Authors Posts by John Zimmerman

John Zimmerman

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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. He is an ATP and also holds ratings for multiengine, seaplanes, gliders, and helicopters. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of Air Facts, John is a Vice President at Sporty’s Pilot Shop, responsible for new product development and marketing.

Video: landing on the “USS Sedona”

Just because an airport has a 5,000-foot runway doesn't mean it's boring. In fact, Sedona, Arizona (SEZ), might be one of the most beautiful and distinctive arrivals anywhere in the US. Nicknamed the "USS Sedona" for its aircraft carrier-like runway perched atop a mesa. this jewel of the Southwest features stunning views of nearby terrain and a unique view on final approach. Ride along in this video to see what it looks like from the left seat.

Video: first solo in a Cessna 152

A pilot's first solo is a day full of mixed emotions: excitement and nervousness, pride and fear. This video shows all those feelings, as a student pilot makes her first trip around the pattern by herself in a Cessna 152. If you're not a pilot yet, it's a great preview of what's to come. If you are a pilot, you'll probably remember exhaling at the end like Erin does here.

Video: flying a Beech 18 on floats

The Beech 18 is an iconic airplane, with big radial engines and those long, beautiful wings. Put it on floats and you have a new new level of fun. In this video you'll ride along as AOPA's Richard McSpadden earns his multiengine seaplane rating in the big Beech, splashing around the scenic lakes of northern Minnesota.

Five overlooked features in Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course

Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course is famous for its beautiful HD video and its large database of FAA test questions. While those two features are invaluable for passing your tests and becoming a safe pilot, there’s a lot more to this course than just videos and quizzes. Here’s a look at five overlooked features.
Scud on mountain

Why student pilots should fly in marginal weather (with a flight instructor)

Venturing beyond the practice area is the most exciting part of flight training, but it requires new skills and a new approach to decision-making, especially when it comes to weather. When this is covered, it’s usually in the context of how to get a preflight weather briefing. That’s a good start, but safely navigating weather on a cross country requires a lot more than just knowing what to look at before takeoff.

Video: pulling Gs with Patty Wagstaff

Flying aerobatics is all about finesse—it's about feeling the airplane and responding with a steady hand on the flight controls. But as this video shows, sometimes it's about aggressive maneuvers and serious Gs, too. Ride along with legendary airshow pilot Patty Wagstaff as she pushes her Extra to the limit.

Video: landing on a beach in New Zealand

Landing "off airport" is a great way to experience the true freedom of general aviation, but it doesn't always require a fancy bush plane or a helicopter. In this new video, you'll ride along with JP for a flight in New Zealand to see what it's like flying in this beautiful country. You'll also watch him land on a beach, which is perfectly legal to do year round.

Video: going supersonic with the Thunderbirds

The US Air Force Thunderbirds are a fixture of the airshow circuit, entertaining crowds all over the country with their high speed passes and formation maneuvers. With a global pandemic, the Thunderbirds didn't get to fly many shows in 2020, so we thought this video was a good replacement. Ride along for some high speed/high G maneuvers and see what it's like to fly an F-16 at the limit.
Flight Gear 2021

Stay organized with Sporty’s new Flight Gear bags

A good flight bag should be one of the first aviation purchases for a student pilot. One of the most popular options for the last three decades, Sporty’s Flight Gear bags, are new for 2021, with six bags designed by pilots and for pilots. Here's a look at the options.

Video: landing on an island in the river

Short field landings are more than just a mindless checkride maneuver. With the right airplane, good short field technique can allow you to safely operate into and out of some fun and unique landing strips. Ride along with Trent Palmer in this video as he takes his modified taildragger into some remote areas, and enjoy the stunning views.