Authors Posts by John Zimmerman

John Zimmerman

132 POSTS 51 COMMENTS
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.
Pilot talking on radio

How to improve your pilot communication skills

Learning how to talk on the radio is important, but many pilots spend far too much time stressing about it. Improving your communication skills is mostly about feeling comfortable and confident. So how do you feel more confident on the radio? There’s not substitute for practice and experience, but there are some habits that can accelerate that process.

Video: backcountry flying in Alaska

Alaska offers an endless range of flying adventures, from seaplanes on mountain lakes to taildraggers on gravel riverbeds. In this stunning video, you'll go flying with a group of pilots in a variety of airplanes to see the beauty of the last frontier. It requires skill and practice, but definitely no flight plans or type ratings!

Video: short runway landing by a river

There's no shortage of interesting places to fly in a general aviation airplane, and some of those places are close to home. In this video, two friends dodge some rain showers to find a short strip of pavement next to a river that unlocks a wonderful $100 hamburger location. Little adventures like this are what flying is all about.

Video: flying a Gulfstream to Paris

Gulfstreams have a well-deserved reputation for being the class of the business jet fleet, with beautiful lines, luxurious cabins, and incredible performance. In this video you'll get to see what it's like to fly one, as two pilots cross the Atlantic to Paris. From the checklists callouts to the route planning to the amazing sunset, it's a great reminder of how fun it is to be a pilot - no matter what you fly.

Video: first glider solo at 14 years old

That first solo flight is a defining event in the life of a pilot, whether your goal is to fly airliners or just have fun in the air. While there's no maximum age for solo, most people know there's a minimum: you have to be 16. But that's only for powered airplanes. As this video shows, you can solo a glider at just 14. Ride along on Jack Wallace's first solo in a Blanik L-23 for your daily dose of inspiration.

Video: landing almost anywhere, even at a gas station

When your tires are this big, you really can land almost anywhere. In this wild video, join a group of friends in some unique backcountry airplanes as they go flying through Utah. They land on top of mountains, next to rivers, and even at a gas station. Your daily reminder that "aviation" includes a lot more than just an airliner from JFK to LAX.

Video: Picking up friends from their backyard in a helicopter

Helicopter pilots talk about freedom a lot, especially the freedom to take off and land from almost anywhere. This video is a great example, as two pilots stop by a friend's house on the way to a famous BBQ restaurant - in a helicopter. Watch their careful planning, the backyard landing, and then the arrival at the Salt Lick. So much more fun than driving.

Video: Flying in Baja, Mexico

The islands of the Bahamas offer some well-known flying adventures, but the Baja Peninsula in Mexico has its own charm too. Just a short flight from Southern California and Arizona, the hundreds of miles of coastline offer incredible views and diverse wildlife. There are dozens of airports, and the flying weather is often excellent. Fly along in this video as the pilot visits Loreto, San Felipe, and Ensenada.

Video: landing in 400 foot visibility

When you think of precision flying you might think of aerobatics or bush flying, but instrument approaches require plenty of it too. In this short video, you'll ride along in the right seat of an Airbus A320 as it makes a Category IIIB approach into Amsterdam. That means the visibility is less than 1/4 mile, and the autopilot is flying it all the way to the runway.

Video: The flat-out fun Breezy

The Breezy may look odd to non-pilots, but for true aviation enthusiasts this unique open-cockpit airplane is the epitome of simple and fun flying. No avionics, no complicated systems; just stick and rudder, with the wind in your hair. In this video, meet Rob Unger, who rebuilt a Breezy to look just like the original one - which his father created many decades ago. Would you fly it?