Sporty's Product PIREPs

Episode 25: Unleaded avgas and flying taildraggers, with Paul Bertorelli

Finding a replacement for 100LL has been a "galactically slow train wreck," according to longtime aviation journalist Paul Bertorelli. In his famously blunt way, he explains what's going on with GAMI's unleaded fuel candidate, when you might be able to pump some of it, and why he thinks the FAA has dropped the ball. He also speculates on the future of electric airplanes following Textron's purchase of Pipistrel, plus what he thinks of the latest eVTOL concepts from Joby and Archer. In the rapid-fire "Ready to Copy" segment, Paul comments on everything from the Cirrus parachute to whether the Air Force has seen alien spacecraft. If you know Paul's work, you know he doesn't lack opinions, but he always backs it up with facts learned from a long career of covering aviation.

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Episode 24: Safety trends and life as a Thunderbird, with AOPA's Richard McSpadden

Why do good pilots make bad decisions? The AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Richard McSpadden says it’s because the human brain wasn't made to work well at 100 knots. He offers some practical tips for managing that limitation, explains why VFR-into-IMC accidents persist, and describes the right approach to aircraft transitions. Richard also talks about his time as leader of the US Air Force Thunderbirds, the joy of backcountry flying, and what it was like to teach his kids to fly. From practical safety tips to great flying stories, this podcast is loaded with insight for pilots.

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The ultimate travel bags: Flight Outfitters Seaplane Duffel

As a frequent traveler, I have become a sort of luggage connoisseur. But my pile ’o bags might be marked for the next Goodwill run. I stumbled upon the Flight Outfitters Seaplane duffle bags a few months ago. At first, I thought there was no way I’d fall in love with a non-rolling set of luggage. The small and large sized duffle screamed basic and plain, but little did I know, that is exactly what I needed. 

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Episode 23: Inverted flat spins and airmanship, with Spencer Suderman

What's it like to complete 98 inverted flat spins from 24,000 feet in a Pitts? Spencer Suderman is the only person in the world who knows, and he describes that incredible experience in this fast-moving episode. He also shares his opinion on what airmanship is and why it is so important for safe flying: "Pilots communicate with the airplane through the flight controls… you have to know how speak the language." Spencer has plenty of tips, including which flight control really makes the airplane turn, what his favorite maneuver is for improving airmanship skills, and how he handled the loss of a propeller in flight.

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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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Episode 22: An astrophysicist learns to fly, with Dr. Katie Mack

As a theoretical cosmologist, Katie Mack (better known as AstroKatie online) isn't afraid of a little math—so when she learned to fly, she dove right into physics and aerodynamics. What she didn't expect was how much fun it would be, and how much her interest in airplanes would consume her life. She talks about the flight training process, whether Newton or Bernoulli is more correct about lift, and what she thinks of the emerging world of private spaceflight. In the Ready to Copy segment, Katie shares her pick for the best science fiction book for pilots, her theory of how the universe will end, and the story of her cameo in a Reese Witherspoon movie.

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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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