Sporty's Product PIREPs

Episode 66. Flying like a pro in a Boeing and a Bonanza, with Don Wykoff

From F-16 to 737 to Citation to Bonanza, Don Wykoff has flown a lot of different airplanes in his 50-year flying career. In this episode he explains how he stayed safe by approaching every flight with professionalism, using checklists the right way, and building training into simple trips. He also talks about losing the engine in his F-16, why pilot rest rules matter, and how to transition back to GA after a career flying jets. In the Ready to Copy segment, Don explains why he doesn’t like the GUMPS checklist, why he liked to hand-fly Cat III approaches in the 737, and what flight instructors can learn from airline pilots.

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Adapting a LEMO panel-powered headset for use in a PJ plug aircraft

Panel-powered headsets (often called LEMO plug headsets, after the connector used) are a great way to enjoy active noise reduction but without having to worry about batteries—just plug into the panel and go flying. But what if you want to use the headsets outside of a LEMO environment? If you're flying in a plane that doesn't have a LEMO plug, you will need an adapter that could not only go from LEMO to PJ plugs, but also provide power for your ANR. Here's how it works.

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Bluetooth in aviation headsets—frequently asked questions

One of the many features normally found on premium aviation headsets is Bluetooth, a wireless technology that allows two devices to communicate with each other. This is great for listening to music or making a phone call on the ground, but it can also be used to get audio alerts from your favorite electronic flight bag app. Here's how it works.

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Episode 65. Why learning to fly can be lonely, with Patrick Chovanec

After a lifetime of riding on airplanes, economist Patrick Chovanec decided to learn how to fly them. In this episode, he explains how a combination of Covid-19 and Microsoft Flight Simulator started him on a path to earning his Private Pilot certificate, and what he learned along the way. He explains how flight training can be lonely, why modern flight simulators are much more than a game now, and why airplanes are so expensive. In the Ready to Copy segment, Patrick shares the biggest myth in flight training, his preferred flight sim equipment, underrated countries to visit, and his favorite economics joke.

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Episode 64. Safety lessons learned at the NTSB, with Robert Sumwalt

The point of an accident investigation is “to find out what happened, so that we can prevent it from happening again,” says longtime airline pilot and former NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. He shares what he's learned after decades of working this process, including: how pilots should read an NTSB report, why flight path monitoring matters, what professionalism means for GA pilots, and how flight data monitoring can improve safety. In the Ready to Copy segment, Robert talks about landmark accidents, why NOTAMs are often useless, and his favorite food from South Carolina. 

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Carbon monoxide - what pilots need to know

Cold weather can mean better airplane performance and some beautiful winter sunrises, but it can also mean potential danger from the airplane's heating system. Here's what pilots need to know about carbon monoxide: where it comes from, how to prevent it from entering the cockpit, and what tools are available for detecting it.

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Garmin D2 Mach 1 Pro pilot watch - hands-on review

Garmin is well known in the fitness world for creating high end smartwatches for tracking all of your activities: biking, hiking, swimming, running, gym workouts, and more. And of course our favorite activity, flying, can be tracked too, using their line of D2 smartwatches. I've spent the last two weeks testing the latest model, the D2 Mach 1 Pro, and it can do it all.

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Episode 63. Epic Cub videos and entitled airline pilots, with Joe Costanza

Mist swirls as a yellow Cub touches down on a grass runway—Joe Costanza (better known as @Bananasssssssss on Instagram) is the man behind those viral videos, and in this episode he takes us behind the scenes. He explains why stick and rudder flying is a nice break from his day job flying an Airbus, how to have fun flying with kids (he has four), and the good parts of social media. He also shares his slightly controversial advice for new airline pilots and how training is changing to adapt to a new generation. In the Ready to Copy segment, he describes what it’s like to land on a grass strip, what the Cub teaches him about flying the Airbus, and how to take better aviation photos.

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Bose A30 vs. Lightspeed Delta Zulu—what’s the best ANR headset for pilots?

The most common question we get about headsets is one of those classic “Coke or Pepsi” questions: should I buy the Bose A30 or Lightspeed Delta Zulu? It’s a natural comparison—both are the latest top-of-the-line headsets from leading aviation headset companies—but the good news is that there’s no wrong answer. Having said that, there are some important differences. Whether these are important depends on your personal preferences and your typical flight. We’ll lay out all the details in this article and even offer some of our opinions, but the ultimate decision is yours.

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