter on a moving train.

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One year of Pilot’s Discretion podcast episodes

Last week we published the 26th edition of our Pilot’s Discretion podcast, marking one full year of episodes. This biweekly podcast brings you fast-paced and thought-provoking interviews with some of the world’s most interesting pilots, discussing everything from the latest technology to practical tips for safer flying. To celebrate, we thought we would look back over the last year and highlight some of our favorite episodes. 

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Episode 26: Astronaut stories and weird flight training, with Mike and Patrick Mullane

After a lifetime of flying on space shuttles and Air Force jets, Mike Mullane believes that “humility keeps you alive,” whether you’re an astronaut or a student pilot. He shares the hair-raising experiences that taught him that lesson, and explains what normalization of deviance means in the context of aviation safety. Mike's son Patrick, a new private pilot, also joins the podcast and explains what makes flight training weird for older students and what earning an MBA taught him about flying. This is a back-and-forth episode about aviation families, risk management, and flying dreams.

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Want to be a Top Gun pilot? We can help you look the part

On March 3, 1969, the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of aerial combat and to ensure that the handful of men who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the world. They succeeded. Today, the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it: TOP GUN. Luckily for us non-naval aviators, we still have a few options to look the part. Here is a list of our fighter pilot products that'll get you better prepared to buzz the tower. 

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Headset Plugs

How to choose the right connector  

Buying a headset can be overwhelming. Our staff of experienced pilots have flown with every brand we sell and are uniquely qualified to answer all your questions. Some of the most common questions we deal with involve headset connectors: "What's the difference between twin plugs and 6-pin connectors?" Or "Do I need a battery powered or aircraft powered headset?" Let’s go through the differences of each connector so that when you select a headset you're confident that you chose the right type.  

 

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What's the best Logitech flight stick for digital fighter jets?

As Jack Nicholson taught us 40 years ago, all work and no play makes for an unhappy situation. For that reason the flight sim department at Sporty’s wanted to rate the current Logitech brand of flight simulator sticks available to the community and give our feedback on how best to complement today’s digital fighter aircraft with hardware. 

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What are the best flight simulator yokes and rudder pedals?

Since being reintroduced in 2020, Microsoft Flight Simulator has reinvented the flight simulator world. With stunning graphics, live weather, and incredibly life-like cockpits, the latest generation of this storied franchise is winning thousands of new fans every week. To make it more than a game, though, you'll need the right hardware. Here are our top picks for yokes and rudder pedals, any of which can transform MSFS into a valuable training tool. All of these work with X-Plane as well as Micorsoft, and they can be mixed and matched to create the perfect system.

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