Authors Posts by John Zimmerman

John Zimmerman

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John knows how lucky he is to go to work every day at an airport. As Vice President of Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s Catalog Division, he says, “I get to hang around airplanes all the time, flying regularly and testing new products for the catalog.” Coming from an aviation family, John grew up in the back of small airplanes and learned to fly as a teenager. Ever since, he has been hooked on anything with wings and regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12 and a Robinson R44 helicopter. Despite his love of low and slow flight, John says, “I love the challenge of IFR flying in the system. Seeing the runway lights as you break out on approach is a thrill.”

Video: intro to aerobatics

Aerobatics isn't always about custom-built airplanes and big airshows. As this video shows, regular pilots can fly basic aerobatic maneuvers in affordable general aviation airplanes with the right training. Ride along here for a series of loops, hammerheads, and barrel rolls in a Robin R2160. It's fun flying, but it's also great for developing stick and rudder skills.

Video: Glider flying the old fashioned way

When you hear the word "glider," do you think of sleek fiberglass machines that can soar across continents? Those are a lot of fun, but there is an older style of glider that offers an entirely different experience. In this video, you can ride along in a Schulgleiter SG 38, where you're hanging out in the wind. As the caption says, it's "the ultimate freedom."

Quiz: How Much Basic Weather Theory Do You Know?

Weather is something every pilot has to deal with. How much do you know about the basics of Mother Nature, like fronts, dewpoints and stability? Take our quiz to find out.

Video: A year in the life of a Cirrus pilot

Why is flying so rewarding? There are as many reasons as there are pilots, but this video sums it up pretty well: beautiful views, unique destinations, exciting technology, personal challenge, and so much more. A Cirrus pilot combines 12 months worth of flying videos into a 5-minute video that will have you smiling.

Video: crop duster ride-along

There are dozens of unique jobs in aviation, from airline pilot to flight instructor. One of the most interesting jobs, though, is that of the crop duster. These pilots fly just inches above the ground, and fly a precise pattern to deliver just the right amount of spray at just the right time. In this video, you'll sit in the right seat and watch an experienced crop duster at work as he sprays a field in Ohio. Excellent stick and rudder skills are required!

Top 7 iPad accessories for pilots

The iPad makes a great, all-in-one cockpit tool, combining maps, flight planning, in-flight weather, documents and so much more. That doesn't mean it stands on its own, though. A few carefully chosen accessories can make it so much more powerful and easy-to-use. Here's our list of the accessories you should consider, and our top recommendations.

Video: Getting over Mic Fright

What's the hardest part about learning to fly? Right after learning how to land, most pilots would say learning to talk on the radio. In the latest episode of AOPA's "Behind the Logbook" series, you'll fly along with two student pilots as they learn how to keep up with rapid fire ATC instructions. Step one: know what to expect!

Video: Flying a Cessna from Greenland to Iceland

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean seems like an impossible task in a small airplane, but it really isn't. This week's fun flying video takes us to Greenland, to join three friends for a flight from remote Nuuk to Iceland. The scenery is incredible, the planning is intense, and the sense of accomplishment is hard to beat. And it's all done in a Cessna 210.
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7 little safety habits to consider

Some aviation tips are in the "commandments" category: never run out of airspeed and ideas at the same time, never take off over gross weight, never fly below minimums on an instrument approach. Those are all true, but that doesn't mean there aren't other, smaller tips that can reduce risk. Here are five I try follow in the cockpit.

Video: Amazing helicopter landing spots

Why fly a helicopter if you're only going to land on an airport? In this incredible video, you'll get to fly around British Columbia with an experienced helicopter pilot as he visits some unusual helipads. From downtown, waterfront helipads to remote, mountaintop locations, the views are incredible and the freedom is unmatched.
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