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.
Sporty's Product PIREPs
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
At the conclusion of every quarter, we like to reflect on some of the more notable products that joined Sporty’s offering. Here are the top ten new products we’re excited to offer to our customers from the first quarter of 2023, from tow bars to a brand new around-the-ear headset.
When Bose told us about the A30, the legendary audio company’s first new around-ear headset in over a decade, we knew we had a lot of testing to do. A headset is one of the few products that gets used on every single flight, so our standards for evaluating them are sky high. Could the A30 match its predecessor’s performance? The only way to answer that question is to fly it in a variety of airplanes, because test benches really don’t tell you much about how a headset feels. Here’s what we found after flying it in five different airplanes, ranging from a single engine piston to a twin engine jet.
Steve Thorne (aka Flight Chops) is one of YouTube's original aviation stars, and he's learned a lot over the last decade—about flying and about himself. In this episode, he explains why a post-flight debrief matters, how to do a good one, and why he shares his videos with over 350,000 followers. He also talks about his weather decision-making process, especially on those "gray area" days like the one he encountered flying to Sporty's recently. In the "Ready to Copy" segment, Steve offers a tip for making better videos, shares his favorite strategy for handling nervous passengers, and explains why drumming and IFR flying are similar.
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 March 28 - April 2 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.