Sporty's Product PIREPs

Episode 71. IFR proficiency and remote flight instruction, with Ryan Koch

Earning an instrument rating can unlock new flying adventures, but only if you keep your skills sharp. In this episode, CFII Ryan Koch offers some tips for doing that, including: staying mentally engaged when you can’t fly, using scenarios instead of maneuvers, and simple techniques for improving your instrument scan. Ryan also talks about delivering remote flight instruction with flight simulators, including for avionics training and high school classes. In the Ready to Copy segment, you’ll hear how Ryan uses checklists during IFR flight, what he likes best about the Stearman, and his favorite guitarist. 

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Sporty's IFR Month Top Questions Answered

The IFR category of flight can be intimidating to pilots of all experience. Weather minimums, required equipment, fuel reserves - it all changes when flying in the Instrument system. Sporty's Pilot Shop is taking on the task of demystifying the IFR category of aviation by answering these common instrument flying questions.

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Episode 70. How musicians and pilots are similar, with Randy Waldman

When you go on tour with Frank Sinatra at age 21, it’s hard to be intimidated—so it’s no surprise Randy Waldman jumped into the exciting world of helicopters with both feet. In this episode he shares his unique aviation journey, from model airplanes to owning a Mooney to setting a speed record in a Bell OH-58. As one of LA’s most experienced studio musicians and an active helicopter CFI, Randy talks about the similarities between music and flying, including how pilots can develop feel, whether having a career plan B makes sense, and how to use all your senses. In the Ready to Copy segment, Randy shares the most challenging part of flying in LA, his favorite turbine helicopter, and the most underrated jazz musician.

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Five essential products for instrument flying

Flying IFR can be stressful for some pilots. For many of us, the IFR muscle is one that we don’t exercise too often. But just like in any stressful activity, having the right gear can help alleviate some of the pressure. These are the five items that I don’t get an IFR clearance without. 

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Webinar: Aviation Headsets

Buying a headset can be confusing. Do you need ANR? How does Bluetooth music input work? Which brands are the most popular? Join Sporty's for a guided tour of the aviation headset market in this fast-paced webinar recording. From the technology behind the products to some real world advice on making the right choice, you'll get the information you need to make a good decision.


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Aviation Headset Terminology

What does it all mean?

Aviation loves acronyms and long words, and unfortunately headsets are no different. Here are some of the most common terms you'll encounter when shopping for a headset. Understanding what they mean can help you make the best decision.

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Episode 69. Engine failure lessons and flight simulator tips, with Josh Harnagel

On his way to Sun ’n Fun 2023, the engine on Josh Harnagel’s Bonanza quit, leading to a forced landing in a cow pasture. While no one was hurt, Josh learned a lot from this harrowing experience. He shares those lessons in this episode, including why partial engine failures are hard to diagnose, why hope can kill you in an emergency, and what he has changed about his habits since the incident. Josh works at Redbird, so he also offers plenty of practical tips for using flight simulators to maintain proficiency, whether at the airport or at home. In the Ready to Copy Segment, you’ll hear the biggest marketing mistake flight schools make, the best Bonanza model, and Josh’s favorite Texas barbecue.

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Top 5 Products for Flying to the Caribbean 

We asked our team of test pilots what their must-have items were for a flight to paradise. Here are the top 5.

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Datalink weather for pilots: ADS-B vs. SiriusXM

Datalink weather, either from ADS-B or SiriusXM, is an essential tool for almost all pilots. Once you've flown a cross country with in-flight radar, up-to-date METARs, and visual AIRMETs, it's awfully hard to go back to flying without it. If you're considering adding a datalink weather receiver to your iPad (like a Sentry, Stratus, or GDL), one of the first decisions you'll face is the source of your weather data: ADS-B or SiriusXM? Both are reliable systems that deliver the same key information, so neither one is a bad choice. But there are important differences to consider. Let's review each option.

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