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.”
camping with airplane

25 reasons to fly this summer

It's easy to get stuck in a rut, making the same flights time after time. That's not only boring, it's bad for your flying skills. One of the best ways to become a better pilot is to take on new challenges, whether it's a new airplane or a new destination. So with that adventurous spirit in mind, let's consider 25 reasons to get out and go flying this summer.

Video: flying the Cirrus Jet

The Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet is one of the most interesting airplanes to hit the market in years, and it's now fully certified. Ride along with Cirrus pilot Rob Haig in this video as he shows the single engine jet in action. You'll see the pre-flight, takeoff, cruise and some maneuvers, plus get a feel for the Garmin avionics. While flying some big jets is mostly work, this personal jet looks like nothing but fun.

Video: grass strip fly-in at Lee Bottom Flying Field

Flying isn't just about airplanes and technology; it's also about community and history. In this week's fun flying video, take a step back in time at Lee Bottom Flying Field, a grass strip on the banks of the Ohio River. Every fall, the privately-owned, public-use airport hosts a fly-in for the "extended family" of pilots, with an emphasis on vintage aircraft.

Video: learning to hover a helicopter

Are helicopters impossible to fly? Not really, but they do take practice. In this week's fun flying video, you'll ride along as a brand new pilot learns how to hover both a Robinson R22 and R44 helicopter. From the embarrassing first flight to the physics behind hovering, you'll get an inside look at what rotary wing flight is all about.

Video: flying to Catalina Island in a biplane

The "airport in the sky" is just 26 miles off the coast of Southern California, an easy trip in almost any airplane and yet seemingly a world away from everyday life. Landing at the 3000-foot long runway on top of a mountain requires some preparation and airspeed control, but the view is unforgettable. In this week's video, fly along with experienced pilot Marc Lee as he explains what it takes to fly to AVX, then flies the trip in his stunning Great Lakes biplane.

Video: taking a glider lesson

Many pilots consider soaring to be the purest form of flying, a delicate balance between airspeed and altitude that requires a deep understanding of aerodynamics. It's also an awful lot of fun, as this video shows. Ride along on an intro flight in a glider to see what an aero tow looks like, how glider pilots find lift, and just how peaceful a glider cockpit can be.

Video: flying in Alaska with Flight Outfitters

General aviation in Alaska isn't some exotic activity - it's a way of life. While many pilots think of bush pilots and seaplanes, a lot of flying in the Land of the Midnight Sun takes place in regular piston airplanes like Cessna 172s and 182s. In this week's fun flying video, Flight Outfitters takes us to a remote village in Alaska in just such an airplane. You'll see the gorgeous landscape pass under the wings and get an appreciation for how vital GA is to everyday life in Alaska.

Video: aerobatics with the Aeroshell T-6 team

The Aeroshell Aerobatic Team is one of the most popular airshow acts in the US, year after year. Their demonstration is all about precision flying, from formation takeoffs to loops and rolls. In this week's fun flying video, you can strap into the back seat of a T-6 and go flying with the team to see their routine from the cockpit.

Video: tailwheel training in a Citabria

For a new pilot, tailwheel airplanes may seem intimidating and downright difficult to fly. After a little training, though, it becomes clear that they're still just airplanes - they simply require a little more attention on the rudder pedals and some practice. In this video, you'll get to see a pilot on his first tailwheel training flight. Watch him practice landings from inside and outside the cockpit, and hear the instructor's helpful advice. After watching this, it's easy to see why tailwheel airplanes are so addictive.

First flight training app for Apple TV released

Over the past 6 years we've seen aviation apps for just about every Apple platform, including iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Earlier this year, Sporty's released a new Learn to Fly Course app for AppleTV, which is available now in the AppleTV app store.
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